An Ounce of Prevention, or a Few Pounds of Cure

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By David Segal
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 13, 2006

NEW YORK -- Every once in a while, a product comes along that is so cunningly conceived and so flawlessly executed that the only proper response is reverent awe.

The ThighMaster comes to mind. So do the novels of Dan Brown. And here's the Wonder Bar, a chocolate treat in pink-and-white packaging sold by a New Jersey company called Ecco Bella.

This 1.75-ounce slab of genius was on display this week at the Fancy Food Show, a massive expo for companies selling the tasty victuals that wind up on the shelves of specialty stores around the world. There was row upon row of artisanal cheese, exotic meats, jams, breads, flavored water, cookies and something billed as non-dessert cheesecake. One company was promoting a bone-shaped breath mint for people who want to snuggle with their dogs. (Yes. For people. ) There were about 160,000 items at the show, which is geared to retailers and distributors.

All of it seemed positively ho-hum compared with the Wonder Bar.

Are you sitting?

It's chocolate that is specially formulated to help women alleviate the symptoms of PMS.

Would you like a moment to process that?

It's a hunk of chocolate, designed specifically to alleviate the effects of premenstrual syndrome. (More than, say, a Snickers bar already does.) The irritability, the anxiety, the moodiness -- all of it is allegedly soothed by the Wonder Bar, at $3.69 a pop. As it says on the wrapper, "Take sweet revenge on PMS, menopause & everyday cravings with this delicious Swiss chocolate, rose oil, herbs and soy."

If there's another packaged food product out there marketed for its impact on PMS, it's well hidden. A Web search turned up nothing.

Your first reaction to the Wonder Bar is probably something like, "Now, that is a great idea." Among women, that might be the second and third reaction, too. But fellas, mull this one for a moment. Think about the concept of craving. Now consider a rather different concept: impunity.

Are you starting to see the terrible genius here?

You will after we call Adrienna Kramer, Ecco Bella's general manager. Let's get straight to the point, shall we?


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