|Who’s ready for a gummi-off?!
I ardently believe that Haribo Gold-Bears are indeed the gold standard of gummis. Kids and grown-ups love it so! Recently my world was rocked when I discovered a new variety: Haribo Juicy Gold-Bears. Amazing! I decided this new gummi varietal deserved serious investigation and evaluation against the original. To the tasting room! I enlisted a few friends to help.
|The contenders: juicy vs classic.
Lover of sugar, Wenjun has an infamous sweet tooth. In her office, co-workers consult her for what candies to purchase for their candy bowls because they know she’ll be the one eating most of it. She likes the sweeter the better, including artificial sweeteners and pixy stix, but hates salty-sweet combos. She digs ice cream, but not cake.
Top 3 go-to candies: Nerds, Hershey’s chocolate, Airheads
Erin loves flavor in her sweets! Fruit candies should taste like fruit and chocolate should be dark and complex. She adores gummi bears, but laments that many only taste like sugar and gelatin. Her favorite by far is Haribo Gold-Bears, as is evident by her administering this taste test. (It’s serious business!) She gets a little hankering to eat sweets at night.
Top 3 go-to candies: Haribo Gold-Bears, Skittles, other Haribo gummis!
Not an avid candy-eater, Joan prefers subtle sweetness and natural flavors. Her favorite fruit flavored candies are Jelly Belly jelly beans because they taste like an actual thing! Joan enjoys the mix of salty and sweet, favoring chocolate with caramel, nuts, or pretzels. She also likes a mix of soft and crunchy textures.
Top 3 go-to candies: Twix, Ferrero Roche, green tea hard candies
Step 1: Separate both bags by flavor into tasting groups with one of each flavor. The classics were easy to sort but juicy was another story; so many of flavors appear VERY similar in color. We had particular difficulty telling the difference between peach, pear, and lime but after much deliberation nailed it.
|Hard at work, sorting juicies.
Step 2: Head-to-head blind taste test for the only overlapping flavor between the two varieties, raspberry vs raspberry.
Step 3: Alternating non-blind tasting for other flavors, all unique. Used chilled water for pallet cleansing.
Step 4: Non-taste evaluation. How do ingredients, nutrition facts, and price compare?
We began with a blind head-to-head taste test of raspberry, the only flavor classic and juicy have in common. One by one we each blindly tasted both raspberries in randomized order. All had the same tasting notes: juicy was more pronounced and tart, while classic was milder and chewier. All correctly identified which was juicy and which was classic. Joan and Erin preferred the strong tang of juicy; Wenjun preferred classic.
|Let the tasting begin!
Photo courtesy of “oh Joan…” 😛
The remaining flavors (JUICY: black currant, peach, pear, apple lime; CLASSIC: strawberry, pineapple, orange, lemon) were tasted with open eyes, alternating between juicy and classic.
Classic pineapple, strawberry, and orange were all categorized as having a sweet and light flavor. Lemon was the strongest of the remaining classics, and was the favorite when pitted head-to-head against the similar citrus juicy lime. The juicies had more flavor in general and were longer-lasting in taste. Black currant was particularly strong and divisive, which Wenjun found far too tart but Erin quite enjoyed. Joan was had high hopes for pear but was disappointed, experiencing a bad aftertaste. Wenjun preferred the milder pear and apple, while Erin and Joan preferred grape-y black currant, zesty lime, and tangy peach.
Preferences were remarkably consistent, with juicy more flavorful (preferred by Erin and Joan) and classic sweeter and subtler (preferred by Wenjun).
INGREDIENTS AND NUTRITION
Juicy is billed as more natural: “NEW! Contains more than 20% of fruit juice” and “no artificial colors”. The top two ingredients are the same for both: corn syrup and sugar. Further down the ingredient list, both have the same mix of gelatin, citric acid, corn starch, fractionated coconut coil, carnauba wax, and beeswax coating for that signature Haribo sheen and chewiness.
But from there they diverge. As ingredient #3 for juicy is fruit juice concentrates (raspberry, peach, pear, black currant, apple, lime) for primary flavor and are also indeed additionally naturally colored/flavored with other plant concentrates (lemon, orange, apple, kiwi, elderberry, black currant, aronia, red grape, passion fruit, mango, spinach, nettle). Classic contains none of these, instead relying on natural and artificial flavors and artificial coloring agents Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1.
Serving sizes are comparable (classic 39g, juicy 38g) and both had nearly identical calorie and carb counts, but classic had 16.7% more sugar (21g vs 18g) per serving.
Classic is more brightly colored. Juicy colors are more muted, but Wenjun (the aesthetic designer of our bunch) found them more visually appealing.
|Flavors defined left to right.
TOP, classic: pineapple, orange, raspberry, strawberry, lemon
BOTTOM, juicy: black currant, peach, pear, raspberry, apple, lime
Photo courtesy of “oh Joan…” 😛
Classic is slightly more hard-chewy, but both have a pleasingly toothy texture.
Note: Gummis can get harder with time, but the packages I purchased were comparable in age (juicy had a best by date of June 2014, and classic by Sept 2014), so we determined age should not be a differentiating factor.
Juicy are 25% more expensive per gummi. The two packages are sold at the same price (usually between $1.50-$1.99/bag) but classic 5oz/142g and juicy is 4oz/113g.
Juicy: 48 gummis @ $1.99 = 4.15 cents per gummi
Classic: 60 gummis @ $1.99 = 3.32 cents per gummi
FINAL EVALUATION AND CONCLUSION
The two varieties are most definitely different! All judges could easily differentiate between juicy and classic. Overall, Erin and Joan preferred the stronger flavors of juicy, while Wenjun preferred the milder sweetness of classic.
After our “official” taste test, we sat around chatting at our girly slumber party and eating gummis like one would normally. In an uncontrolled environment, I discovered how much more I really enjoyed the juicy gummis; when given a choice I favored them strongly. Perhaps another reason is because I eat classic frequently so enjoy a change that is still a riff on a favorite.
My recommendation is classics are fabulous of course and still my go-to candy, but if you are able do give juicy a try. Classic have a far wider distribution and are easy to find, but juicy is much more unusual. So if you see a package of juicy, pounce!