Denise Goldberg's blog

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What's in a (product) name?

Do you ever wonder why companies pull products and replace them with new products that bear different names and (maybe) slightly different ingredients?

Somewhere, sometime, I tried Luna Tea Cakes, a product made by Clif Bar. It was a good quick snack, something to grab after work before I head out walking or riding, something to fill that gap between lunch and dinner that supports a reasonable amount of activity. Sometimes I grab a piece of fruit, sometimes an energy bar (of sorts). Over the past few months, the product just disappeared from store shelves. I did a search for it, and up popped a page on Clif's web site. Hmmm... it's still there. Or is it? When I popped over to the product page there was no trace of tea cakes. But look! There's now something called Luna Cookie. The packaging looks suspiciously like that of the missing Luna Tea Cakes.

I kept an eye out for the product. The retail stores where I usually purchase Clif products showed no signs of Luna Cookies. The thing is, the Luna Tea Cakes and now the Luna Cookies were a (relatively) small snack from a calorie standpoint at 130 to 140 calories, a nice energy boost, just right for me. I'm stubborn. I kept looking, and looking, and then I turned to the web. I found Luna Cookies at for a very reasonable price, so I took a gamble and bought two boxes, bearing the same names of flavors that I liked in the now missing tea cakes - Berry Pomegranate, and Mint Chocolate.

It turns out that from a taste standpoint and a looks standpoint - they could be the same product. I looked at the ingredients of the old and the new, and the lists are very similar. Not identical, similar. Taste? Seems the same to me.

I always wonder, what drives a product change like this? The old product contained green tea from The Republic of Tea; the new one does not. Was this a falling out between companies? An attempt to sell to a slightly different audience? Something else entirely? I suppose it really doesn't matter; I'm just glad to have this snack back.