Marketing Magic Flakes? I like mine browner

clip_image002MANILA: This morning I bought 6 packs of Magic Flakes at my old favorite store (my OFS). When I bit on one cracker, it tasted differently, definitely bland, not the way I loved Magic Flakes to taste. I like my crackers a little toasted, and the one I have been buying at my new favorite store (my NFS) is the one I like better (in the scanned image, the one below, which is browner especially at the right edge.) If you had to know, I graduated from Skyflakes, which now to me tastes bland. It's either less salt or less toasting.

Late this afternoon, I had a hunch, and I played it out. I bought Magic Flakes from my NFS and compared the taste. This afternoon's crackers really tasted just like I thought they would. Better.

I had the feeling that there was something wrong somewhere, so I compared the packages. I looked at the fonts, colors and design of the 2 packs from 2 different stores. They looked exactly the same and contained exactly the same information. Such as on the display side:

Jack 'n Jill Magic Flakes
Premium Crackers
Apat Dapat!

On the backside:

Jack 'n Jill Magic Flakes
Manufactured by Universal Robina Corporation

Nutrition Facts
Serv Size 4 crackers (28g)
Servings 1
Calories 130
Fat Cal 45
(etcetera)

INGREDIENTS
Wheat flour, refined fats (may contain any of the following hydrogenated coconut, palm olein, palm kernel and/or fish oil), iodized salt, sodium bicarbonate, malt barley flour and yeast.

NET WT 28g
(etcetera)

So, I thought, if the packages are exactly the same, why are the crackers so different in taste?

Then I noticed that the crackers from my OFS are much paler and the crackers from my NFS are browner, that is, a bit more toasted to my taste.

Not only that. As I fondled the packs some more, I noticed that the pack from my OFS is slightly bigger than the one from my NFS. I measured the difference and it's about 1 mm longer and 1 mm wider. Since I paid for 1 peso more for the pack from my OFS, why am I paying more for the slightly bigger crackers that I don't like? What kind of marketing is this?

Even if I paid exactly the same per pack, 5 pesos, why is Universal Robina Corporation (URC) making crackers that weigh more and cost more but taste less?

One of my suspicions is that the crackers that taste less are meant for the export market, because Filipinos like their food tastier (like, saltier). If I am right, what's the sense of selling in the local market the crackers that are meant for export?

Another possible explanation is that Magic Flakes is trying to capture the market that Skyflakes occupies, bland cracker vs bland cracker. Does that mean Magic Flakes will soon be reducing cost of production at the expense of taste, since the brand has already established itself and most people won't notice the difference? The design, printing, and sizes of the plastic wraps are exactly the same, meaning they come from the same source. The crackers they wrap are different, one bigger and the other smaller, but I wouldn't have noticed if I didn't investigate on the taste that I remembered of Magic Flakes.

Another explanation is that one of the blander Magic Flakes has more extenders. Whatever. Or someone is faking Magic Flakes by looks. Well, no one, not even URC can fake the taste I like.

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