Sunday, June 17, 2007

Skittles from the UK

Fruits SkittlesI was interested in what the UK version of Skittles were like compared to the American Skittles for two reasons. The first is that they don’t use gelatin in them. This means that vegetarians are free to enjoy, but I wasn’t sure what difference it would make in the texture. The second is that UK Skittles aren’t fortified with vitamin C. Did you know that a pack of American Skittles has half our daily RDA?

My friends Bronwen & Jay just returned from Europe and brought this super-sized tub of Skittles for me.

So, how different are Euro-Skittles? First, remember that Skittles were first introduced in Europe, so if anything, we’ve corrupted them with our gelatin.

I got some American Skittles and did a side by side.

Fruits SkittlesIt was pretty obvious that the colors aren’t quite the same. The Euro-Skittles are bit dull in comparison, in color and shine. The American Skittles are on the left and the UK sourced ones on the right.

The flavors are the same until you get to purple, which is Black Currant in the UK, grape in the US.

The textures are different. American Skittles are firm, have a pretty crispy shell and long chew that’s a little grainy and then descends back into a grainy sugary mess before dissolving.

UK Skittles are soft and have what feels like a thinner shell. The flavor seems a bit brighter on the citrus ones, especially the lemon that tastes rather like fresh lemon juice.

I’ve never been overly fond of the American Grape Skittle, I eat it, but it’s way down there at the bottom, right after Lime. So I was intrigued by the Black Currant at first. If anything, the whole tub smells like Black Currant (whereas I find American Skittles smell like Strawberry). What I found out is this ... I don’t like Black Currant Skittles. In fact, I might not like Black Currant as a flavor much at all.

I did a little reading on Black Currant, because it seems like a rather traditional British flavor and found that it’s one of the few fruits grown in the UK with high levels of Vitamin C, during WWII it was the only reliable local source. On this side of the pond, Currant cultivation was banned because the plants were encouraging the spread of a disease of pine trees needed for the lumber industry. So as they fell out of the American diet, they were practically forced down the throats of the UK kiddies. (See Wikipedia.)

American Skittles…..................UK Skittles
Corn Syrup….........................Glucose Syrup
Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil….......Fruit Juices (5.1%)
Apple Juice from Concentrate….......Hydrogenated Vegetable Fat
Citric Acid…........................Citric Acid & Trisodium Citrate
Natural & Artificial Flavors…........Maltodextrin
Gelatin…...........................Flavorings & Colorings
Modified Food Starch…...............Glazing Agents
Colorings…..........................Vegetable Oil
Ascorbic Acid

My dislike of Black Currant Skittles certainly wouldn’t dissuade me from eating Skittles in England or anything. The differences between the two, besides that flavor, are marginal at best. The good thing is that I have a huge tub of them.

Even though they have no gelatin, they’re not Kosher or Hallal.

Related Candies

  1. Skittles Chocolate Mix
  2. Skittles Carnival Flavors
  3. Skittles (Fruits, Wild Berry, Tropical, Smoothies & Sour)
  4. Skittles Fresh Mint
  5. Skittles Ice Cream
Name: Fruits Skittles
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: gift (thanks Jay & Bronwen!)
Price: unknown
Size: 900 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Chew, United Kingdom, Mars

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:53 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. > It was pretty obvious that the colors aren?t quite the same. The Euro-Skittles are bit dull in comparison, in color and shine.

    The same is true for Haribo gummy bears, incidentally. The ones you buy here are much “louder” in color than those you get in Germany.

    Comment by Elke Sisco on 6/17/07 at 1:51 pm #
  2. Oh my God! I never knew they had black currant Skittles! It’s one of my favorite flavors and I’m in a constant state of envy for Brits and Europeans that they get it so often (same goes for muscat and Japan). I really dislike the American grape flavor and I hate black liquorice, too. It seems like in mixed candy, in Britain what would be grape or liquorice here is always black currant. Lucky bastards.

    Comment by Grace on 6/17/07 at 2:02 pm #
  3. I’m with Grace—I ADORE black currant.  In the UK you can get whole delicious rolls of black-currant gumdrops (and black currant ice cream and juice [aka Ribena] and and and…)

    So, given that you don’t like the flavor, how does it compare to the grape Skittle, given that you don’t care for it much either?

