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View Poll Results: Which food product was the dumbest idea?
Funky Fries 6 16.67%
Garlic Cake 4 11.11%
Gerber Singles 0 0%
New Coke 25 69.44%
Rice with Calcium 1 2.78%
Voters: 36. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-11-2003, 01:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
Location: who the fuck cares?
Famous Food Flops

Never thought about this before...

Blue food goes down the drain
Heinz' Funky Fries join the gallery of famous food flops after just a year on the market.
June 20, 2003: 8:15 AM EDT
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - "Simply put, they're not what a potato is supposed to be." This is how H.J. Heinz pitched Funky Fries -- the weird chocolate-flavored and blue-colored fries -- to the world last year.

Consumers never warmed up to these odd fries and a year later Heinz is pulling them off the shelves and blaming disappointing sales of the product as one reason for its fourth-quarter profit miss.

"Kids already like the plain french fries," said Marilyn Raymond, director with New ProductWorks, a Michigan-based product marketing consultancy. "Why try to make them more friendly to kids?"

"What bothered me the most were the chocolate fries," Raymond added. "What was Heinz thinking? Chocolate in french fries is so different that consumers found no cord of familiarity with it. There aren't even chocolate-flavored potato chips out there."

As the Funky Fries fiasco has shown, consumers are pretty fickle, and betting on what sticks and what doesn't is risky business.

For example, among Raymond's list of favorite food failures from the past is Uncle Ben's rice with Calcium. Uncle Ben's Inc. launched the calcium-enriched rice in 1997 with support from the American Dietetic Association, according to New ProductWorks. But it didn't take off.

"Calcium-fortified food products were not as big back then as they are today," Raymond said. "The rice did not resonate with the average consumer because buyers of Uncle Ben's rice are not daily consumers of the product and therefore will not likely depend on it for their nutrition needs. Drinking orange juice with calcium daily probably works better."

Or how about Gerber's Singles, a variety of fruits, vegetable and other entrees for adult consumers launched in 1974 by the maker of baby food. Consumers had a tough time relating to adult food products sold in baby food jars.

"Companies want to introduce new products that don't cannibalize their existing line," Raymond said. "But sometimes they neglect to think whether or not the product is a good fit with the intended consumer."

If it ain't broke, don't fix it
Perhaps the biggest food flop of all time was Coca-Cola Co.'s (KO: Research, Estimates) decision in 1985 to replace its original secret carbonated formula with New Coke, made with a new formula. It flopped. Coke quickly admitted its mistake and launched Classic Coke, which was the old Coke.

The lesson learned: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

While changing the flavor can be a faulty move, sometimes the problem is simply a packaging faux pas, like the Garlic Cake made by Gunderson & Rosario back in 1989.

The product was supposed to be served as an hors d'oeuvre with breads and meats, but somehow the company forgot to mention that on the label. So consumers were left wondering what garlic cake really was and what the consequences of eating it might be.

Said Raymond, "A new product has to solve a need, even a frivolous one like the need for fun. But how to market that product is just as important."

"Food companies have to pay attention to things like the packaging and the consumer awareness level of the product. That usually means lots of money to support a new product endeavor," she said.

Meanwhile, analysts say the demise of the Funky Fries isn't likely to stop Heinz (HNZ: Research, Estimates) and other food manufacturers from trying to bring out the next best thing.

"The market for packaged foods like ketchup, mustard and frozen goods is a mature market. Therefore companies need to continually innovate. Most food manufacturers also focus heavily on kids because of their potential to create incremental sales for a company's products," said Andrew Lazar, analyst with Lehman Brothers.

"We are no longer shipping or manufacturing the Funky Fries," Heinz spokeswoman Debbie Foster said. But sales of Heinz's other experiment -- the green, purple and pink ketchup -- hit the bull's eye for the company and there's now a new addition to the crazy-color ketchup family.

Blue fries didn't work out. Maybe the new blue ketchup will get a longer shelf life.
Heinz's Funky Fries, the chocolate, cinnamon,
sour cream and blue-colored frozen fries,
turned into a product blooper for the company.
(Courtesy: Heinz) </center>

Uncle Ben's Calcium Plus rice was a flop.
(Courtesy: NewProductWorks.)</center>

Adults didn't want to eat out of baby food jars.
(Courtesy: Gerber) </center>
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Old 07-11-2003, 02:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
MikeyChalupa's Avatar
Location: USS George Washington
The green ketchup was pretty stupid, too. So are the multicolored goldfish.

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Old 07-11-2003, 02:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
phredgreen's Avatar
Location: the phoenix metro
you just <i>don't</i> want to know what blue food colouring does to me... needless to say with my picky tastes, it's not very likely i'm going to try anything out of the ordinary without an extraordinary reason why.
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Old 07-11-2003, 02:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
How about Crystal Pepsi?
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
Right Now
Location: Home
Got the green Catsup because the kids bugged me about it long enough to weaken my defenses. They used it once. It looks like bug puree. Ick.
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Old 07-11-2003, 04:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
MikeyChalupa's Avatar
Location: USS George Washington
Originally posted by Unknown Poster
How about Crystal Pepsi?

I actually LIKED Crystal Pepsi. It wasn't as sweet as regular Pepsi. It actually tasted pretty much like Coke to me. I was kind of sad to see it go.

So were a lot of other people apparently. There's a pretty big Crystal Pepsi fan base on the net. Do a Yahoo! search to find them.

