Wednesday, August 20, 2008

How Not To Conduct Customer Service

I sent Hershey’s an email via their web request form on Monday looking for the ingredients for the Krackel Bar, which is part of the Miniatures assortment. (They stopped making the full sized bars in 2006.)

I emailed them because I didn’t really want to transcribe the list on the phone. Let them do the typing.

Instead of sending it to me in the response, they replied with a case number and told me to call them during business hours (9-4 Eastern) to get my answers.

Okay, I called this morning and gave the representative my case number and she read back my request: What are the ingredients in the Krackel bar. The ingredients list on the Miniatures bag lists them all together and I want to know just what’s in that bar.

She asked me why I want to know.

I stammered that I wanted to know what I’m eating.

She asked if it was an allergy issue.

I replied that I wanted to know what was in that bar. If I ate only that bar, what would I be eating? (The package does say “something for everyone” so Hershey’s understands that sometimes people just pick through and eat only one variety.)

She said she did not have that information. It doesn’t exist in her records. If she wanted she could escalate me to a supervisor, but they had only the same info that she does.

That seemed pretty useless.

She asked if I wanted to be transfered. I said no, if they were comfortable with me publishing that they are unable to give me the ingredients for that bar, then I think we were done.

So there it is, no way for you to know what’s in a Krackel. Well, there’s a long list on the back of the package of what could be in a Krackel. So as long as you’re comfortable with some combination of those ingredients, go ahead and enjoy.

UPDATE 8/22/2008: I got another email from Hershey’s and it said this:

Thank you for contacting us about HERSHEY’S MINIATURES chocolate bars and your question regarding the KRACKEL bar which is part of the assortment.

Our Nutrition Department personnel reviewed your contact and confirmed that all of the ingredients contained in the KRACKEL bar are listed on the label of the HERSHEY’S MINIATURES chocolate bars. The KRACKEL bar is currently not sold individually and is only produced as part of the assortment. The recipe for this bar is proprietary and cannot be shared.

However, if you read the ingredients on the Hershey’s Miniatures package, it includes the ingredients for all four mini bars combined. It goes like this:

Sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, peanuts, vegetable oil (palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), crisp rice, contains 2% or less of: lactose, nonfat milk, milk fat, cocoa processed with alkali, whey, soy lecithin, PGPR, salt, malt, vanillin.

Based on what I know of the Mr. Goodbar’s ingredients, which is also a mockolate bar (Sugar, peanuts, vegetable oil (palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil) chocolate, whey (milk), nonfat milk, contains 2% or less of milk fat, soy lecithin, salt, vanillin.) and the last known ingredients of the true Krackel I’ve extrapolated the following as the likely ingredients of Krackel:

Sugar, vegetable oil (palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil) chocolate, whey (milk), nonfat milk, crisped rice, salt, malt, contains 2% or less of milk fat, soy lecithin, vanillin.

If you’re going to give someone a bag of candy with the motto of “A Little Something For Everyone” you should be prepared that folks are not only going to have a favorite, but they might actually eat ONLY that one and they might want to know what’s in just that individually wrapped candy. That candy that says on the wrapper nutrition information 1-800-468-1714 ... which they also cannot provide separately.

But really I don’t think that it’s because the “recipe is proprietary” (believe me, I don’t wanna make these at home), it’s because they’re ashamed.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 7:03 am     Curious News

Comments
  1. Looking at a Crunch bar, there’s chocolate, crisped rice, and other stuff in that. I’d imagine the Krackle has about the same, since it’s the same thing, only worse.

    It would be nice to a find a $20 bill in one. Is that listed in the ingredients for the big bag?

    Comment by Russ on 8/20/08 at 4:43 pm

     

  2. Russ - that’s the thing, the Krackel wrapper now says “made with chocolate and crisp rice” where the last known description when it was a full sized bar was “crisped rice in milk chocolate”.

    The ingredients then (2003) were:
    Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soya lecithin and PGPR, vanillin), crisped rice, sugar, salt and malt.

    So my question is what is in there now? And why won’t they tell me?

    Comment by Cybele on 8/20/08 at 5:10 pm

     

  3. You’ve got me stumped.

    That PGPR stuff is in the Crunch, too. If I wanted to be technical, I might point out that saying something is “made with chocolate and crisp rice” isn’t the same as saying it contains chocolate and crisp rice.

    I make things with my hands, but my hands aren’t in the finished product!

    It’s baffling that no one who knows the ingredients is in a position to disclose them to you (us). I’m not saying there’s anything sneaky going on, just bad PR by the Hershey’s people.

    (How weird that this showed up the same day I bought a Crunch bar and had the label handy!)

    Comment by Russ on 8/21/08 at 3:38 am

     

  4. I’m utterly horrified.

    Comment by Sera on 8/22/08 at 10:34 am

     

  5. I could have sworn that I recently saw Krackel bars in the really big size bars—you know, the four- or five-ounce monster bars.  Or am I mistaken?

    If I can find one of those, I’ll be sure to grab one to get the ingredient information.

    Comment by Johnny Carruthers on 9/23/08 at 10:19 am

     

  6. Since when is the ingredients list the same as a (proprietary) recipe?  The short answer - it isn’t.  And if there is nothing to hide - why not give full disclosure?

    Comment by April on 9/23/08 at 10:40 am

     

  7. Johnny: You may be thinking of the Nestl? ‘Giant’ bars, they have a somewhat similar wrapper.

    Comment by Steph on 10/05/08 at 9:55 am

     

  8. This is just disgusting to put into my once-favorite brand of candy…think I’ll stick with Snickers and Dove going forward:

    Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR), E476, is an emulsifier made from castor beans which reduces the viscosity of chocolate and similar coatings and compounds. It works by decreasing the friction between the particles of cacao, sugar, milk, etc. present so that they can flow more easily when melted. It is used at low levels (fractions of percents.)

    This definition was taken from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PGPR

    Peace,
    ThamasD

    Comment by ThamasD on 10/11/08 at 7:30 am

     

  9. Interesting.  By Law in the Uk they have to put the separate ingredients on the bag along with nutritional values. 
    On their website you can actually find a chocolate bar’s nutritional value and all it’s details (eg http://nutrition.cadbury.co.uk/epages/Store.storefront/?ObjectID=549071).  Which I think is pretty handy.

    Oh and Btw, cadbury’s in the states is COMPLETELY different to cadbury’s in the UK.  The UK version is much better (even our American friends say so!)

    Comment by Victoria on 11/22/08 at 3:47 am

     

  10. But would hershey’s sold in the UK have to put each individual ingredients for each bar on the package or would they just do it the same way they do it here?

    Comment by Carleene on 12/28/08 at 7:47 am

     

  11. The below information might be out of date, considering it still describes the bar as having milk chocolate.

    Hershey needs to reconsider their privacy. Those of us who can’t eat gluten don’t often buy or eat anything without ingredients on the label.


    http://www.zeer.com/Food-Products/Krackel-Bar/000025528

    Krackel Bar

    Made by: Hershey Foods Corporation

    Crisped Rice in Milk Chocolate.

    Ingredients:

    Milk Chocolate (Milk Chocolate Contains Sugar, Milk, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Soya Lecithin (an Emulsifier), and Vanillin (an Artificial Flavoring)), Crisped Rice, Salt, and Malt.

    Comment by Nik on 4/29/09 at 9:31 am

     

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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.