Sunday, September 28, 2008

Interesting User Research Idea

As I was unwrapping a red Starburst (unfortunately Super Target was all out of the California flavors so I had to settle for the original bag), I thought to myself, "Wait, you have two yellows, a pink, and a red. Don't eat the red one first; eat the yellow ones first and save the red for last."

This reminded me of the strategy I typically employ when eating snacks of a mixed variety. I tend to ration the best parts (the almonds in a can of mixed nuts, the red Starburst in an "original flavors" bag, or the shrimp in a bowl of jambalaya) so that I have a disproportionate amount of them towards the end of the eating experience. This got me thinking that it would be interesting to observe how other people approach this "problem." Is my experience typical, or is it peculiar? Even more interesting, are there other areas of life besides snack consumption where one might find similar behavior patterns?

Some quick virtual ethnography reveals what one dissatisfied Starburst consumer chose to do with their yellow and orange Starbursts:

I wonder if the geniuses at Starburst have already figured all this out and have determined the optimum balance of flavors to put in each bag to ensure that consumers get just enough red to keep them wanting more, but just enough yellow to make the red all the more desirable?

Images from here and here.

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