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Old 07-11-2003, 05:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
Location: Chicagoland
McDonald's Michael Jordan Burger - a hamburger with barbeque sauce and about six other ingredients. Went over and landed with a thud.
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Old 07-11-2003, 05:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
I and I
Location: Stillwater, OK
New Coke had to be the biggest disappointment/stupidest idea. I actually know some people who still complain about it today.
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Old 07-11-2003, 05:45 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: Just SW of Nowhere!!! In the good old US of A
New Coke and the change in formula that almost killed Coors Beer! Why do corporate talking heads take a product that has been successful forever and try to change it? To me that is either the height of arrogance, or stupidity. Well, maybe arrogance and stupidity are the same thing!!
Life isn't always a bowl of cherries, sometimes it's more like a jar of Jalapenos --- what you say or do today might burn your ass tomorrow!!!
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:10 AM   #10 (permalink)
Location: West Lafayette, IN
New Coke. blech.

I liked Crystal Pepsi. I drank it like it was going out of style...oh wait, it did.
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:23 AM   #11 (permalink)
MikeyChalupa's Avatar
Location: USS George Washington
Originally posted by Double D
McDonald's Michael Jordan Burger - a hamburger with barbeque sauce and about six other ingredients. Went over and landed with a thud.
You geezers remember the McDLT? (1985 - Old School!) It came in a two-part styrofoam (REALLY Old School!) that had the "hot side" which was the lower bun and QPC patty and the "cold side" which was the upper bun, lettuce leaves, mayo, pickles, and tomato slices. The idea was that the hot side stayed hot, the cold side stayed cold.

Of course, now you had a styrofoam package that was TWICE the size of the usual Big Mac packaging. And, the "cold side" was never really as cold as you wanted it to be. It was lukewarm, at best.

Oh yeah, it sucked.

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Old 07-11-2003, 07:59 AM   #12 (permalink)
Talk nerdy to me
God of Thunder's Avatar
Location: Flint, MI
Or how about the McRib.

It was bad enough that the put pickles and onions on it, but the "meat" What the hell was it made of?
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Old 07-11-2003, 08:18 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Denver City Denver
Fuck New Coke
heavy is the head that wears the crown
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Old 07-11-2003, 08:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
shalafi's Avatar
Location: Stuart, Florida
Originally posted by God of Thunder
Or how about the McRib.

It was bad enough that the put pickles and onions on it, but the "meat" What the hell was it made of?
hey i liked the mcrib.......i imagine the ingredients of the sammich are pretty similar to the ingredients of the packaging on most fast food.
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Old 07-11-2003, 08:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
Getting it.
Charlatan's Avatar
Super Moderator
Location: Lion City
When I was a kid there were fruit flavoured potato chips... Ghastly.

(grape was the one that sticks out in my mind).
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:38 AM   #16 (permalink)
micah67's Avatar
Location: 33:08:12N 117:10:23W
I like the McRib, too. And it's not gone (At least locally), it's a seasonal thing. I got it a few months ago.

Remember the SNL skit when Crystal Pepsi came out? They had their version called "Crystal Gravy"...
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Old 07-11-2003, 11:51 AM   #17 (permalink)
BBtB's Avatar
Location: Tulsa, Ok.
Originally posted by shalafi
hey i liked the mcrib.......i imagine the ingredients of the sammich are pretty similar to the ingredients of the packaging on most fast food.
I think I did too. Hell I don't remember.

I wish I could just work as a bad idea stopper for big companies. Like they just bounce ideas off me and if it is incredibly stupid (I.E. funky fries) I just shoot it down. I am pretty good at telling wether a new product will stay around long. I would be pretty good at it. But of course anyone who uses common sense and dosn't have their heads so far up their asses doing market research and focus groups and polls and group dildo sessions could.
Meridae'n once played "death" at a game of chess that lasted for over two years. He finally beat death in a best 34 out of 67 match. At that time he could ask for any one thing and he could wish for the hope of all mankind... he looked death right in the eye and said ...

"I would like about three fiddy"
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Old 07-11-2003, 02:19 PM   #18 (permalink)
Location: shittown, CA
hawaiian burger. Nuff said.
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Old 07-11-2003, 03:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
Stealth fries were pretty damn stupid. They were made with a special coating that was supposedly meant to help keep the fries hotter longer. No such luck! They taste like crap and never seemed to stay as hot as normal fries. Give me MickeyD's fries anyday!
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Old 07-11-2003, 05:45 PM   #20 (permalink)
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vermin's Avatar
Location: Tucson, AZ
You geezers remember the McDLT?
I was working at McDonald's when these were introduced. A pain in the ass to put together and package, but very tasty.
If puns were sausages, this would be the wurst.
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:34 PM   #21 (permalink)
Location: Sydney, Australia
Actually fries with chocolate can be pretty fucking good if you're in the right kind of peculiar mood (so can chocolate and beer).

You take a big serve of fresh, well cooked fries and a block of relly good milk chocolate and you sorta eat them both at the same time.

Having them pre-packaged together or simply as a chemical flavouring is a recipe for disaster though; especially since frozen fries taste like scum anyway,
I won't even go into the color issue.
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Old 07-11-2003, 06:52 PM   #22 (permalink)
Location: Ontari-ari-ari-O, Canada EH!
The green and purple ketchup is disgusting but you ain't seen nothing yet. My brother bought some of the green ketchup for his daughter and also purchased a package of purple (yes purple) hot dog buns. What kind of an idiot came up with this shit. I'm at a cook out in his back yard and my niece comes walking up to me with a hot dog on a purple bun with green ketchup on it. Man that just made me want to hurl.
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Old 07-11-2003, 09:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
LOVED Crystal Pepsi.

Creepy thing about McRibs, it's ashapped pork patty, but they shape bones in with it as well. Disturbing.

Something I loved, and they got rid of were McStuffins. They may have been a regional thing. It was a small french bread loaf, hollowed out, and filled with pizza stuff, or cheesesteak stuff. They were fantastic, but only lasted about 6 months.
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