    Comment by good enough cook on 6/17/07 at 4:21 pm #
  4. 1) The blackcurrant Skittles suck, and are the worst flavour in the pack.
    2) Where on earth did you get that box from? We don’t have those in the UK! Also the colours suck, they look nothing like the UK ones, so I get the feeling you’ve been duped, Cybele.

    Maybe I should review Skittles and show you what they really are…

    Comment by Terry on 6/17/07 at 8:25 pm #
  5. So THAT’S why the Skittles taste so funny here in Germany.  I didn’t really pay attention and just wrote it off as one more reason to be homesick for the U.S.

    Comment by Nance on 6/17/07 at 10:04 pm #
  6. Interesting. I have never really thought about how skittles were introduced.

    Comment by Alyssa on 6/18/07 at 8:16 am #
  7. I really liked the grape Skittle flavour. In Australia it used to be grape when I was a kid but then someone decided to change it to blackcurrant. I really am not a fan I wish they would change it back. The lime flavour too!

    Comment by leigh on 6/18/07 at 11:11 am #
  8. I love Black Currant! I only recently tried it. my fiance is from the UK and had me try Ribena (we have found many English things at Harris teeter’s grocery store).

    Anyway, I want some of those skittles! =)

    Comment by Divalicious on 6/18/07 at 1:12 pm #
  9. save those blackcurrant skittles for me! i will totally trade you for fuji apple mentos.

    Comment by santos. on 6/18/07 at 6:01 pm #
  10. Cybele's avatar

    Elke - I hear it’s the Spanish-made Haribo bears that are really bland. Someday I’ll get a hold of a mess of them and do a comparison.

    Grace - see, we’d be best friends because we’d always be able to share a bag of jelly beans or skittles without quarreling!

    good enough cook - I think I prefer the grape ones, but it could be that I’m just accustomed to grape as a flavor. I’ve also been eating a tube of Fruitips, which are little sugar coated jellies ... they also have currant ones and I’ve been picking those out. There’s something rather dark and musky about them, like the chalky stuff at the bottom of grape juice.

    Terry - as I said, my friends brought them back from Europe, they were Amsterdam and bought them at the Duty Free shop, the label says they were made in the UK. I can hardly feel duped when something is a gift. Please, post about Skittles!

    Nance - As Leigh mentioned, the Australian ones don’t even have lime ones, they’re green apple ... plus black currant. That must really throw Americans for a loop ... they look the same.

    Alyssa - Mars also introduced Starburst first in Europe (also gelatin free there, I need to get a hold of those too).

    leigh - do you guys have the other flavors, like Tropical or Wild Berry?

    Divalicious - they also make Cassis Mentos in Japan ... I want to try them, but I’m afraid I won’t like them.

    Santos - ooh, more mentos! You’ve got a deal ... especially if you can find any other citrus ones (or the Pineapple ones from Japan). I’ll save the rest of the tub for you!

    Comment by Cybele on 6/19/07 at 8:59 am #
  11. i’ll be there in july, be ready for a mentos bonanza!

    Comment by santos. on 6/20/07 at 3:50 am #
  12. When I went to London last year fro work I was instructed by my sister and then sister-in-law to bring back Skittles because they are kosher there.  Didn’t knwo why until now - the no gelatin thing.  Didn’t have any so I have no idea how they tasted.

    Comment by Brian on 6/28/07 at 10:22 am #
  13. >Even though they have no gelatin, they?re not
    Kosher or Hallal.

    Why are the Skittles not considered halal even though they are gelatin free?

    Comment by Khan on 7/26/07 at 11:27 am #
  14. Cybele's avatar

    Khan - the package does not state that they’re Kosher or Hallal certified. I believe that factories need to be inspected to assure not only that the ingredients follow the religious laws but also that the equipment is not used for other purposes (I know Kosher doesn’t allow mixing of equipment that may process dairy with meat). I don’t know the specific requirements for Hallal, I just know that they don’t eat pork products.

    Comment by Cybele on 7/27/07 at 9:06 am #
  15. I didn’t even know that there was a difference from where the skittle came from.

