Suggestion Box: Taste Is Subjective

Norman Weiss, Weavers Way Purchasing Manager

Greetings and thanks for writing. As usual, suggestions and responses may have been edited for brevity, clarity, and/or comedy. In addition, no idea, concept, issue, remark, phrase, description of event, word, or word string should be taken seriously. This also applies to the previous sentence.

I happened to read this on a Kettle Chips bag: “guaranteed fresh and delicious.” Guaranteed delicious? A few dictionary definitions define delicious as “very pleasant, esp. to taste or smell.”As I recall, taste and smell are two of the five senses people possess.

My read of the five senses is that they are all pretty subjective. Being licked by a dog feels good to some, but not to others. Cilantro tastes good to some people but not to others. Perfume smells good to some people but not to others. How can Kettle guarantee something that depends on senses, which vary by individual? They can’t, hence it’s fake news, empty marketing language.

Probably it doesn’t matter, because very few people read the bag. I wonder if Kettle ever had to make good on this guarantee and if they did, what was the remedy? Did they have to make a chip to appeal to the complainant’s taste buds? Of course, given human propensity toward certain tastes — salt, fat, sweet (the naturally occurring starch in potatoes is a little bit sweet) — maybe it’s not such a bad gamble after all.

suggestions and responses:

s: “In my memory we have always had single yellow organic onions — not just sweet or red. Please bring them back.”

r: (Jean, MA) Organic yellow onions are back!

s: “Did you stop carrying the Mi-Del ‘regular’ ginger snaps? Haven’t tried the gluten free. Can I return them if I’m disappointed with the flavor?”

r: (Matt, MA) We didn’t stop carrying them intentionally. They’re a long-running out of stock at our supplier. They’ve returned. Also, you can return anything you find unsatisfactory. Ask a staffer for details.

s: “Would it be possible to stock the Metropolitan Bakery Oatmeal Raisin cookies? They’re delicious! My sister loves them too!”

r: (Jenna MA) Yes! They’ve started coming in on Fridays. Depending on how they sell, they may be a regular item.

s: “Why are Bearitos Tortilla Chips (large bag) discontinued? They’re the best corn chips — even my family from the Southwest agrees!”

r: (Matt MA) I’ve reached out to both our supplier and Bearitos to find an answer to this question. So far, the only answer I’ve received is confirmation that they were in fact discontinued from our supplier. Neither will tell me who is responsible for the discontinuation or why. We’re trying to find an alternative source. We’re all as disappointed as you are.

(Norman) Often these kinds of long term, unexplained out of stocks are a result of a conspiracy. Infowars has published a story that because of their triangular shape, Bearitos trigger the memory of colonial times, when tri-corner hats were popular with the likes of George Washington and his peers. As they were seen as revolutionaries willing to bear arms against the established order, so agents of our current shadow government, fearing a similar revolution, sabotaged the Bearitos Tortilla chip factory as a test to see the public’s reaction, before moving on to the real target, Doritos.

s: “I am extremely curious as to why you’re selling rice pudding at such an exorbitant price. Rice is inexpensive & the Acme Market has the very same brand for far less. Please explain. $5.95/lb. is not reasonable when I can purchase the exact same product for half the price!”

r: (Norman) It looks like we are paying too much for this from our supplier. We’ll shop around to see if we can get it at a lower cost and lower our price. Thanks for pointing it out.

s: “Please consider alternating your current choice of So Delicious Dairy Free Bars-Dipped Coconut Almond for the unbelievably good same brand Dipped Mocha Almond Bars. Guaranteed they will sell out every time!”

r: (Matt MA) I’ll try to see if we have the space necessary to expand our So Delicious offerings.

s: “Schar makes great gluten-free vegan rolls, baguettes, hot dog and hamburger buns, etc. They are free of most common allergens, and I always have to order them online. Would love it if you would consider carrying it.”

r: (Matt MA) We have considered them in the past. I’ll revisit our gluten-free bread selection with our bakery buyer. In the meantime, contact me if you are interested in information about ordering Schar products by the case (

s: “Why do members take all the chunky items in the soups, just leaving the broth?”

r: (Norman) Buying hot soup out of the self-serve pot triggers our primitive foraging instinct to get as many calories and nutrients as possible for a given amount of physical effort. It’s natural selection at the soup bar. These members are not as smart as they think however, since the broth often has helpful herbs and provides hydration. You would think in a co-op that members would view self serving themselves soup as an opportunity to demonstrate the egalitarian values co-ops are based on, carefully spooning equal portions of beans, veggies, broth, pasta, meat, etc. and leaving the soup in a state such that subsequent members spooning soup have the same opportunity. However, such is the power of our primitive foraging instinct that it is difficult to overcome without attending one of our new member orientations to learn about the values of cooperation and how to put them into effect in everyday life.

s: “Do we have a gluten-free, dairy-free cookie?”

r: (Norman) Check our packaged cookie shelves; there are usually some gluten-free and dairy-free options. Also, we stock a High Point gluten-free, vegan cookie in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

s: “Sample of Weavers Way Spinach Artichoke dip is so delicious!”

r: (Norman) Thanks for the compliment! We are not guaranteeing its deliciousness, although we can present a fair amount of testimony attesting to that. We’re exploring a new program that combines the democratic value of voting with the sensation of deliciousness. When we sample products, members will get to vote on whether the product is delicious or not, and for products that get more votes of being delicious than not, we will award them our “CDBPV” seal, which stands for “Certified Delicious By Popular Vote.” Of course, we’ll have to have auditors to certify all voters actually tasted the product and didn’t vote twice. Democratic processes need vigilance to stay pure because we know there are unscrupulous people out there that try to game the system.