Yesterday I got an e-mail from one of my professors saying that a friend of his who has a consulting business needed some people for a focus group in the afternoon. It sounded like a great way to get a few extra dollars for Christmas, so I signed up.
The focus of the group was salty/savory snacks for time-starved adults, Hispanics (which is a severely “underserved” by the snack food industry), and mothers with kids under 12 years old. We each wrote down a snack idea for one of the groups, passed our papers around to different people who added to them or improved upon them, and pitched our ideas to the rest of the group. Then we broke into three groups and used the ideas we had come up with to create a snack idea (complete with cost, packaging options, distribution channel, etc.) for one of the focus populations.
Before we started pitching our ideas, the consultant told some stories about people and their snack food. One lady said she and her best friend used to skip their math class during their junior year of high school to go home and eat a whole bag of potato chips–a forbidden food in their houses. Another said she and her sister would make houses of saltine crackers in the shag carpet at their house, then let their dogs destroy them and have it all cleaned up by the time their mom got home.
I’m trying to think of my favorite snack-time memories. I loved coming home from school and eating ramen or crackers with cheese before going on my paper route. And eating cereal around the kitchen table late at night with my siblings will be a memory I cherish for years to come, I’m sure. These days I look forward to the times when we have a few minutes after Simon goes to sleep to pop some popcorn on our stove and sit down and relax for a little while before we head to bed ourselves.