Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wonka Fruit Marvels

Wonka Fruit Marvels TinsNestle is going full-tilt to reinvigorate their stagnant Wonka candy brand. Last year it was gummis (Sluggles, Puckerooms & Sploshberries), this year they revised their chocolate bar line under the new Wonka Exceptionals and now they’re introducing some new sugar candy items to the Exceptionals line. The first is called Fruit Marvels which are vaguely described on the packaging as hard candies with soft centers, delicately sugar dusted. They come in three flavors: White Grape, Pomegranate and Clementine Orange.

There are two formats for the packages. The first is the tins, which hold 1.9 ounces (14 pieces) and retail for $1.99. Though that’s a little expensive, there’s a second more cost effective option which is the 5 ounce box which retails for $2.99 (and you can refill the tin).

Wonka Fruit Marvels - White Grape Packaging

The box is imaginative and quite different from the holographic mylar/plastic of the chocolates. These stand up boxes come in two parts. There’s a tall tab top box with a dizzying purple/lavender design, over that is a sleeve. The sleeve is taped to the box and features little circular cut outs that reveal the patterned box underneath. Like the Wonka Exceptionals Chocolate Pieces, even the UPC code gets Wonka-fied.

Wonka Fruit Marvels - White Grape PackagingInside the box is another package, a long mylar pouch with the candy in it. They’re not marked for the individual flavor, as I discovered later on when I ditched the boxes and carried all three pouches around in a ziploc bag while I was tasting.

The front of the package states Made with Natural Ingredients* and then directs folks to read the list of ingredients to explain the asterisk. Flipping over the box the ingredients are really easy to understand. For the White Grape they were: Dextrose*, Sugar*, Corn Syrup*, Pear Juice Concentrate*, and less than 2% of Modified Corn Starch, Tapioca Dextrin, Natural Flavor*, Tumeric Color, Citric Acid*.

I find this a little confusing ... they’re saying it’s made with natural ingredients, but not saying that all of the ingredients are natural. (So just about all food products would qualify under this “Made with Natural Ingredients” thing.) I appreciate that they’re not saying that highly processed ingredients like modified food starch is natural, but I’d prefer if they just said “made with real fruit juice but no artificial flavors or colors” and left it at that. Both Clementine & Pomegranate have Carmine coloring, which is a natural coloring derived from insects but of course not considered vegetarian/vegan, may be an allergen for some sensitive folks and is not kosher/halal.

Wonka Fruit Marvels Pomegranate Tin

The Pomegranate Fruit Marvels tin is simple. Inside are tucked over a dozen little candies. The tin is about 3.5 inches in diameter and just shy of an inch thick - a little big to tuck in a pocket. There’s a piece of waxed paper cushion on the bottom and on the top. The tin is easy to open and close, but stays closed so I wouldn’t worry so much about this coming open in the bottom of your bag.

They’re about .75 inches in diameter with a sugar sanded coating and soft coloring. The candies are really a puzzle at first. I didn’t understand what they were by the description, but I guess that’s why they called them Marvels.

Wonka Fruit Marvels - Pomegranate

The outside is a hard candy shell, it’s made of dextrose like SweeTarts, but it’s not compressed like other powder candies, instead it’s panned (added as a liquid layer that forms a hardened glaze after many coats). Inside is a firm and flavorful jelly. It’s like a super jelly bean in a way but remember that the shell is very thick.

When I first popped it into my mouth I thought it would be like a Gobstopper, many flavored layers and then a jelly ball in the middle, but it is actually faithful to the scale on the package. I tried sucking on them first. The sugar sanding is rough at first but that dissolves away quickly to the shell. The shell is dextrose (glucose) so it has a slightly cooling effect and it has a kind of thinness to the sweet note instead of the round syrup sweetness of sucrose (sugar). Eventually there’s a little hint of the floral berry flavors of pomegranate. There’s a layer just between the jelly center and the shell that has a little burst of sour.

Wonka Fruit Marvels - PomegranateI pulled quite a few of the candies apart. I found I preferred biting them to letting them dissolve. It’s not advisable to just crunch them up at first until you gain some experience at it, I think letting them warm and dissolve a little helps.

You can see the thickness of the shell here and how it’s dense but kind of crumbly.

The jelly center is complex. It’s smooth and thick, it’s also nicely flavored without being too sweet or tangy. Though I don’t think any candies really capture pomegranate flavor well, these are still an excellent flavor no matter what it’s called. It’s more raspberry to me - floral and jammy.

The sanding isn’t messy, no sticky fingers, but there is a bit of sugar dust in the bottom of the tins or the bags which can get everywhere.

