Video Review Of All Natural “Unreal Candy”

Sometimes having a dye-sensitive family can make you feel like you’re in a candy desert.  You read dozens of labels and even drive over an hour to stock up on all natural treats so that your kid won’t feel left out at school events and special occasions.  Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Easter cause you anxiety.  You feel like you’ve become that one house that only gave out apples.

And, there are times when I need chocolate, but I’m too tired (or feeling too fat, ironically) to get dressed up for a trip to World Market or Whole Foods.  CVS is more my speed when I don’t wanna be noticed.  Just give me my damn candy, don’t look too closely at my outfit, and don’t ask questions.

No more anxiety!  The internet is alight with comments like “YAY!”, “Woo Hoo!”, and “OMG!!!!” about a new line of all natural candies – and it’s mostly moms and grandparents doing the celebrating. Closets will be cleaned out all across the country in anticipation of a little “Me Time” with a bag of Mommy’s New (cleaner, but equally habit-forming) Little Helper.

The Unreal Candy Story

Unreal Candy was invented by a teen boy who wanted to enjoy some Halloween candy, but his parents felt like it was just too junky.  He decided to create some “unjunked” versions of favorites, and sell them in stores that most anyone can find near home.  These candies are free of artificial ingredients like dyes and flavorings, preservatives, corn syrup, GMOs, and hydrogenated oils.  They’re sweetened with cane sugar and contain actual, real caramel.  There was an in-depth story about this start-up in The Wall Street Journal recently.

All this hubbub is making me consider getting into the stocks game…pretty soon Motley Fool will be sending me urgent messages to get in on “the unreal sweet deal that turned the candy industry on its ear” before it’s too late…!!!

AMERICA!!!

Sorry.

I wanted to see what this modern-day Charlie Bucket had up his sleeve.  Could he usher in a new era of sweet childhood memories, for the children of farmers-market-shopping former Wonka fans?

Our Unreal Taste Test

Serendipitously, I missed a turn today and had to go through a CVS parking lot.  I really didn’t expect them to have the Unreal candy yet, thinking it would be one of those “limited release” things.  As it turned out, I could not have missed them, because their bright packages practically screamed at me, “CANDY!!”  They were looking down at me from the top shelf, above the M&Ms and Reese’s, which I thought was appropriate.

Those bright colors and pictures of vibrant candy on the front totally fooled my daughter.  She walked into the kitchen, spied the pretty bags, pointed her finger, and loudly announced “THAT’S junk!!!!  I can tell it’s junky because it’s so brightly colored!!!” (in an accusing voice, as if her mom all of a sudden just said, “You know what? To heck with this blog mess, I’m tired of reading labels, I give in!”)

So we filmed this video review of five varieties of Unreal candy for anyone who’s interested in how they taste and what ingredients are in each.  We tried the peanut chocolate candies (like peanut M&Ms), plain chocolate candies (like plain M&Ms), the caramel nougat bars (like Milky Way bars), the peanut caramel nougat bars (like Snickers bars), and the peanut butter cups (like Reese’s peanut butter cups).

Sorry for some of the unfocused bits near the end, and for my child’s antics during my unsteady reading of ingredient labels!  We were both just a little excited.

The Unreal Results

My favorite was the candy coated chocolate peanuts, and my daughter loved the caramel nougat bars. There was absolutely no hint of added flavor from the natural colorants, as with Smarties.  My second favorite is the peanut butter cups, but I noted that the chocolate melts a tiny bit faster than Reese’s cups.  But let’s be “real” here…that peanut butter cup never really stood a chance once it was liberated from its pouch.  There is a cool logo stamp on the bottom of each cup.  

The plain candy coated chocolates were sweet like Sixlets, with plenty of rich chocolate M&M-like taste.  The Snickers knock off was to die for.  Honestly, if I were to do a blind-folded test, I probably would never be able to tell the difference between Unreal candy and the standard candies they emulate.  Each bag of candy (ranging from 6.3 oz to 10.7 oz) retails for $4.99 here in Atlanta.

So, watching this, you’re probably wondering if my child was a spaz monkey after wolfing down all that candy (it’s for the Greater Good – just this once).  I’m thrilled to report that she sat perfectly still and quietly, drawing pictures and watching TV for the last hour. No tantrums, no hyperactivity, no meltdowns – just relaxed and groovy.

It’s going to take a lot of will power to make these a “sometimes treat”.  I grew up eating junk without limits, but with my family’s diabetic history and my daughter’s hypoglycemia, I like to keep the sugar intake to a more reasonable amount.  Latest guidelines suggest that’s about 12 grams of added sugars for children per day, 20 grams for women, and 36 grams for men.  It adds up quickly.  

But people will indulge sometimes, so I’m glad we have more choices for how we do just that.  I’ve made my love of candy apparent since the beginning, and this is not a health food review after all.

“Get Unreal”

Go see if your CVS pharmacy, Walgreens, or Michael’s craft store has these, try them, and if you like them – tell the world!  Share your opinion on Facebook, tweet @getunreal and your friends, and offer these at your next shindig.  They’ll soon be available at Kroger, Ralph’s, Target, Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, BJs, Staples, and Food4Less.  

Let’s change our American candy industry with some ingenuity and good old healthy competition.  I totally believe we can spur more companies to go the natural route, just as Nestle UK did this year when they removed all artificial ingredients from their entire line of sweets and beverages – in response to consumer demand.

Note:  I did this impromptu review on my own, without any influence or direction from any company. My opinions are solely my own.  I was not compensated in any way by anyone to do this.

 

 

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