Monthly Archives: October 2007

Jolly Rancher Double Blasts

Jolly Rancher has gone wild with these new two-in-one candies, Double Blasts. The outside is still a hard candy shell (shaped like a small barrel), but the inside contains a blast of candy powder in a different flavor from the original. They call it “flavor-infused powder filled candy” and that’s exactly what it is. Don’t expect these to last as long as traditional Jolly Ranchers—the inner powder starts seeping out in under a minute, filling you with a complementary fruit flavor. Chorange (cherry-orange) is quite tasty, as are Raspilime (blue raspberry and lime), Strawapple and Mangolemin (take a guess on the contents of the last two). Though, you should be prepared for the lime and lemon to make your face contort a bit at the true-to-life flavor. These powders aren’t too sour tasting—just bold and packed with fruit flavor. Kids and fun-loving adults will flock to Double Blasts for the new candy experience, and because they already love and trust the Jolly Rancher name.

Started in 1949 by Colorado residents Bill and Dorothy Harmsen, the Jolly Rancher Company originally made ice cream in addition to their chocolates hard candies. Realizing their hard candies were growing in popularity at a much faster rate than their other products, they focused on these alone while growing their business. Jolly Rancher changed hands in 1966 to Beatrice Foods, in 1983 to Leaf Candy Company, and then again in 1996 to Hershey’s. The hard candies haven’t changed all that much from their original rectangular prism shape and traditional packaging until new varieties were introduced in the last decade, like Jolly Rancher Sourbolt Blasts and Double Blasts. The packaging of the Jolly Rancher Double Blasts is bright and exciting—plenty to pique your curiosity and make you pull a bag off the shelves. This is so worth trying, so don’t wait too long to snag a bag.

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Ricola Breath mints

Sometimes, you feel the need to get back to Mother Nature. If you feel that longing yourself, why not treat your breath to the same experience? Ricola Breath Mints declare themselves to be nature’s perfect mint. In three flavors, Peppermint, Spearmint, and LemonMint (Ricola’s best-selling mint flavor), Ricola Breath Mints come in an easy-to-dispense .88-ounce box. The mints use naturally chewy gum arabic and a natural herb mix for flavorings. But the ingredient list also includes aspartame, which immediately negates the “all natural” taglines as far as I’m concerned. Not that I stray from aspartame as a general rule, but it’s certainly not the best for human health from what I’ve heard.

I first opened the LemonMint, to see what all the fuss was about. After all, don’t most breath mints claim to be sugar-free, refreshing, and long lasting? These chewy mints from Ricola have a gummy quality to them that is similar to a thick licorice. They are shaped like a tiny gumdrop and feel smooth inside the mouth, but are not easy to chew. The overall taste of these mints was definitely healthy, but not outstanding. Another downfall is I felt like I had to eat three or four mints to get the freshness I’d normally expect one breath mint to bring. The spearmint flavor packed a lot more punch than the lemon, as did the peppermint, which won out in the flavor department.

My favorite feature was the unique click-top box. I don’t know how they did it, but the cardboard box audibly “clicks” into place when you close the top. This is a great feature for a person who hates it when breath mints spill out in their pocket or inside their purse. The box is very much pocket-sized and is convenient to take with you when you’re on the go. All in all, I’d say Ricola Breath Mints’ strongest asset is packaging. If you’re looking for a more natural alternative to your standard breath freshener, this may be just what you need.

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Ricola Mini Natural Herb Cough Drops

What do you think about when you hear the word Ricola? If you ask me, I’m bound to start chanting the decade-old commercial campaign: Riiii-co-laaa.

(If you don’t know what I’m referring to, click here for the ad: The company, which has been going strong for over 70 years, is named after its Swedish founder. The abbreviation for the company’s full name is Ri-Co-La: Richterich & Compagnie Laufen. Now you know.

Memorable ad campaign aside, this company is reaching its target audience by offering reliable, good-for-you alternatives for the health-conscious consumer. To supplement their already innovative line of nature-infused mints and throat drops, Ricola has introduced Mini Natural Herb Cough Drops. There is nothing on the market that tastes like these lozenges. With the intensity of Halls and the smooth taste of herbs, these drops fight colds by suppressing the coughs and soothing sore throats. The flavor is more floral than fruity, and you definitely feel like you’re eating something that’s good for you. But, unlike spinach, these actually taste great too.

