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Candy Blow Out

November 1, 2013

There’s a first time for everything. Last night the Fussies unloaded their entire stash of candy to the wandering hordes of IAS children.

What was in the candy bowl?

Well, I had picked up three bags of Unreal candy. The Smooth One is like Milky Way; The Loaded One is like Snickers; and The Double One is like Reese’s peanut butter cups. In addition to this Little Miss Fussy insisted on including Nerds. Young Master Fussy didn’t feel right without adding a bag of Twix to the mix.

While the kids went out Trick-or-Treating I covered the door and took the opportunity to do a little unsolicited market research on behalf of Unreal. Here’s what I learned.

Kids go for colorful and shiny things. If you have children, this isn’t surprising news.

The bright pink and purple boxes of Nerds were flying out of the bowl fast and furious. As were the metallic golden Twix bars. I had to really push the trick-or-treaters into taking any of the Unreal candy.

Their confections are covered in a striking and elegant black wrapper, with some bold contrasting colors used in the brand’s logo. But they do not scream fun. It probably wouldn’t even register as candy to some kids if it wasn’t included in a candy bowl.

So job number one for Unreal is to fix their packaging.

Even though I’ve been trying to eat better, for the sake of science I was compelled to try each of the three candies. And for the most part, I was underwhelmed. The thing that was off wasn’t flavors so much as the textures.

The best of the three was the peanut butter cup. Its only drawback was that the peanut butter filling itself seemed to be filled with crispy granules of sugar. I suppose Reese’s also have textural problems with the filling, since I remember it being a strange combination of dry, flaky and pasty.

Unreal’s Snickers clone wasn’t bad. The bar seemed to be missing a certain lift. Mostly that came from a denser nougat layer. I wouldn’t imagine the ability to whip air into a nougat is a function of synthetic chemical additives, but maybe it is. Also the caramel layer is lacking fluidity. When you bite into the candy, none of the caramel pulls away, but rather it just stays in place.

Those problems with the nougat and caramel are amplified in the Milky Way clone where those components can’t hide behind a layer of roasted peanuts.

On the plus side, while I was originally dismayed that Unreal didn’t feature fair-trade chocolate, but I have subsequently learned something exciting. On their website the manufacturer explains, “We source our cacao beans from farms in Ghana and Ecuador that have been audited for human rights and best growing practices.”

Woo hoo! That means no slavery in this chocolate, in addition to no GMOs and the exclusion of a lot of other things that I hate.

So maybe they aren’t the candy of my dreams, but I’ll totally be buying them again. The big question is what will happen to all the candy bars that went home with the neighborhood children?

Will the parents notice there’s a new candy in town? Hopefully handing these out at Halloween will help to spread the word. Because if Unreal does well, it may spawn competitors. And that will certainly up the ante for quality candy.

Now all they have to do is change the packaging to make it appealing to kids too.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. -R. permalink
    November 1, 2013 10:57 am

    Not one trick or treater last night most likely due to the wind-driven rain last evening. Not that we normally receive hordes of children rummaging through the neighborhood, but this was rather disappointing. What to do with all those micro-Kit-Kats, Dum-Dums, Milk Duds and Reese’s peanut butter cups? Given their shelf life, they’re probably fine until next year!

  2. November 1, 2013 11:42 am

    We passed out Kit Kat and Nestle Crunch. From another completely unscientific study, people pick Kit Kats over Nestle Crunch. I would agree that it is marketing. None of the kids have ever seen an ad for Nestle Crunch, but I bet all of them could sing the Kit Kat jingle.

    • enough already! permalink
      November 3, 2013 9:01 pm

      I would too. Not because of the jingle, either.

  3. November 1, 2013 1:20 pm

    Christina Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar, tells how to make snack mix out of leftover Halloween candy: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/snack-mix?xid=DAILY110113SnackMix I’m sure it will work on happy-conscience treats as well…

    • November 1, 2013 1:23 pm

      Ha! That is funny. I repurposed all the left over candy we had too… I crushed some up and used it in place of candied fruit/nuts in a batch of bourbon fruitcake (I made normal too, I posted about it if interested). I don’t expect it to be good or anything, I mostly did it because it seemed an amusing concept.

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