We don’t exactly put things under a microscope like Dr. William H. Welch, but we do evaluate every product very carefully. Photo courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.
How To Have Your Product Sampled
The First Step to a Product Review
Sending Products For Review
You are welcome to send products for review by THE NIBBLE editorial staff. You can send them to:
15 West 72nd Street
Suite 33G (suite is required for delivery)
New York, NY 10023
Attention: Karen Hochman
If you need a phone number for the packing slip, use 1.212.595.1800.
If your product is fresh (e.g. baked goods) and/or requires refrigeration, please call us in advance to let us know it is coming. It is preferable for fresh baked goods or other products that need to be consumed promptly to arrive on Thursday, when they can be tasted by our Editorial Committee. Otherwise, they will sit here for a week, and not be at peak.
Our Tasting Process
After products arrive, it can take up to eight weeks for them to be tasted depending on the tasting calendar and workload; sometimes it can take longer if we are gathering a particular category of products for a group tasting. Also, we need to give priority to perishables.
- In some situations, we may ask you to send additional product to an outside writer/specialist who will actually write the review; or we may require additional product for photography.
- If you want to find out where you are in the process, the best thing is to send a follow-up email to TheNibble@gmail.com a month or more after shipping.
Will Your Product Be Reviewed...And When
In an industry of more than 125,000 specialty food products, we do our best, but are limited to how much we can review. We have a small staff, and do the best that we can.
- Even if we really like your product, it may not be reviewed at this time. We may find that we have already have too many salsas or barbecue sauces or chocolate chip cookies planned for review; or that while your truffles are excellent, they aren’t different enough to enable us to write a review communicating a unique point of differentiation from other truffles we have written about (or are planning to write about). That doesn’t mean we won’t try to find an opportunity down the road.
- Even if we plan to review your product, we may not be able to tell you when. Publication dates depend on our editorial calendar plus the bandwidth or the right expert to write a specific review. Sometimes we think we will have the resources, and then we don’t. Sometimes, we assign the product to a writer who departs without finishing it. Sometimes we really think it will be published in a specific month, but gets delayed for every reason from unforeseen shuffle of priorities to need to reshoot the photos.
- Sometimes we choose to hold your product review for a particular season or holiday, or plan a special “cookie issue” or “condiment issue” nine months from now. We are also planning additional newsletters, and want to stockpile products for them.
- After the review is published, it generally will remain on the website in perpetuity, and you can link to it from your website. (See We’ve Been Nibbled.)
How Products Are Selected
After a product enters the tasting queue, a team comprising editors and sometimes other tasters review it and decide if it should be recommended at all, and if so, in which section(s).
- For example, a product that happens to be organic and kosher could be approved for Main Nibbles as well as NutriNibbles and Kosher Nibbles, or we could decide to include it in Kosher Nibbles only. Since we seek “the best of the best” in each category, the Main Nibbles slots are the most competitive. There may be products in Diet Nibbles, Kosher Nibbles or NutriNibbles that are “the best of the best” in those niche categories; but in our opinion, there are more outstanding general-audience products for Main Nibbles.
- If we don’t have unanimous agreement but the product has a majority of champions, we can revisit it at a later date. Similarly, we can revisit a product we’ve already recommended, decide there are now products we like better, and replace it.
If We Don’t Review Your Product
- If we choose not to review something, it does not mean that the product is not good. It simply means that of the hundreds of fine products in every category, we need to guide our readers to those that we think are different than what one could find locally—i.e., worth paying shipping charges to obtain.
- A good example is a chocolate chip cookie. You can get a very good chocolate chip cookie in most cities. We could spend years and years trying to review all of the good ones in America. So, before we recommend that our readers spend money to ship in chocolate chip cookies from elsewhere, we need to be convinced that it is somehow different than what they (and we) could buy at home.
- Your product may be the best in its niche, but the niche may not be right for us. We target the foodie rather than the general consumer. While we do occasionally review a kid’s product, children’s foods are not our main focus and, given our limited bandwidth, will take a back seat to products that the majority of our readers might be interested in. But don’t prejudge if we would be interested. We never prejudge, and as a result have reviewed quite a few gluten-free and raw foods, even though these categories are not our sweet spot. We are willing to try anything.
People are understandably disappointed when their product, into which they have invested so much time and love, is not selected. Perhaps they feel their product is better than others that have been reviewed.
The process needs to be seen as a modeling audition. All the models are beautiful; every one of them is worthy of consideration. But there are only a few spots, and the choices are made on the basis of whatever the selection committee feels is best to showcase at that time.
What We Don’t Want To Receive
While we are not judging what America loves to eat, here are categories and product types we do not review:
- Spices and rubs. It is extremely hard to differentiate products in this category; i.e., to explain why one is better than another. Unless a product is new and different—like fennel pollen—we can’t review it.
- Savory products made with sugar. We don’t personally enjoy sugar or other sweetener in our mustard (except for honey mustard, where it belongs), pasta sauce, salad dressing, salsa and other savory foods. The exceptions are barbecue sauce and ketchup, which by definition require some sweetener. But they’ve got to taste of tomato before the sugar comes up. We know that products with sugar are huge sellers; we just don’t like them, either from a flavor standpoint or because they add so much unneeded sugar to our diets.
Top Pick Of The Week Newsletter vs. Online Magazine vs. Blog
Each week, one of our reviews is selected as the “Top Pick Of The Week.” This means that, in addition to appearing in the online magazine like any other review, it is emailed to a list of subscribers; it also has a special “Top Pick Of The Week” design that sets it apart from other reviews.
With only 52 products a year that can be showcased this way, we choose products that are more unusual, that we think people would really be less likely to find at their local specialty food stores, or that support our educational mission. Our goal is not to present the most popular, those that make the best gifts, etc., but the ones that, in our opinion, the most serious food enthusiasts would like to know about.
If we don’t have the time to do a larger article, or if the product is so easy to explain that there’s not much to say about it, it may become a blog post on Blog.TheNibble.com.
If you have additional questions, please use the Contact Us form on this page to send us an e-mail. And, thanks for your interest in THE NIBBLE.
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