Gelatin makes vegetarians cry.
It’s everywhere you don’t want it to be, especially if you like candy. In ingredient list after ingredient list, it pops up and spoils the party. It’s in some gums, just about every marshmallow ever made, and in a variety of gummy candies. If you’re a vegetarian, you’re sure has hell not going to chance the gummy cola bottles in the unlabelled Plexiglas boxes at the local convenience store.
Just like soy-meat manufacturers know that vegetarians sometimes crave tastes from their pre-veggie days, Let’s Do Organic must have figured there was a market for organic, vegetarian gummies. I’m thinking they’re probably onto something.
I found these “Fruiti Bears Gummies” sour gummy bears (a.k.a. gummi bears) at Planet Organic, sitting near the till in impulse-buy row. The packaging made them look good, like a rainbow of colourful childhood memories fused with grown-up vegan attitude. But do these vegetarian replicas match the original?
The Look: Utterly and completely joyless. In real life, they’re as colourful as boiled prison-camp root vegetables. No bright colours, just “natural” tones like dark yellow, orangey-brown and purplish-brown. They don’t say “fun” so much as “social responsibility.”
The Texture: Not chewy at all. They’re more like fruit jellies than gummies. Instead of resisting the imposition of hungry teeth, they easily slice in two.
The Taste: By my own unscientific estimation, the flavours include: decent Double-Bubble-style tutti-frutti; juicy, delicious lemon-orange citrus; apple-pie-potpourri; cherry fruit leather; blackcurrant; and something vaguely like banana-pear. The packaging doesn’t actually list the flavours, so I’m only guessing. They’re all lightly sour. Given the disappointing appearance and texture, they actually taste pretty damned good.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $4.69 for a box of four 25-gram packs at Planet Organic.
Value for cash money: Terrible. Regular gelatin-laced gummy bears retail for 5 cents a pop; at $1.17 per pouch, with an average per-pouch bear count of 8, it works out to about 15 cents per bear. That’s a whole lot more expensive.
Availability: Planet Organic. I’d check natural food shops. They were made in the Dominican Republic, and yet they somehow found their way to Edmonton, Alberta, so they can’t be impossible to find elsewhere.
Nutrition?: 100 calories per 25-gram pack. Not a whole lot here aside from sugars. The 100-calorie portion is nice on paper, but the reality of the measly 8-bear pack size is that you want to eat at least two packs.
Organic: The box says they’re made with 97% organic ingredients.
Vegetarian friendly?: Yes! Vegan friendly, even! And gluten-free!
The verdict: Not cheap, not visually appealing, and not very gummy, but still surprisingly tasty.