“Biscuits are better than beer, sex, sexy beer and beery sex!” says biscuit maker

May 29th was ‘National Biscuit Day’, If you’re wondering why that’s even a thing – don’t worry, it isn’t. As is almost always the case we these national day/week/month/millenia tales, the whole exercise is nothing more than an excuse to peg product-laden stories into the press under the auspices of topicality. Take this effort, featured in the Daily Express:

Fancy a beer? We’d prefer a biscuit! McVitie’s survey reveals Britain’s love for treats

THE great British biscuit is a vital part of our national lifestyle, a survey reveals.

Most people eat an average of two a day.

And nearly every British household – 99.2 per cent – buys biscuits during the course of a year.

Even young people love a rich tea or a digestive with a cuppa so much that the study of 2,000 people reveals 30 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds prefer a biscuit to a glass of wine or a pint of beer.

Source: Express, 30 May 2014

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Preferring a biscuit over a beer might sound an unlikely choice – although, that said, a real ale doesn’t dunk quite as well as a digestive. Fortunately, the Express’s Nathan Rao (who likely contributed barely a word to this pr-driven story) has the weight of academia behind the claims in his article:

Food scientist Dr Stuart Farrimond said eating biscuits with a cup of tea makes them taste better.

He said: “The science shows us that hot drinks enhance the natural ­flavours of the biscuit because more flavour molecules are released in the mouth when the biscuit is warmed and moistened.

“In Britain, biscuits have a particular cultural significance and are a customary part of the mid-morning tea break.

“Research has shown that of all foods, biscuits and chocolate are among those that trigger the most pleasure and excitement.”

Of course, the bought-in academic isn’t the only talking head in the article – we also hear from the spokesperson for the company who paid for the spurious survey behind this story, and behind National Biscuit Day:

The research by maker McVitie’s found our choice of biscuit changes depending on our mood.

McVitie’s spokesman Sarah Heynen said: “There’s no doubt that we’re a nation of biscuit lovers.

“We know that our biscuits have a surprisingly important place in people’s lives – people relate to them in a very emotional way.”

That said, toppling a tipple wasn’t the most audacious claim McVities made for their fare during National Biscuit Day – that honour goes to the following, in the Mirror:

No sex please – we prefer biscuits! One in six Britons choose a Hobnob over nookie

Research to mark National Biscuit Day on Thursday also found that a quarter of us would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two

Biscuit-mad Brits would give up sex for a packet of their favourite dunking snacks, a study has revealed.

One in six would rather have a Hobnob than nookie and a quarter would give up booze instead of going without a Chocolate Digestive or two.

Source: Mirror, 28 May 2014

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Perhaps fittingly, the Mirror ran their own in-page poll on what their readers would rather do – ‘Have loads of sex’ or ‘Eat loads of biscuits’, with results somewhat crumbling the McVities PR claims:

Poll - Q: What would YOU rather do?  A1: Have loads of sex = 64%; A2: Eat loads of biscuits = 36%.

Still, given the unequivocal nature of the question and the lack of pretence of being representative and bias-free, we can probably place more stock in the Mirror’s straw poll than in McVities’ original opinion survey and ensuing PR campaign.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to dunk a HobNob in a Hobgoblin.