Dan Rattiner's Stories

No Nuts in Chock full o’Nuts – Coffee as Confusing as Grape-Nuts

Like many people, when eating breakfast alone, I sometimes read the sides of the cereal boxes. I still wonder how Grape-Nuts could get away with calling itself that. There are no nuts in it, and there are no grapes in it. Somebody at the Food and Drug Administration must have been asleep at the switch. Well, I thought, maybe Grape-Nuts was given an exemption. Maybe they had an “in” with the chief of the Administration.

Then, last week, I was blindsided by the news that Chock full o’Nuts coffee is now putting the words NO NUTS in big letters on the back side of the can. Without any prompting from the government, the owners of Chock full o’Nuts decided to do this on their own. It’s because of some studies they’ve done with consumers around the country. Some people say they won’t buy it because they are suspicious that even if there are no nuts in it, maybe there’s some other ingredient that’s not coffee. They want 100% coffee in the morning, not some hocus pocus.

Interestingly, the Chock full o’Nuts survey didn’t find that people were refusing to buy it because of the design on the can. On this can, Chock full o’Nuts celebrates New York City. The can has traditionally shown a yellow-and-black checker cab border. There’s a view of the New York skyline. Well, the owners did change that when they added No Nuts. Because the marketing people know that everybody wants coffee first thing in the morning, the New York City skyline now appears at dawn, with the lights of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building still on. It’s 5 a.m. or so.

And here’s another reason coffee drinkers didn’t care about the New York label. Coffee has to come from somewhere. Honduras. Guatemala. Time for the farmers in Brooklyn to rise and shine and get out there to tend the coffee groves of Staten Island.

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