An object’s name influences its desirability. This is especially true with food. Languages and dialects play a part too: Grapefruits are delicious, but don’t pamplemousses taste better by dint of sounding beautiful? Who wants cream when you can have crème? And wouldn’t it be more fun to eat a frutilla ("strawberry" in Argentina) than a fresa ("strawberry" in other Spanish-speaking countries)? Herewith, I introduce three of my favorite international finds, on permanent display on my kitchen shelf, that may or may not prove my theory.
To start, let us consider Barfy. Yes, Barfy. This product might be appealing to those who like a blend of soy and beef in patty form, but when I saw it in a freezer case in a Buenos Aires supermarket, “appealing” wasn’t the first reaction I had. I planned to save just the box; my boyfriend, the human InSinkErator, tore open the plastic pack inside and fried up a hot mess of Barfy so it wouldn't go to waste. His verdict: So gnarly as to be inedible, even to him. My takeaway was double: First, “I told you so.” Second, I would forever be able to win a fight with, “Oh, yeah? Well you ate Barfy.”
Which brings us to Kraps. I acquired a case of Kraps at a wholesaler's storefront two years ago in Huaraz, Peru, and distributed packs to lucky acquaintances in the New York metropolitan area. Kraps are simple little Ritz-type crackers, but I guess the name “Ritz” was taken. When I reflect on Kraps, I wonder how thoroughly marketing teams of all nationalities do their research while narrowing down a final name. With Kraps it’s pretty obvious that they went the onomatopoeic route (krunch, krunch, krunch … Kraps!) but it's also apparent that nobody consulted a native English speaker during the process.
Finally, please turn your attention to exhibit C, Kranky. The packet of Kranky shown above was given to me by my mother after a trip she took to Mexico. This is the same lady who bought my brother a box of Boskyglobs cereal in Spain. Of the three snacks discussed here, Kranky -- rather tasty chocolate-covered individual corn flakes -- are the only snack available in the United States (online or in Latin food stores). Jacques Torres makes an outstanding version in gourmet form, but Kranky wins this one because of that little happily contrarian K on the wrapper.
Have you found products with unusual names overseas?