Paying more, getting less, loving it

There are some blog posts that can be published only when all the participants are dead, or at least only when one has moved on from that particular job.  This is not one of them.

I was browsing the aisles at a local big box store and spied something I had never seen before: mini Clif bars.  I'd been an occasional consumer of the full-sized article for some time, so I bought some.

As you can see, the regular Clif is 2.4 ounces and the mins are just one ounce, 42% of the size and therefore 42% of the calories (240 vs 100) and other contents, both good and bad. But as I'm sure you've guessed, the minis cost more (as per the Clif website, you may find different prices in the wild) per unit of Clif - $0.72 each (in a box of 18) or $11.55/lb for minis vs $1.25 each (in a box of 12) or $8.33/lb for regulars.

Clif bars

Big ripoff for a little energy bar?  Actually, I think it's a decent deal.  Sure, I'd rather pay less for my chosen size, and I'd rather reduce packaging waste than increase it, but the folks at Clif are onto something - some people don't want a 240 calorie snack, and they don't much feel like eating half of a bigger bar and working out how to keep the other half fresh in the midst of a busy workday or workout.

People trying to lose weight (or just avoid overeating and feeling icky) are often challenged by portion control.  If the serving is too big, it's easy to overeat unless you have great restraint; if it's too small, it's easy to eat two, or more.  Perhaps in a perfect world, you could buy Clif like bread, in large loafs from which you'd cut whatever amount you wanted (like a muffaleta?), but that has its pitfalls too.  What I like about Clif's math here is that if you eat two minis, you've spent more but still eaten less than if you'd had a standard bar.

Sure, the marketing peeps at Clif have done a good job of pitching the mini as a good thing, and a very good job of obscuring the price differential by selling the different sizes in different count packages.  But for me, it's down to convenience and to the right size of snack.  And in the land of supersizing, a little downsizing is worth the premium.

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