Thorntons II: More Brownie Is More

Brownie Basics

Do you like Thorntons brownie bites in a jar? Then here they are in a bar! Also they don’t come in a jar normally. That’s a reference to a dumb Nutella advert I can’t get out of my head.

See?

Brownie Backstory

I bought this on (basically) a whim when I spotted it in my local supermarket. Wasn’t planning on getting a brownie! I was after some sort of sweet treat admittedly, but thought I had exhausted all the brownie options available in a small Tesco Express. Then I spotted this!

Okay, it’s not that new. You can tell from looking at it that it’s pretty much the same as the fudge brownie bites that Thorntons also stocks supermarkets with. But let’s be fair – I’m three weeks into effective lockdown in London so any level of novelty is pretty exciting for me at this point. Like, last weekend my bedsheets were still drying from the wash. I could have put new bedsheets on, I guess, but instead I went to sleep in the spare bed. You know, so that something exciting would happen that day. Give me a break!

Brownie Points

Taste: Still tastes good. Chocolatey fudgey goodness. 8/10

Texture: This is rich and soft, and impressively the fudge pieces in it are even slightly melty. It avoids the problem that the bites have, of being a little insubstantial due to their size. 8/10

Presentation: It has the same cardboard/plastic dual wrap that basically all the brownie bars do. But I think that’s a bit more excusable in a supermarket brownie. Also, I think it looks good out of the wrapping – look at that neat chocolate coating. 3/5

Value: Fuck. I forgot to look at the price on the shelf in the shop. Fuck. Time to Google.

Ok, I have Googled this for almost literally an hour now, and the Internet is barely even aware of the existence of this brownie, let alone willing to give me a price. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going (to use a phrase from this comic that is deliciously improper English but which I love nonetheless) to ‘math you some math’ and estimate a price for this brownie. Details are in the footnote at the bottom of this post (hey, it’s been so long since I last did an footnote!) but due to the magic of the Internet, I can tell you now that that estimate came out as £1.

That seems pretty good! I’m not going to, like, try obsessively to compare it to the quantity of (basically the same) brownie in the bites box. I suspect your cost per mass or whatever is ever so slightly higher for this one. But like, I think walking into a supermarket and grabbing a snack like this for £1 is pretty great. 8/10

Fudge Factor: This brownie does indeed have fudge in it. It was a nice surprise brownie and the global pandemic has minded me to be generous in all things, even (a little bit) brownie scoring. 2/5

Set The Bar At: 29

Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?

This scores just higher than the Thorntons pack of brownie bites. Should you exclusively buy and eat this over those? Well, no, obviously not. But if you just want to grab a brownie as a quick snack from Tesco, this currently seems like the best option. Treat yourself!

Closing Thoughts

It’s scary how quickly this life has become the new normal, and it’s becoming hard to remember what anything else was like.

Footnote: Mathing The Math

Generally speaking, the total price T of a shopping basket which contains n items is given by the sum of all prices. If I know (n – 1) of these prices, and I know T, I should be able to work out the remaining price p. And that’s the situation we’re in, where p is the price of this brownie we want to work out

Monzo, plus my mostly functional memory, both tell me that I spent £6.80 so that’s T. I still have basically all the things I bought in my house, and also I went shopping not eight hours ago, so it should be entirely possible to get prices for the (n – 1) other items using the Tesco online website (which seems to work fine still these days, as long as I don’t try to actually buy anything.) Let’s review based on the prices there.

Loaf of super-seeded bread: £1.10
Medium Cheddar (250g, grated): Bah, shit. This already causes some issues as that’s apparently sold out on the Tesco website. But the equivalent bags of mild Cheddar, extra-mature Cheddar and even grated mozzarella are each £1.90 so it seems like a fair assumption that the medium Cheddar would cost the same.
Colman’s Mustard (170g): £1.40
Mars Duo (I can have little a Mars, as a treat): £0.80
Total: £5.20

Since I spent £6.80 in total, this suggests the brownie slice I bought cost £1.60. Does this seem likely? Well, here’s the problem. The Tesco website is also telling me that the box of 10 Thorntons brownie bites is £1 at present, and £1.45 even when they’re not on sale. This brownie slice costing more than that, when it’s generously about the size of… four brownie bites? This seems unlikely. And would have to lead to a reeeeeally low value score if that was the case. It would barely be less than the Pret A Manger brownie, and I would honestly have expected that to be a fair bit more expensive – that’s just to be expected if you compare a sandwich shop with a supermarket.

So what could have gone wrong here? Well… Most likely the prices on the Tesco website do not accurately reflect the cost of those products in a Tesco Express store, because those tend to be jacked up by a few pence. Now this isn’t true for all products, but it’s usually true for store-brand stuff, including the bread and cheese I bought. So I’ve arrived at a mathematical estimate, but can’t trust that estimate based on my sanity check, which in the world of science means only one thing: experiments are needed.

So I popped back to the Tesco and bought another brownie. It costs £1.

I have a PhD in Physics and this is all I do with it these days.

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