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Monday, May 4, 2015

Yes, we can

Friday, June 10, 2011

My son has been buying frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the grocery store. I am hooked on the stupid things and I now have to hide them in the downstairs freezer behind the Healthy Choice dinners. If my wife finds out what I have been paying for this rip-off, she may never microwave anything good for me again.

Now, another innovation has hit the shelves: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a can. It's called a Candwich, a product name that was tested with thousands of potential consumers and produced the fewest number of people sticking their forefingers in their mouths, pretending to gag.

Mark Kirkland from Utah is the creator of this idea. He claims that one day he was eating a cookie and chugging a Coke and when he put his hands together, it suddenly dawned on him that you could put peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a can. Say what? Sorry, I don't think this has quite the lasting charm of the story of Sir Isaac Newton and the apple.

So instead of buying a ready-made peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a vending machine, or purchasing the separate items in a supermarket, Kirkland puts all the stuff in a portable kit and charges four times as much money. Consumers are also unhappy to discover that--like their new deck chair--some assembly is required. And there are no instructions included.

Inside the container is a hot-dog-like bun wrapped in cellophane. Next to it is one squeezable packet of jelly and one of peanut butter. Dispensing ketchup and mustard this way has always been a hassle, so why not try it again with the world's two slowest moving foods?

Included is a utensil for easy spreading. Sales for Candwich have been brisk, but not without some drawbacks. Prisons and airlines will not offer the product to their diners. "We're not sure why," said one of the company investors, "but we think it might be because there's a knife in the can." There is also a piece of taffy for dessert, an ill-advised choice because along with the peanut butter embedded in your palette, the company has pretty much eliminated any chance of word-of-mouth publicity.

Busy parents looking for an easy lunch for the kids applaud this meal in a can, although some are concerned that their six-year-olds might not be able to negotiate the pull-tab. "But I think they'll figure it out," said one mom, "and it will be a good learning experience for when they start drinking beer."

And there's a new treat soon to be launched, a BBQ Chicken sandwich in a can. Why chicken? Well one day Mark Kirkland had a piece of KFC in one hand and a...never mind, you get the idea.

Americans may soon buy sandwiches pretty much the same way they purchase Quaker State Motor Oil. Kirkland says there is no limit to where he may go with future product development. Pizza in a Can and Thanksgiving Dinner in a Can are both on the table--not that you really need a table to enjoy the contents. Of course, when you ask true food lovers what Mark should consider canning next, there's a unanimous response: How about the entire concept?