I found myself in a 7-11 a few days ago, needing to make a purchase, any purchase, and scanned the shelves for something small to buy. I’m not bigly into candy and rarely buy any, but the purple-wrapper-ed Snickers bars printed with odd snatches of text (like
LIFE GOES ON,
SAVE ME, and
GOOD DAY in the photo above) caught my eye. It was one of those rare
Hrm, is this the Simulation glitching? moments. I’d also never seen Snickers brownie squares, so I got one of those out of curiosity as to how they’d taste (verdict: nothing special).
The pleas-for-help Snickers bars, as it happens, are just the product of a branding crossover with a Korean boy band called BTSand the phrases are the titles of some of their songs: BTS IS DROPPING A LIMITED COLLAB WITH SNICKERS . It appears that Mars has only made them available in some East Asian markets.
The presence of shea butter as an ingredient caught my eye. Here’s a higher-res view of the ingredients list:
I’d seen shea butter in soaps and lotions but never in an edible product. Wikipedia mentions shea butter being used as cooking oil in
some African countries such as Benin and as a
food product in Ghana. The same article also says
shea butter is mixed with other oils as a substitute for cocoa butter, although the taste is noticeably different, but the label seems to claim these Snickers bars are still made with (some) actual cocoa butter.
BTS seems to be (or have been?) quite popular in the PRC, but they and their local fans have managed to irk the regime at times (e.g. K-pop crackdown: China social media giant bans BTS fan account [September 2021] and BTS in trouble in China over Korean War comments [October 2020]). So it’s interesting that all of the BTS-collab Snickers bars were made in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China (see detail of wrapper above).
Until I saw them next to the BTS-themed Snickers bars, I hadn’t even known that Snickers Peanut Brownie squares existed. What caught my eye about their label was the ominous statement that the made-in-America junk
CONTAINS BIOENGINEERED FOOD INGREDIENTS (this line highlighted in the upper-right corner of the image above), but no hint as to which of the ingredients (one? more than one? all?) is bioengineered.
Snickers and the phrase online turned up an article from 2015 (GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SUGAR IS A TRICK, NOT A TREAT) that suggests the GMO ingredient (or one of them, at any rate) in these confections may be sugar from “Roundup Ready” sugar beets. Those beet crops get sprayed with the glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup and the U.S. EPA cranked up the permissible upper limit for glyphosate residues on U.S. sugar beets by a lot. The eminently-reasonable implication would be that the sugar produced from such beets is possibly contaminated with glyphosates.