Wonka Fruit Marvels - Clementine Orange

The Clementine Orange Fruit Marvels sounded really good. I love citrus and the less-common oranges often have wonderful notes that make things so much more interesting than just eating spoonfuls of Tang drink mix. Clementines are a tasty little citrus, they’re easy to peel and are usually seedless - they have the tangy profile and juicy taste of a tangerine.

The outside sanded shell doesn’t give much indication of the flavor inside, just a soft orange color.

Wonka Fruit Marvels - Clementine Orange

The flavor is truly like a tangerine. There are bold juice and citric acid notes but there’s also a really good zest component that sets it apart from straight-laced orange. There’s no bitter or lingering orange peel aftertaste though.

The White Grape Fruit Marvels are nearly colorless on the outside but a little on the yellow side after cracked open. (They were devilish to photograph, but I think you get the idea with the other two.) White grape was always one of my favorite fruit juices as a kid, so I’m very familiar with the flavor. This is extremely faithful. There’s a concord grape note to it, but also a brighter and lighter feeling to it, a little like champagne.

All three flavors are distinct and faithful to their profiles. The candy itself is unique, I’ve never had anything quite like it before so I give Wonka high marks for not just regurgitating the ordinary with a frivolous name and funny packaging. I like the concept of the boxes and that they’re more cost effective than the tins but still $3 for 5 ounces of sugar candy is on the high side, even for something that doesn’t have artificial flavors/colors. Also, the amount of packaging is silly, the outer sleeve could easily disappear without losing the feeling of upscale decadence.

I’m a little unclear about the target market for these, I’m guessing they’re not for little children like many other Wonka products lately like Kazoozles. Perhaps they’re targeting young adults, especially since the tins are great for sharing. They might also appeal to folks who want an intense flavorful indulgence without too many calories. Since they’re all sugar there’s no fat and each piece is about 12 calories. The tin makes each piece feel rather special. (Honestly, it seems like the target market is for grown ups for never quite grew up, which would be me.)

I like where Wonka is going lately.

These are in limited release right now, they’re available exclusively at WalMart stores until June 2010 when they’ll start appearing at Target. The candies are made in Mexico.

Related Candies

  1. Wonka Exceptionals Scrumdiddlyumptious
  2. Big Tex Giant Jelly Beans
  3. Wonka Kazoozles: Cherry Punch & Pink Lemonade
  4. Jelly Belly Sunkist Citrus Mix
  5. Wonka Tinglerz & Nestle Buncha Crunch
  6. Gimbal’s Lavaballs
  7. Wonka Sour Nerds

Name: Wonka Fruit Marvels
Brand: Nestle
Place Purchased: samples from Wonka
Price: $2.99 retail
Size: 5 ounces for box & 1.9 ounces for tins
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Nestle, Hard Candy & Lollipops, Jelly Candy, 8-Tasty, Mexico

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:16 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyReviewNestleHard Candy & LollipopsJelly Candy8-TastyMexico

  1. Lovely review, but where have the rating scales gone? Have you done away with them? I rather liked having things quantified so nicely like that!


    Comment by Rebecca on 4/08/10 at 12:59 pm #
  2. These look good! I can’t wait to try them. I hope I can find them in my area!

    Comment by Bonney on 4/08/10 at 1:19 pm #
  3. Wonka’s new products are novel and attractive. Though these have to be the most appealing, to me, by far.

    I like the flavours options to and I wish they had a mix so I could try all three (probably too expensive). But that might cause flavours to meld into each other.

    Either way, it’ll take a while before they hit the shelves - there’re no Walmarts around here.

    Comment by Carrie on 4/08/10 at 4:39 pm #
  4. I’m hearing very good things about Nestle’s revival of the Wonka line. I’m guessing they’re aimed at 20- and 30-somethings?

    Comment by Richard @ The Bewildered Brit on 4/08/10 at 5:00 pm #
  5. I miss the rating scale also.
    It let me know what I had to try and what to stay away from smile

    Comment by Sallie on 4/08/10 at 6:47 pm #
  6. Cybele's avatar

    Rebecca & Sallie - are you saying that you can’t see the ratings box and the rating in there? It’s just missing the number at the moment but the rating is still 8 out of 10 (Tasty) and says that in the Categories field. I’ll get that fixed soon.

    Carrie - I know what you mean about WalMart. With the other Wonka products I was able to find them in stores before they even contacted me with the product announcements. In this case I took the samples because it would have been so long before I could get a hold of them.

    Bonney - I’m guessing the little tins are going to be the easiest to spot item.

    Richard - I think they’re for the hipsters, WonkaNation is a music tour. Also I noticed a lot of advertising at the mall last summer. (Banners & floor stickers.)

