Junk Food…UnJunked

By Zoe Zambakides, 4/01/2013


So the eatbigfish team have been gradually returning to the office this week – many of us slightly worse for wear – spent from all our festive frolics and full of resolutions to give up smoking, cake, drinking and general unhealthiness etc.

I had frivolously chosen the latter – swearing off the chocolate after a selection box binge on Christmas day that could have won Team GB an Olympic Gold in Gluttony I’m sure (11 full-size chocolate bars in one afternoon) .

However if eatbigfish has taught me anything (coupled with my lack of general resolve), it’s about seeing the world through the eyes of a Challenger.  So yesterday, as I was staring at an 80%-dark-chocolate-organic cane sugar-no GM-no diary- no soya-verygoodforme-bar I concluded that it wasn’t actually Chocolate I was trying to avoid- it was all the rubbish that gets put in it.

Then I remembered Unreal chocolates in the US – in case anyone missed their launch video last Sept it’s here, teeming with more celebrities than a bumper edition of Heat magazine.

Whilst many other (and I should say fantastic) companies have had this insight before them, the majority of them have gone in the direction of a more ‘sophisticated’ chocolate- darker, purer, artisan etc. Unreal have unearthed the same insight and are challenging the same fundamental belief – that chocolate (and sugar) is unhealthy – but they’ve taken a slightly different angle with a very different Point of View.

They want to get us to re-evaluate what we accept as ‘junk’ food (i.e. lacking in an nutritional value):  “to challenge what we’ve come to accept in our food and the effects on our health. To change the way junk food is made in America and around the world.” – so they’ve gone straight for America’s favourite chocolate/candy bars to do just that.

Unreal have launched with comparable version of Snickers, Mars, Reese’s cups, and M&Ms: with no high fructose corn syrup, no GM ingredients, no hormone loaded dairy products and 40% less sugar in each bar. It costs slightly more to make, but that’s part of what they’re all about because they have explicitly chosen a different Monster to fight against: to them the enemy isn’t sugar or candy at all, it’s cheap ingredients, cost-reduction, and all those that collude towards both:

“the worst parts of candy (like hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives) aren’t there to make it taste good.  They’re there to make it cheaper to produce”.


Unreal are a great little example of how a different point of view can take you from the same insight as many other companies, with similar beliefs, to a very different outcome.

As they’re only currently sold in the US, Georgia (who is merrily winging her way to Miami) is clutching a bulk buy for the office, and until then I shall have to survive on some mint hint conscious chocolate, such hardships January (and new year resolutions) bring.

2 Responses to “Junk Food…UnJunked”

  1. Josh says:

    This is a great idea. I’ve kept an eye on these guys as it was started by the (teenage) son of a former founder of Digitas here in town. However, I also just noticed that their candy was put in the clearance rack of the local pharmacy. You need to send more Georgia’s here to save the brand – stat!

  2. Zoe Zambakides says:

    Thanks Josh- but, noooo! Which Pharmacy!? This is not what we want to hear!
    Interestingly, we actually had an initial conversation about the packaging here in the office when we first saw it and wondered if it really did their mission and message justice – and, dare I say it, if luminous shiny retro-style packaging is really going to help them tell their story and make them stand out on the shelves?
    However I still love them and will be stock-piling when I’m in the US next week.
    Do keep us updated!