Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa - MPRP (Mince Pie Replacement Programme)

As part of the author's household's Continuous Improvement food diversification and development programme, a decision has been made that Santa's unremitting annual diet of Mince Pies and Sweet Sherry needs significant overhaul and modification. A full strategic review concluded that he must endure an almost unremitting boredom of around a billion separate mince pies in an evening each Christmas Eve, as well as explaining precisely why this makes him the size he is.

My daughter is the Head of Development for the new Santa "Taste Sensation" project and I have taken on the vital role of Chief Testing Guinea Pig as the development programme moves forward.  The project has been under-way for a couple of days now, and the first batch of development prototypes have emerged from the Experimental Workshop's finishing oven. The picture below shows one of the prototypes in its current early stage of proof testing.

Sneak picture of the first development Florentine
It is a Nut free (we have inside knowledge that Santa is not too partial to nuts), Stem Ginger, Sour Cherry and Mixed Peel Florentine on a base of Dark Melted Chocolate. The exact number of early prototypes is classified, but rumours are circulating that a number in excess of 12 are currently in existence. These rumours are difficult to corroborate as subsequent rumours appearing no more than an hour later offer conflicting evidence that the whole batch is no longer in existence.

Details of the early tests results are, of course, highly secret, but a Likileaks report indicates that the taste is sensational. The bite of the sour cherries and the warm buzz of the Stem Ginger mingle together extremely well. The tiny espresso mug, again produced by my daughter, is smaller than 2" in height and gives some scale to the Florentine, as well as holding a perfect accompaniment to it. 

It is expected that very few design and development changes will be needed before Production Volume Approval is given, although a modified design with a larger surface area, capable of holding a significantly increased payload of glace fruit is rumoured to be under consideration. Stress and Cost calculations for this upgrade are underway with a detailed Cost/Benefit Analysis expected shortly. Decisions on the final size and resultant calorie content of the first production version will be made during today, and commitment to volume production is expected very soon, allowing quantity production to be well on stream by December 24th. Inventory channels are being filled and supply chain optimisation for Class A ingredients on a Just in Time/Lean Sourcing basis is almost complete. A local launch programme involving intense house based marketing is thought to be in final development.

Leaks obtained from Secret Plans seen by the author suggest that the first of the fully productionised Florentines will be made available on the night of Christmas Eve as Santa makes his annual visit to Shropshire. These leaks also indicate that the Sweet Sherry accompaniment of previous years will also be phased out and replaced by a small glass of locally sourced Marmalade Vodka.

It is anticipated that this major food development programme will make improve Santa's HQ (Happiness Quotient) by up to 87%, and any idea of him just taking a nibble out of the pie and a sip out of the glass, as was usual in previous years, will become a thing of the past. Evidence of both licking of the plate, and fingers being wiped round the inside of the glass are fully expected as a result of this major product Upgrade. 

A short Situation Report on the early Performance of the Christmas Eve launch may be available soon after Christmas, as well as any proposals for subsequent wider Market roll-out. 

Please note that this information is embargoed until 23.59pm 24th December.

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