Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond

I realized when I started Candy Blog that there was no way I’d ever sample every single candy out there, let alone review them. What’s making it even harder now is that candies that I’ve already reviewed have changed and it hardly seems fair that the reviews here still stand against the present day products.

So, every once in a while I’ll revisit major products that have changed since my original review at least enough to warrant a new taste.

Take 5Hershey’s introduced the Take 5 in 2004 and it quickly became one of my favorite new candies. It combined all the great textures of crunchy pretzels and chewy caramel and creamy chocolate. But that was then, and this is now.

Sometime when I wasn’t looking (I photographed it last summer again) the Hershey’s Take 5 left the list of chocolate candy bars and joined the growing list of Hershey’s Real Mockolate

The package now says: made with chocolate & pretzels & caramel & peanuts & peanut butter. That “made with chocolate” part means that the coating may contain chocolate, but it has other additives such as vegetable oils that mean that it’s not pure chocolate. The actual chocolate as an ingredient comes far down on the list as the number 6 item, after vegetable oils and high fructose corn sweetener and before nonfat milk (you can imagine there’s not that much milk in there).

Take 5

The bars actually still look quite fetching. Little rather rectangular lumps with a pleasant sweet & peanutty scent.

Mine were exceptionally fresh, the pretzel was good and crunchy, a nice salty complement to the sweet coating. The coating didn’t have much flavor but did add a creamy texture.

This one was passably good, but I’ve had others in the past few months (I picked them out of a mix of snack size in a bowl at the office a couple of times) and I didn’t realize why they were kind of empty tasting for what I remembered. I just thought they were stale ... turns out that they’re just not designed to be good any longer.

Hershey’s still has an opportunity to reverse this and make it real chocolate again.

Product: Hershey’s Take 5
Previous Review: 7/13/2005
Change: milk chocolate coating is replaced with a fake chocolate coating (which contains chocolate but also other vegetable oils).
Result: For now they’re off my list but still get a passing rating of 5 out of 10.

Sunkist Fruit GemsSunkist Fruit Gems are made by Jelly Belly these days. An alert reader let me know that the little “single serve” trays are back on store shelves, but instead of holding six fruit jellies, they now only have four.

Worst part of this news? The grapefruit one was missing. (What is it about grapefruit disappearing lately? Is it because of the news that grapefruit juice interacts with some prescription drugs?) This is not to say that the Sunkist Fruit Gems don’t come in grapefruit any longer, just not in this particular package.

Sunkist Fruit GemsThe flavors included now are: Orange, Lemon, Lime and Raspberry. The old package was 2.4 ounces, the new one is only 1.35 ounces.

Seeing how Sunkist is known as a citrus company, the fact that they made an assortment the neglects one of the citrus fruits and includes a berry is beyond me. The package is also similar to the old one and actually includes images of grapefruit (though the text clearly says which flavors are in the package).

The change in manufacturing location and ownership, as far as I’ve been able to tell, has made no difference at all for the actual candy. It’s still a nice, soft and flavorful fruit jelly without too much of a granulated sugar coating.

The only real difference here is that you get only 2/3 as much as you used to. I was hoping when Jelly Belly took over that they’d sell the jellies in individual flavors like they do with their famous jelly beans. No such luck yet. (For now whenever I see the Jelly Belly booth at a trade show I pick a half a dozen grapefruit jellies out of their sample bin and move along.)

Product: Sunkist Fruit Gems
Previous Review: November 15, 2006
Change: New owners (Jelly Belly) and smaller package
Result: I didn’t care much for raspberry or lime, so with such a small package and only two pieces I do like it’s not worth it. 4 out of 10

Mars used to make a bar that was called, appropriately enough, the Mars Bar. That bar was discontinued and reintroduced under the much more famous Snickers umbrella of products as the Snickers Almond.

Snickers Almond

Then something happened, Mars mucked around with it and created the “More Satisfying Snickers Almond” which was really just the Snickers Almond with peanuts thrown in to make up for a lack of, well, almonds. It wasn’t a bad bar, but it wasn’t really distinctive.

Well, the old new Snickers Almond is back. It’s a white lightly sweet & salty nougat with a caramel stripe and whole almonds covered in milk chocolate.

I like the bar (though I prefer the dark chocolate version) and I’m glad they brought it back.

Product: Mars Snickers Almond
Previous Reviews: 12/28/2005 & 8/14/2006
Change: reverting to old recipe (eliminating peanut ingredients from previous version)
Result: A great bar with a long history and I’m glad that it’s back to a more classic formulation so it bumps up a notch. 6 out of 10

Related Candies

  1. Grapefruit Mentos (Japan)
  2. Snickers Rockin’ Nut Road Bar
  3. Head to Head: Twisted vs Take 5
  4. Snickers Almond Dark
  5. Take 5 Peanut Butter

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:09 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewSnickersHershey'sJelly BellyMarsCaramelChocolateCookieKosherMockolateNougatNutsPeanuts4-Benign5-Pleasant6-TemptingUnited StatesRite Aid

  1. Seriously? Mars Bar per se doesn’t exist in the US? How weird?

    Comment by trashalou on 9/02/08 at 10:18 am #
  2. Sera's avatar

    A travesty about the Take 5….

