Food products that are offenses against nature: Bagel-fuls


Wow, it's been a long time since my last rant against food products that are offenses against nature. Today's rant is against Bagel-fuls, a product which Kraft launched in April 2008.

Bagel-fuls (note the hyphen and the lowercase "f") are a dense, doughy material formed into a log shape, with a cream cheese filling. Think of them as Twinkies, but with cream cheese instead of a sugar cream filling, and with a dense, doughy substance instead of whatever alien material it is they make Twinkies out of.

The great thing about this product is that it is an attempt by Kraft to learn its lesson from a previous failed bagel-like product: The Philadelphia To Go bagel, a package consisting of a frozen bagel, a one-ounce tub of cream cheese, and a plastic knife. For people who are unable to remember where they kept their cream cheese (hint: the refrigerator) and knives (hint: cutlery drawer).

Apparently, Kraft's conclusion was not that the product failed because it was too stupid, but rather that it failed because it was not stupid enough.

Comments (35)
  1. Some Guy Up North says:

    I’ll agree that the existence of a Twinkie-bagel is a crime against cuisine, but I can see the line of thought that went into it – the prior product wasn’t convenient enough.

    It still required someone to unwrap the product, use a microwave to thaw the bagel, open a container, and use an awkward tool to combine the bagel with cheese. It also meant that you were paying things you might not use (like the cream cheese/knife, if you wanted jam instead), and produced additional garbage.

    This cuts the number of required steps to just two (unwrap and microwave) and benefits the environment; admittedly it removes customer choice, but if it proves successful I’m sure there’ll be plenty of new flavours, like Butter, Butter + Cheese, Strawberry Cream Cheese, and Lox.

  2. Falcon says:

    "Silly customer, you cannot hurt a Twinkie!"

  3. James Schend says:

    I’ve always thought the most offensive food product was Combos. Mostly because they look like dog food. And taste like… dog food.

    These bagel-loafs, though… wow.

  4. alt-92 says:

    @ SomeGuy:

    " It also meant that you were paying things you might not use (like the cream cheese/knife, if you wanted jam instead)"

    Then why buy the damn thing in the first place?

  5. benjamin says:

    Combos taste like dog food?

    Y…you’ve made an enemy today, sir.

  6. Some Guy Up North says:

    @ alt-92: "Then why buy the damn thing in the first place?"

    Convenience? Portion control? Only bagel-related product visible on the shelf? I haven’t the foggiest notion – I’m trying to think like the brains behind the product, and I’m not sure they’ve considered who the potential market for this product is in the first place.

    Maybe it’s students. Certainly the new product has more in common with typical (high school / college) student fare than an actual bagel.

  7. Josh says:

    I don’t know about you, but I bought my bagels from delis and bakeries (depending on whether they were prepared for me or toasted at home) in college and high school. This thing is a crime against humanity.

  8. Emmanuel says:

    How is this any different from frozen pancakes or waffles? Those products are not nearly as good as the real thing, but they are still popular.

    Admittedly, these will probably be terrible, but it’s not a particularly new concept.

    [This isn’t like frozen pancakes. This is like frozen pancakes wrapped around frozen butter and syrup. -Raymond]
  9. John says:

    I agree with benjamin.  Granted Combos DO look like dog food, but they are delicious.

    Anyway, I think this whole thing is a slippery slope.  Anything not 100% natural could be construed as an “offense against nature”.  If you want to get crazy, one could argue that shipping foodstuffs or ingredients thereof via mechanized freight is an offense against nature as it produces large quantities of CO2.

    Ultimately I think the point you are trying to make is that there is no accounting for taste (in both senses of the word).  I used to feel like you, but a long time ago I realized that people like what they like no matter what you think; why waste your time being bothered by it?

    [Well yeah, other people may prefer the convenience. (I’m not actually all that bothered by it, but outrage makes for a more entertaining tone.) -Raymond]
  10. Gabe says:

    Unfortunately it seems like Tufts doesn’t have archives going back to 2003 anymore. If they did, it would probably be behind a paywall.

    [Link fixed, thanks. -Raymond]
  11. Morten says:

    "one could argue that shipping foodstuffs or ingredients thereof via mechanized freight is an offense against nature as it produces large quantities of CO2."

    And one would be quite wrong in a lot of surprising ways. Take tomatoes. It costs 4 times more energy to grow them here in Denmark than letting the Spanish grow them and then truck the results north.

    Some purists will argue that we should only eat what can be naturally grown in the immediate area, to which I say: come to Denmark and we will happily feed you our "natural" products. After a week on beets, barley-porridge and pig-products (no, not just pork, everything but the squeal) I’m sure you’ll see why tomatoes are necessary…

  12. kog999 says:

    The Luther Burger is my favorite offence against nature

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luther_Burger

  13. Gabe says:

    The “Philadelphia To Go” (note you’re missing an ‘L’) link might be related to this: http://www.leslieburman.com/A%20Bagel%20or%20a%20Donut.pdf

    [Typo fixed, thanks. And yes, that’s the same content I was trying to link to originally, thanks for finding it. -Raymond]
  14. brain says:

    I suppose it’s wrong to comment that we buy these, and they are not half bad.  I can toss one from the freezer in the bag when I leave for work, and it’s thawed out enough to pop in the toaster oven when I arrive.

    The significant advantage is that they are "self contained".  I don’t always want bagels and cc, so if I take the ingredients to work, they might go bad before I finish them (the bagels, anyway).  With these, they can live in the freezer until I decide I want one that morning, and I have no waste.

    If I’m branded a "dumb" consumer for such a purchase, oh well.  I.d rather say these are marketed to "undecided, non-committal,lazy bagel eaters".  I’m in that camp.

