October 28, 2008
by Elena Langlois
With the pressure to “go green” working its way into all levels of a Canadian consumer’s consciousness, many retailers have been quick to hop onto the bandwagon by selling their so-called “environmentally friendly” reusable bags to shoppers. All too often, alas, these bags carry obnoxiously loud designs that have far more to do with marketing the retailer rather than providing consumers with a tasteful and elegant alternative to disposable plastic–made all the worse by some ridiculous price-tags that run up to five bucks in some cases. Slightly turned off by the notion of paying that much for the privilege of being someone’s walking billboard, I started looking for an alternative to this so-called alternative–culminating in the discovery of HBC’s wonderful new recycled PET shopping bags branded under the Esprit Global/Global Mind label. Selling for a mere $1.75 apiece, these tasteful, classic-black bags come with two looped handles that are strong enough to carry my dry-cleaning, groceries, shoes and whatever else I need to tote around that day. Best of all, the perfectly-sized bags (23x31x31 cm) boast a cleverish design that allows them to fold flat twice until they resemble a book, and then secured with a handy Velcro closure. This built-in collapsibility and instant compactness has really made me a big fan: I already have several of them strategically tucked away wherever I may need them–in the map pockets of my car seats, in my desk at work, in the closet …
Take it from someone who knows a thing or two about candy: Australian Soft Delicious Strawberry Liquorice–manufactured by Australia-based Betta Foods Australia Pty Ltd. and imported here by Morris National Inc.–is 200 grams of low-fat candy heaven! Outwardly, the bag has the look and feel of kraft paper bags reminiscent of the time when I bought ‘penny candy’ as a child at my neighborhood corner store–perfect for licorice connoisseurs used to checking out the product’s quality by gently squeezing the bag to feel out the softness of the texture, which is preserved admirably thanks to the inner airtight silver lining often used in the bags of higher-end potato chips. For licorice lovers on the run, the 40-gram Traditional Liquorice offers a delightful quick fix with a bar of black licorice smothered in milk chocolate and wrapped in thin, single-layer metallized paper. Featuring the same kraft-paper beige color as the bag, the paper wrap is decorated with two colors to provide a graphic representation of the product’s flavors: red for strawberry; blue for black licorice. The only downside may be that fact that the required nutritional information has been shrunk so much as to be nearly illegible, but then again: why ruin the experience by knowing how many calories you’ve just gobbled up?