    I also am smitten with the Snickers Almond. I’ve my to-go to when I can’t get a Rockin’ Nut Road.

    Comment by Sera on 9/02/08 at 11:43 am #
  3. I saw a very curious thing in the store the other day… I wish I had my camera with me - but there was a smallish Snickers Bar - looked kind of retro - pinkish-tan wrapper, SNICKERS, and an outlined star on the package. What’s the deal? I guess I should go to Snickers dot com to check it out. I did a double-take…

    Comment by Jenny on 9/02/08 at 11:52 am #
  4. Come to Canada! We’ve got Mars Bars here…I’ll trade you some of my stash for some Yoo-hoo and some Spree?

    Comment by gracie on 9/02/08 at 11:57 am #
  5. Cybele's avatar

    trashalou & gracie - well, the weird thing is that the Mars bar that exists elsewhere (UK, Canada, Australia) is what we have here in the States as the Milky Way - a nougat bar with caramel covered in milk cocolate. The Milky Way you have is what we call a 3 Musketeers (just nougat covered in chocolate). I have no idea why they did that. They’ve slowly started combining their global names (Marathon in UK became Snickers, Raider became Twix, Opal Fruits became Starburst).

    Jenny - I’ve heard about those, here are some other shots from Sera:

    Sera - I never found the full sized dark Snickers Almond. The small was good though.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/02/08 at 12:07 pm #
  6. We don’t have any kind of Milky Way in Canada that I have seen but I do see 3 Musketeers sometimes.  And we used to have a bar called Mars Almond, which was pretty much like the Snickers Almond, except it tasted better…

    Comment by Heather on 9/02/08 at 12:54 pm #
  7. Sadness! I used to love the Take 5

    Comment by Rosa on 9/02/08 at 2:27 pm #
  8. I’m furious about the Take 5.  It’s one of two drugstore candies that I still eat (the other is Reese’s PBC).  All that salt and sweet made it perfect PMS food.  Sadness.

    Comment by Marie on 9/02/08 at 4:18 pm #
  9. We had those retro wrappers as well at our Wal-mart. I believe they were on the Hershey’s plain and almond, snickers, 3 muskateers, whoppers, Reese’s PBC and we had a family size bag of retro packaging M&M;‘s. I thought I’d read somewhere that they were a promotional thing. Like the pink wrappers that are getting ready to come out.

    I’m glad to see that at least Sunkist has kept yellow as lemon and green as lime. I’m so tired of companies changing their flavors to green apple or watermelon. ie…Lifesavors. I say…“Bring back the LIME!” grin

    Comment by gracecarriveau on 9/02/08 at 8:50 pm #
  10. Cool! Thanks for the pictures! OK, so they ARE retro! Thanks for answering my question grin

    Comment by Jenny on 9/02/08 at 11:19 pm #
  11. I have seen individually wrapped Sunkist candies in bulk bins. I always pick out just the citrusy ones.

    Comment by rachel on 9/03/08 at 4:56 am #
  12. bettyfelon's avatar

    I’ve never seen those fruit gems sold anywhere before. I’ve only seen them in fruit baskets

    I always went for the lime ones

    hah which reminds me
    I love lime and strawberry candy but not the actual fruit and I love bananas and pineapples but not their flavors of candy

    Comment by bettyfelon on 9/03/08 at 1:22 pm #
  13. For those with a Trader Joe’s nearby, they sell the fruit gems under their own label, in little plastic tubs.  I believe grapefruit is included in the assortment.

    Comment by Ann on 9/03/08 at 6:20 pm #
  14. Oh yes! Trader Joes fruit gems are awesome, could eat the whole tub ( and yes they do have grapefruit)Deb

    Comment by sweetns on 9/04/08 at 11:31 am #
  15. Hmmm…I never saw the trays of sunkist gems…Just the bags of individually bagged/wrapped ones.  My husband loves them…he says they taste good right after he smokes…to take away the tobacco taste in his mouth.

    Comment by mandy_Reeves on 9/06/08 at 7:13 am #
  16. Has anyone tried the Snickers with the caffeine, taurine, B vitamins yet? I did and it was a weird taste-but I was very alert, whooo- wooooo afterward.
    I could actually converse with my husband while traveling- (I have some kind of car narcolepsy).
    Haven’t been able to find them since….perhaps they
    are in the adults only section??

    Comment by sweetns on 9/06/08 at 8:28 pm #
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