  15. Josh says:

    @John: Don’t take it so seriously. We aren’t saying this is literally damaging to nature, but rather that we are thumbing our noses at the natural when we produce and consume products like this.

    I call people who put butter on bagels heretics, but that doesn’t mean I believe they are literally violating the laws of god or their religious hierarchy.

  16. Fuzzy says:

    "This is like frozen pancakes wrapped around frozen butter and syrup."

    Almost as good as milk cereal bars!

  17. htd says:

    I like bagle-fuls. Though it would be better if they can make it fit toaster better.

  18. Ari says:

    I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve bought these before. They’re really convenient for the kids.

  19. Gabe says:

    Josh: I put butter AND cream cheese on my bagels. Am I a heretic?

    BTW, I think that Uncrustables (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sealed_crustless_sandwich) are the worst offense against nature.

  20. Chris L says:

    If you want to go absurd with the "natural" angle, I’ll say that apples are not natural because they were bred by humans to look and taste the way they do. Along with, I suppose, just about every other fruit and vegetable and animal we eat.

  21. mikeb says:

    The bigger problem with bagels isn’t these Kraft monstrosities – they’re probably based on the something very similar to those things you might find in a grocery store which for some reason are called bagels, but in fact are just dinner rolls shaped like donuts.

    The only place I’ve found in the Seattle Eastside that sells something that can truly be called a bagel is Mikie’s Brooklyn Bagel in Redmond. If anyone knows of another place in the Seattle area that has real bagels, I’d appreciate hijacking this thread so you can let me know (I hope Raymond won’t mind, but if he does, he has the awesome moderating power to fix my transgression – and good, true bagels are worth the risk of angering ‘He Who Should Not Be Nitpicked’).

    Oh man – a Mikie’s bagel with cream cheese and some paper-thin hot coppa from the Thriftway that used to be Larry’s… Heaven.

    [I agree with you completely, from the “toroidal roll” to the endorsement of Mikie’s Brooklyn Bagel. -Raymond]
  22. Eric L says:

    "This isn’t like frozen pancakes. This is like frozen pancakes wrapped around frozen butter and syrup."

    This may actually be worse:

    http://dankoifman.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/09/jimmy-dean-pancake-sausage-chocolate-chip-736804.jpg

  23. Fil says:

    I am a student.

    I enjoy Bagelfuls. <_<

  24. Leo Davidson says:

    I see you like your food like your APIs: Not doing anything for you you couldn’t do yourself.

  25. termserv says:

    @mikeb:

    Try Blazing Bagels, near Whole Foods.

    Rob

  26. Nik says:

    I went to Blazing Bagels (in Redmond, near Marymoor) once and it was incredibly disappointing.  The bagels were so stale, it was almost literally stunning.  It seems they bake the bagels, let them sit for 1-2 days, and then sell them.

  27. hexatron says:

    Nik-

    Stale bagels are a sign of GOOD bagels.

    The crap round-squishy-roll bagels never get stale. Same as most bread, they stay soft and pliant for weeks.

    A real bagel (vanishingly rare in New York now; you may never have seen one) turns into cement in about a day. Bakers now shorten or even eliminate the boiling part of bagel preparation, and the results are more breadlike and remain edible for a few days.

    If you find a place with stale bagels, just ask if they have any fresh ones, or which are freshest.

  28. vdk2006 says:

    I may be just a stupid non-American, but what exactly is wrong with these Bagel-fuls? Do they taste bad? Are they sold frozen and must be heated/toasted before eating? Anything else?

  29. Gabe says:

    Being the sort of person who thinks that putting fruit in bagels (or in cream cheese, for that matter) is a crime against humanity, I am ashamed to admit that I have actually discovered Bagel-fuls in my very own freezer. When I confronted my wife about this, all she had to say in her defense was that the blueberry flavor isn’t as good as the cinnamon flavor.

    The bagel shop I grew up going to had products with the same dough prepared in the same way, only different shapes — sticks, round without holes, pretzels — but the only ones labeled bagels were the ones with a hole in the middle. As for the toroidal rolls, I can imagine that they call them bagels because they are round and have a hole in the middle. However Bagel-fuls are not round, have no hole in the middle, and are not really even rolls. I’m certainly willing to bet they’re not boiled. So what makes them a bagel? The fact that they have cream cheese in them?

  30. Worf says:

    No, the worst offense against nature is the cheeseburger in a can.

    http://gizmodo.com/351304/cheeseburger-in-a-can-reviewed

    First, they’re awful (McD’s is better). Second, they’re pricier than your local fast food joint. Third, you can get a freshly made one that tastes better practically anywhere. Even if it’s McD’s.

    These really have no reason to exist. Not even a convenience reason.

  31. Marquess says:

    At least they are consistent: Their website is also a crime against humanity.

    *click*

    Nice yellow background. Where’s the content? Oh, you want me to activate Flash? Well this better be worth it!

    (It’s not.)

  32. J says:

    Raymond, you make me smile with these posts. I second the Uncrustables comment as being the worst. You can’t even take the time to take the crust off of your own sandwich?!?!?! Besides, I used to save the crust for last, and enjoy the best for last.

  33. eff Five says:

    @Eric L

    If you going to refer to the holy goodness that is chocolate chip pancaked wrapped   around a sausage you need to include that coup de grâce of dipping it in baconnaise (mayo mixed with bacon) as Jon Stewart suggests.

  34. Michael G says:

    Jim Gaffigan does an entire bit about "hot pockets" that seems applicable here.

    http://video.yahoo.com/watch/4653268/12437422

    "I’ve never eaten a Hot Pocket and then afterwards, been, ‘I’m glad I ate that.’"

  35. njkayaker says:

    Gabe: "I put butter AND cream cheese on my bagels. Am I a heretic?"

    Yuck.

    The Spanish Inquisition is on its way. Be surprised.

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