Product review

  • Nestlé's 'Passions' mix bag features miniature versions of several of its most popular chocolate bars, including Bar-One, Rolo, Peppermint Crisp, and Tex.
  • But the assortment of each type is anything but equal - and amazingly consistent.
  • We sorted through hundreds of miniature bars to find out which were the most common - and which bars were the rarest finds.
  • You can relax if you love your Bar-Ones in bite-size, but if you're seeking out a mini-Peppermint Crisp or Rolo, best you're first to the bag.
  • For more stories go to BusinessInsider.co.za

Nestlé is one of the biggest food companies in the world - and they're a dominant player in the chocolate bar market in South Africa. 

The brand sells at least eight different full-size chocolate bar varieties, including Kit Kat, Bar-One, Aero, Tex, Smarties, Milkybar, Peppermint Crisp, and Rolo. They currently include tiny versions of five of these in a mixed bag they call Passions - plus something called Crispy Wafer, which appears to be an off-brand Kit Kat.

Each bag of Passions contains a 300g assortment of each of these chocolate types, and costs between R90 and R110 each. They're a particular hit at this time of the year, as families wrestle to get hold of their favourites. But although the emphasis on the bag seems to be that you're in for a lucky dip selection with each purchase, the truth is far harsher. 

To find out if the bags offer an equal mix of the options advertised, Business Insider South Africa analysed 1.5 kilograms of Nestle Passions - and found that the selection is anything but equal or random. 

Certain chocolate bars in the Passions bags we checked appear consistently in far greater quantities than others, which means if you or your family has a favourite that happens to be among the rarer finds, then being first to a new bag is crucial.

This is not unusual in mixed bags like these. According to industrial engineer Gabriel Roodt, companies like Nestlé invest a significant amount in determining the mix of these bags - and the final balance is usually the result of several factors, including economics and marketing.

"There's certainly a cost factor, and they price it per bag," Roodt told Business Insider. "They factor in how many of the cheapest and most expensive varieties to include, and they'll make the bag up like that."

Roodt says companies will often include a small selection of the most popular or expensive chocolates to manufacture to draw in sales - and possibly get repeat sales as fans of the rarer finds buy more to get their fix. 

Rather than exclude an expensive variety altogether, Roodt says some companies might include one or two of the most expensive chocolates to appeal to the consumer base because consumers often expect these.

Much of the mix is also down to customer feedback, and brands will often trial certain varieties and test the market sentiment. For this reason, it's not uncommon to see the products included in bags changing regularly - either because some brands are going out of favour or to draw in sales from those interested in trying a new miniature version of their favourite chocolate.

All of this means that if you're hoping to see a drastic variation between bags, you're out of luck - Roodt says companies determine these bag makeups months in advance and programme machines to distribute varieties automatically.

Most and least common types

Business Insider SA laid out five bags of Passions, which weighed a total of 1.5kg and contained a combined total of 197 units. Each bag had 39 or 40 units each and consistently met the 300g weight advertised. 

Nestlé’s latest Passions bags feature Bar-One, Tex, Crispy Wafer, Peppermint Crisp, Milkybar, and Rolo - and an audit of how many appear in a single bag reveals that the company has settled on a reasonably consistent bag makeup.

The most popular miniature chocolate bar that appeared in Business Insider SA's count is Bar-One. There were an average of 11.8 Bar-Ones per bag - almost four times as many Peppermint Crisp and Rolos. These two varieties languish at the bottom of the log - with an average of just 3.2 and 3.8 per bag.

The middle rankings are shared almost evenly by Crispy Wafer, Milky Bar, and Tex, which appeared between 5.8 and 8 times per bag.

Across all the bags we checked, more than a quarter of the chocolates were Bar-Ones, whereas less than 10% were Peppermint Crisps. 

Each bag's variety was pretty consistent - the most significant variation for any type was just two units. All of which means poking around at a bag trying to peer through the translucent window before you pay up is unlikely to deliver results drastically different to the below.

Here's how many of each chocolate type we found in our dissection of Passions in 2021:

Count of mini chocolate bars in Nestle Passions ba
Count of mini chocolate bars in Nestle Passions bag

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