    Comment by Analia on 6/03/08 at 3:33 am #
  16. Where can you buy European Skittles in the US? Or did you get them shipped? I only ask because my girlfriend used to love the wild berry skittles, but then she went vegan and found out that her favorite candy has gelatin in it, so she’s quite bummed and i want to make her happy smile so if you could help me out, that would be fantastic!! Thanks smile

    Comment by Alex on 7/10/08 at 12:41 pm #
  17. I understand that skittles are not kosher certified. I contacted and they said that it wasn’t kosher.

    Comment by John on 8/28/08 at 1:07 pm #
  18. Cybele's avatar

    John - yes, I made a note up there in the review that these are not Kosher, but thanks for checking.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/28/08 at 1:12 pm #
  19. Hey where can I buy European Skittles without going to Europe?

    Comment by Kathleen on 11/03/08 at 11:44 am #
  20. Dude.. U guys need 2 get a life seriously

    Comment by I like skittles on 3/30/09 at 4:24 am #
  21. Cybele's avatar

    “I like skittles” - I like my life very much, thank you. I’m not sure how much I would enjoy a life that involves going around the internet and judging that other people’s pursuits & passions aren’t worthy. That doesn’t sound like much of a life.

    Comment by Cybele on 3/30/09 at 4:28 am #
  22. I’m mad at myself because I should of gotten some in the mexico airport!

    Comment by Riel on 4/26/09 at 4:06 pm #
  23. We have Skittles Crazy Sours in the UK too and from reading this blog they are different to the Sour Skittles you have in America as they do not have any fizz on them just a sour taste, they are really nice you should try them.

    Comment by Charlotte on 7/04/10 at 9:08 am #
  24. Are these colored with Red #40? The ingredients scored points with me, as well as the wasy you described the texture (I don’t really like the shell, so less of it sounds good!), and black currant sounds better than grape!

    Comment by Deirdre on 11/11/11 at 1:36 pm #
  25. They’re not even vegetarian in the UK any more, as the red colour is E120, cochineal, carmine, crushed bugs.

    Ho hum. This would explain the refusal of the other religious certifications, even though the UK ones have no gelatine.

    Comment by Piro on 12/05/11 at 2:05 am #
  26. I am from the U.K. and while it may be a cultural thing, BLACKCURRANT is one of the most DELICIOUS flavours I have ever experienced. Moreover, most children love ribena, which is a blackcurrant drink.

    I have never liked the grape flavour when I’ve been in the States. It varies from candy to candy, but at times it tastes artificial to the point of almost being medicinal. Bleh.

    Also: Blackcurrant Starbursts.

    Comment by Anaxamander on 12/05/11 at 7:37 pm #
  27. Hi,
    Do you have any candies from Europe that have the warning label on the box about kids and hyperactivity? I am looking for a photo of that for a blog I’m doing on artificial colors and ADHD. The warning labels were mandated around 2010 I believe. Thanks for any help you can offer.

    Comment by Linda on 2/18/13 at 8:13 am #
  28. I’m Aussie but I’ve lived in Europe and the UK, and now I’m in the US. My biggest pregnancy craving was skittles- they’re sugary and I want them all the time, but the American skittles just make me feel sick. They’re so brightly coloured and they taste sickly sweet and fake. The grape is the worst flavour, it’s gross, but my favourite used to be blackcurrent. I also Reyes the American tropical ones but they were horrible as well. I couldn’t stand the punch ones- bleah!

    Comment by Cleo on 10/21/13 at 2:10 pm #
  29. Black currant is to die for! The grape is not as good as the true black currant. Oh, how I adore black currant! The pinky ones are just one molecule away from generic armpit, trust me. Oh, I’ll still eat them, just saying.

    Comment by Toothless on 9/24/14 at 5:54 am #
  30. It’s blackcurrant not black currant. It’s one word.

    Comment by Al on 6/14/15 at 1:10 am #
  31. Im from London, but I just came back from the states.

    Wow US sweets have so many artificial colours. I noticed the M&M’s and Skittles were full of them.

    In the UK/EU, they have removed all of these artificial colours from our sweets and replaced them with natural ones.

    So the England Skittles are healthier and contain fruit juice!

    Comment by LondonBoy on 12/05/16 at 9:37 am #
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