Sunday, May 11, 2008

Haagen-Dazs – Crispy Caramel Sandwich

The marketing efforts of Haagen-Dazs in China have been effectual to say the least. You will find their display coolers in nearly every 7-11, C-Store, and Circle K, as well as numerous bars and restaurants. The product range in the coolers are quart size buckets in various flavors, the small cups, and about 5 different popsicles. And as you know, Haagen-Dazs does not just make any run of the mill popsicles or ice cream. This company is a subsidiary of Nestle but they actually managed to turn the notch up on branding in their industry and create a product that they can sell for more than 10 times the price of their competition. That’s right; Haagen-Dazs in China is fucking ridiculously expensive. But is their product 10 times better than the local brands? Take for example this product that I recently came across, the Crispy Caramel Sandwich. The first thing you notice of course is the packaging. It is obviously not designed to capture the attention of hyperactive children running through stores looking for their next sugar fix. The earth tones evoke a kind of sophistication, the brand name has no meaning at all but it sounds cultured and bogousie. That whole European flair surly rubs the Chinese consumers the right way.

The quality of the packaging itself is fantastic. The outer box is a nice thick ply that will not get soggy after being left out in the humidity for 15-20 minutes. The manufacturers have employed precision machinery that creates a perforated strip around the box that tears away perfectly every time. The quality of print is also far superior to most of the other brands on the shelf here. This a quality that may not be noticeable to the everyday Joe consumer, but anyone who takes a close look at the box will see how much attention the manufacturers have paid to the matt finish, the blending of colors, and the standard of ink used as well. Gold is a more expensive color in printing and Haagen-Dazs holds back no punches. The attention to detail flows through the outer box and onto the OPP pillow pack that holds the ice cream sandwich. Again any person familiar with different grades of PP (polypropylene) packaging will testify that Haagen-Dazs have spared no costs on this front either. Many manufacturers look for areas where they can dupe the customer and save a few cents for themselves, as I pointed out so clearly in the case of the L’OREAL Men’s Facial Products. But up to this point with the Crispy Caramel Sandwich, I can spot no flaws.

Perfection flows through the packaging and into the finished product, creamy vanilla ice-cream in a crispy caramel shell, sandwiched between 2 flaky sheets of pastry. There is no way I could diagnose the quality of ingredients used in the sandwich, but I can say that it tastes fucking good. I can also assume that they use some pretty awesome machines to make these things because each was is perfectly symmetrical, the logo smack on the center, all parts of the ice-cream coated in the exact same thickness of crispy caramel shell.

And I don’t know if this is just a coincidence, but every time I break into a Crispy Caramel Sandwich, it never gets messy. I don’t know if the ice cream is blended to stay firm longer or what, but it never get to really melting until I am down to the last bite, and that goes down just perfectly. The ice cream is nice and cold, but never too cold to bite into. No brain freeze, ever! At 1am, right when those midnight munchies kick in while I am working on one of my twisted projects, nothing goes down better than the Crispy Caramel Sandwich. If you have not tried one of these puppies yet, do yourself a favor. But like I said, the fucker will set you back a good 50RMB, here in China.

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