    Comment by Cybele on 4/08/10 at 6:53 pm #
  7. Every one in a while I find this line of hard candies dusted in Powdered sugar and shaped to be the fruit they taste like, and come in tins. I think they are British of French, with very ornate graphics and elegant fonts on the tins. These kinda remind me of those. Maybe these are appealing to people that like those too? Like me? I used to love em as a kid when I found em.

    Comment by Doug on 4/08/10 at 7:57 pm #
  8. yeah, i’m not sure what happened, but the boxes with all the structured items - rating, price, etc. doesn’t show up unless you click on the commments link.  not sure what’s going on…

    Comment by laura on 4/08/10 at 11:21 pm #
  9. Ditto.  I can’t see the usual ratings and pricing block on the main page.  That info is VERY important to my user experience.

    Comment by J on 4/09/10 at 10:04 am #
  10. Ditto the problem with the ratings graphic.  I can’t see it on any reviews on the main page at present.  On the comments page, I see the words (Tasty is highlighted), but no numbers.  FWIW, I’m on a Mac running Firefox.

    Comment by JJR on 4/09/10 at 11:39 am #
  11. Cybele's avatar

    Thanks for letting me know about the ratings box.

    It used to be that I hand coded the ratings box. It’s just a block of HTML that I’d put the info into. Now I’ve moved to a database, which makes the data entry a lot easier ... but the box wasn’t placed in all the templates. We forgot about the main page.

    So that’s fixed now!

    But we’re still working on the little ratings numbers. They’ll be back, they just need to be added to the CSS. (The number is in the list of categories.)

    Doug - we used to get cute little tins of dusted hard candies in our Christmas stocking. I know they were supposed to seem precious and gourmet, but they really were just hard candies.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/09/10 at 12:16 pm #
  12. So it sounds like they have a totally novel candy here, sort of jelly bean meets goo-filled-hard candy? That is big news! 125 years of mechanical candy panning technology, and still innovation, I love America.

    Comment by Candy Professor on 4/09/10 at 6:48 pm #
  13. I found the tins near the registers at Walmart. I just wish the shell was thicker.

    Comment by Heather on 4/18/10 at 7:37 pm #
  14. I just bought the Clementine Orange flavor today, but it’s only May and I got them in Target, so I guess WalMart exclusivity isn’t happening. I really enjoy the candy, but I also really enjoy the tin, and the “Wonkaness” not-grown-up special candy factor. I guess I am the target audience!

    I did not see any White Grape, which is a shame - they sound very good, by your review.

    Comment by Nycteris on 5/19/10 at 11:05 am #
  15. I just did another Wonka demo at Walmart (together with a Wonka standup cutout) and today, the Fruit Marvels and Fruit Jellies were added to the demo. The Pomegranate was popular. All ages liked them.

    Comment by Ingrid Stamatson on 6/13/10 at 8:09 pm #
  16. I give these a 10 ! Just bought them at Walmart and now I’m googling them. I’m a 47 yr old female artist on the hippy dippy side of things. LOVE LOVE LOVE them (well, pomogranate is all I’ve tried… and I have only bitten them, they are SO great that way- (a perfect texture, crunch with chewy with a great yummmm factor) I see no reason to try any other technique as of yet) I have always loved candy and these are SPLENDIDLY SPLENDIFEROUS!!!!!!!

    Comment by CLAIRE on 8/24/10 at 8:25 pm #
  17. I just tried the white grape flavor and find them to be quite good!
    I was put off by the high price of the small tins so I hesitated to buy them.
    However if anyone here lives near an Ollie’s outlet store you might be able to find the boxes (all 3 flavors were there when I checked) for 99 cents.

    Comment by Mikura on 10/24/10 at 2:02 pm #
  18. I found these at Dollar Tree, hit one up if you have one by you!

    Had the white grape one, delish!  I love it when candy companies make a unique (for candy) flavor of candy.  The standard flavors get boring sometimes.

    Comment by Outre on 10/28/10 at 11:30 pm #
  19. i decided the closest thing these come to are bumpy nerds.  which makes sense because those are wonka too, right?

    Comment by laura on 11/29/10 at 10:19 pm #
  20. atually, i take it back, these are most like those “raspberries and blackberries” candies.

    Comment by laura on 11/30/10 at 12:12 pm #
  21. I’m eating one of the white grape ones right now. The flavor is amazing, but I’m not a fan of hard-shelled candy. I just want to get to that gooey center, and I keep chomping down and hurting my teeth.


    Comment by Rachel on 7/22/11 at 8:52 pm #
  22. I’ve had White grape ones in early summer, and at first I thought I wouldn’t like them at all because I prefer not to eat jelly candy. But once I’ve tried them, it had an amazing taste. The hard layer was better just as I’ve predicted, but I would probably eat it once again, If I had a chance to buy it anywhere near.

    Comment by Anja Jazbinsek on 11/01/11 at 1:32 pm #
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