I Gets All Sciency

This is the scenario I was confronted with in the local supermarket – same brand, same packaging, different names. After years of wondering I decided to find out what it was all about.

“Honey,” I called out from the kitchen where I’d just found an opened box of biscuits in the pantry. An important box of biscuits I’d bought for a very specific purpose. “Did you eat the Savoy? I was saving them for scientific study!”

From where she was languishing on our bed farming, my wife assured me she hadn’t touched them. It must be said, she didn’t sound as concerned as me.

So okay, if it wasn’t her…I decided to try again.

Despite my shout out to Tracey being loud enough for the entire household to hear my question, naturally no one volunteered any information because, unless you specifically use their names or it can get a sibling in the shit, no one hears anything.

Yelling my children’s names out in descending order, I threw my question in on the end and waited. Moments later a small head popped into the kitchen. Just a head. She mustn’t have been expecting to stay long because she left the rest of her body as close to the lounge room as possible.

“I opened them,” Miss8 confessed before ducking away. I thought maybe she sensed how much trouble she was in. Then she added through a wall, “But Mummy said I could!”

Tracey assured me, from the other room, she’d said nothing of the sort.

“Yes, you did!” said Miss8, yelling from somewhere in front of the telly. “I said I was hungry and you said I could grab whatever I want out of the pantry!”

“I believe that’s checkmate,” I chuckled, although no one heard because I was the only person in the kitchen.

Still, I had a full box of Jatz and most of the Savoy, so it was time to conduct my little experiment.

Although the packaging is identical – save for the words Jatz and Savoy – according to the ingredients the big difference is Savoy has golden syrup. When I posted the above photo on Instagram and Facebook there were a lot of opinions. People were saying Jatz are stale (surely that’s Clix) and Savoy are tasteless (that’d be those things they used to give us in church). It all reminded me of people mouthing off opposing football State of Origin teams.

There were even stories of relatives being used as biscuit mules, bringing suitcases full of contraband crackers over boarders.

It’s serious stuff. Worthy, I thought, of further attention by Team Devereaux.

Although initially not everyone on Team Devereaux saw the merit of giving up their screen times.

“Can it wait until I get to a save point?” asked Master10.

Much to my kids’ disgust, I prised them away from the telly, iPads, iPods, Gameboys and laptops, and forced them to gather on the balcony. I explained their sacrifice would be helping advance the pool of human knowledge – which didn’t go down half as well as when I explained they could have one biscuit from each box so long as they told me which one they preferred.

While they munched I did the same.

Now I confess I wasn’t expecting much from the Savoy box. I’ve grown up with Jatz. I like Jatz for the same reason I like the original Premium – because they’re hard, crunchy and salty. So you might imagine my surprise when I discovered Savoy are harder, crunchier and much saltier than Jatz.

“What do you think?” I asked the kids.

“I think,” said Master10, “that I’ll need a couple more biscuits to confirm my findings.”

The other four kids quickly agreed he was right.

After a series of taste tests, I finally insisted on some results from around the table. Four liked Jatz best and only one was won over to Savoy – Miss8, who’d been crunching on them earlier.

Even Tracey came out at one point and gave them both a try. Her take on things?

“I prefer the Jatz,” she said. “They’re sweeter.”

So case closed, yes? That’s the end of it. Four out of five kids, plus their mother, prefer Jatz over Savoy.

Only here’s the thing – what the kids said and what I saw as they continued to burrow towards the bottom of the boxes were totally at odds. Not only were more hands diving into the Savoy box now the test was over, Miss3 actually stole the Savoy biscuits and raced off.

Despite my kids assurances they preferred the sweeter Jatz over the saltier Savoy, I put to you they only prefer to say they like what they’re familiar with but once their tastebuds took over they went intuitively for what they actually preferred.

So at the conclusion of my very scientific and grant worthy study I have to say, I can totally understand why someone coming north from Victoria would lament over a Savoy while biting into a Jatz. But sadly, I don’t think I’d feel as nostalgic the other way around.

And, on the bright side, I think I’ve interested at least one of my kids in the sciences.

“Can we compare some more food tomorrow?” Master10 asked me as he ran off with his head buried in his Gameboy thingame again. “I like experiments. They’re tasty.”

The seriousness on Miss6’s face in a fair indication they’re reaching the bottom of the box. Also, note two hands in Savoy, one in Jatz. Interesting, don’t you think?
Miss3 preparing her great escape with the last of the Savoy – her second favourite biscuit. Apparently.

Any other taste comparisons you think we should conduct, let me and Master10 know

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”

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  • Next challenge: vegemite vs the dick smith branded equivalent or marmite; and devondale and Kraft cheese slices (the plastic wrapped jobs – my kids will not touch the devondale ones… I have no idea why, I prefer them!) …

  • This is why my NSW friend sends me care packages of NSW Gingernuts, whilst I send QLD ones to her…. And guess what – I win on postage, NSW ones cost more than the lighter QLD ones! Having said that, I probably lose on dentistry as NSW one’s are teeth cracking hard. As much as I like your familiarity science, there is no packaging or labelling differences with my choice of Arnotts delicacy, so thinking another experiment may be warranted 🙂

  • I have to know what exactly Tracey was farming on the bed. Bed bugs? Sleepy sheep? Your typos are sometimes more funny than your posts. I’m going to assume you meant to say “languishing on the bed farting” lol. Also regarding the gingernut biscuits mentioned in comment below, I asked Arnotts a few years ago and it is essentially due to their perception of regional preference and heritage recipes. I send NSW ones to my mum in VIC. Keep up the good science!

  • I have never tried Savoy ever! I can’t even remember seeing them anywhere on the shelves here. I might have just not bothered looking properly, to be fair.
    Thank you for your sciencey experiment – educating the masses on the important stuff! 😉

  • Alice – I’m guessing Tracey was playing Farmville or something similar online.

    I’ve always wondered about Jatz/Savoy too, being a Jatz girl I’ve never actually bought Savoy. I’m gonna try the experiment and let you know 😀

  • I received an answer back from the Arnotts people regarding the similar packaging:

    Hi Bruce,

    They’re essentially the same biscuit with slight recipe variations so all but the most discerning cracker-eater would not notice the difference between the two. Having the packaging the same helps people recognise their biscuit when interstate or at a retailer which stocks the other, while the change in name lets them know the biscuit is not exactly the same.

    There’s also a cost benefit in using the same size and shape boxes (which helps with manufacturing systems, transport and shelf packing).

    Thanks for getting in touch,

  • Please repeat the experiment on Clix and Ritz. Both are salty and sweet and one is crumbly. U may have to go to Woolies and Coles to get them (or even ALDI). My mum buys them for the kids all the time. They are a world away from the Jatz, which is of course the only craker to have with cheddar. Clix and Rix suit Kraft cupboard cheese, which you must grate directly on your Clix or Ritz and limit yourself to 2. After school treat everyday at friends house. I think we would eat 8 each, and have so much fun watching the fake block of cheddar cheese dangle down as delicious cheesy decoration.

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