If you’re wondering what’s behind the brick-like shape of these Original Flavor lozenges, it’s because these are made today almost exactly the same way Emil Richterich first made them. Richeterich’s recipe was born in the 1930’s in Ricola’s founding place, Laufen, Switzerland (where they are still manufactured today—some things never change). Other varieties of Ricola lozenges are factory made and come in an oval lozenge. Ricola throat drops are made to suit the public who shop for natural foods and herbal goods. Whether or not you choose the sugarless variety, you’ll enjoy a healthy alternative to other throat drops brands. You can look for these throat drops in your grocery or convenience store, or visit the company’s website for more info.

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5 Gum

“5 is the new black.” Though you won’t see the manufacturer’s name anywhere on the package, Wrigley’s is the company behind “5”, the newest product to hit candy shelves. The name sticks, as each sugar-free piece of chewing gum has only five calories. Some people think there’s a greater significance to the name. Does 5 ignite the five senses when  chewed? It has been five years since Wrigley’s introduced Orbit gum in 2002. Could that be the reason for the mysterious, numeric product name?

Once you get past the perplexing title, you can instantly appreciate 5 for its sleek, black packaging. In fact, the company is targeting teens with this product with the slogan “5 is the new black.” I was familiar with this gum before I tried it, since I’d seen one of the company’s advertisements playing on the big screen in a pre-movie commercial. I was intrigued by the image of the gum before I even tasted it—talk about effective advertising.

When I picked up the box, I thought it looked strikingly similar to a pack of cigarettes. The gum sticks even stand upright in the pack and slide out the top like cigarettes would. The gum definitely has a bad-boy image to it, as much it is possible for a chewing gum to seem rebellious. Available in three flavors—Cobalt (Peppermint), Flare (Cinnamon), and Rain (Spearmint)—each pack contains 15 pieces of gum covered in bright, color-coordinated foil of red, blue, or green. Rain tastes a lot like other spearmint gums on the market—nothing new there. Flare is a bit tamer than Big Red, with more of a bubble gum flavor to it than the hot and spicy cinnamon you would expect. And Cobalt is refreshing like a candy cane, but again, not as intense as you would expect from the packaging. I must say that the flavor, though not as intense as some other gums bring, lasts and lasts. It’s doubtful that chewing a certain type of gum can give you an image boost. But if any gum could make you cool, it would be 5.

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Island Delights Coconut Haystacks

Coconut—I’ve never enjoyed a flavor so much that other people can’t stand. I’ve been to more than my share of parties where a delicious coconut dessert is served. And, more often than not, I can look around the table to see several people who refuse the delicacy sitting before them with the dreaded line: “I don’t eat coconut.”

One man’s loss is another man’s gain. And for that reason, I say “bring on the coconut.” Island Delights, a company based out of Seville, Ohio, is doing just that. With a passion for island living and the slow pace that comes with a tropical lifestyle, Island Delights creates coconut candies to ship all over the United States. Their Haystacks, a quarter-sized dollop of coconut rolled in sugar and corn syrup, are a bestseller. And why shouldn’t they be? They tailor their haystacks to the consumer who likes variety, with eleven flavors. I tried chocolate and caramel, but the haystacks also come in: vanilla, maple, cinnamon, key lime, cherry, orange, pineapple, lemon, and pina colada. Variety packs allow candy lovers to sample a variety of flavors in one 8-ounce bag. A larger 2-pound bag is available for purchase on their website,, and you can also select from smaller 2-, 3-, and 4-ounce bags.

I have to say, I wasn’t blown away by Island Delights Haystacks. The little sugar pods didn’t explode in my mouth or send me away to a tropical island. But the mild chocolate and caramel flavors are a good complement to each other, providing a chewy, sweet treat that complements the coconut this company has grown to love. In fact, it seems the company primarily focuses on their popular Haystacks, creating seasonal and holiday gift assortments of the product. With nine grams of fat in one serving (four pieces), this candy wasn’t worth it’s fat content as far as I am concerned. But the pretty packaging and unique concept make it a great gift idea for the coconut lover in your circle.

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