The Good: Good realistic flavors, Environmentally responsible bulk, Taste does not fade for most flavors
The Bad: No real nutritional value, Mango Madness and Fruit Punch are not great
The Basics: A good mix of jelly beans that taste like Snapple's popular drinks, the Snapple Assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans is satisfying, but not indispensable.
About a month ago, I entered a new phase in my relationship with the fine folks at the Jelly Belly jelly bean corporation. After years of reviewing the Jelly Belly jelly bean products, the company reached out to me to provide me with the products I had not yet reviewed. Since then, I have been delightfully picking up the stragglers, the jelly beans that haven't been available in my market and the new products the company itself provided for me to try. The one they seemed most eager for me to review was the new Snapple Assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans. I have hemmed and hawed and waited - a second package arrived with my new all-time favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean - and I have methodically gone through the Snapple Jelly Belly Assortment to give it the thorough review I can be proud of generating.
And it's good. But while other Jelly Belly Assortments are either truly original blends - like the Cold Stone Ice Cream Parlor Assortment - or mash-ups of flavors that were already on the market - like the Soda Pop Shoppe Assortment - the Snapple Assortment lacks a distinctive hook outside the name-brand association. Jelly Belly has a slew of fruit flavors and fruit assortments that vary in taste, quality and originality. While I have not recently had each and every one of the Snapple fruit drinks that is mimicked in the jelly beans in the Jelly Belly Snapple Assortment (that was one of my excuses for delaying so long in reviewing these; I was trying to get the beverages in and reviewed prior to the Jelly Bellys for thorough comparison), I have had enough to say that Jelly Belly mostly nails the flavors they are trying to right on.
For those who might never have had Jelly Belly jelly beans, these are easily the best jelly beans on the planet, packing a lot of flavor into a very small size. Unlike most jelly beans which are only vaguely flavored and are more based on colors, Jelly Belly jelly beans have a wide variety of actual flavors, like Our Strawberry Blonde, Pineapple Pear Smoothie, the superlative seasonally-available Candy Cane or their signature flavor Buttered Popcorn.
Who needs ten pounds of Snapple flavored Jelly Bellys? I think anyone who would buy Snapple by the case, but is afraid of bottles, straws or drowning in juice might get a kick out of it. Or anyone who loves the taste of Snapple fruit drinks but gets their hydration in other ways might like these jelly beans. Anyone who might like the Snapple Assortment flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans will likely find that this is the best way to get them in bulk in an environmentally responsible way for the least amount of money.
The Snapple Mix is a collection of five unique flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Jelly Belly jelly beans are approximately one half inch long by one quarter inch wide and they are roughly bean-shaped and the five beans in the Snapple Assortment look like the standard Jelly Belly jelly beans. This is a bulking of Fruit Punch, Kiwi Strawberry, Mango Madness, Cranberry Raspberry, Pink Lemonade.
These little candies are marketed to taste precisely like Snapple fruit beverages and they live up to what they claim to very well. The flavors are fruity, some are slightly more sweet than the actual fruit (but emblematic of the beverage) and some even have a slightly watery aftertaste, which is pretty amazing for a jelly bean (less impressive for a fruit drink!). And while Pink Lemonade, Cranberry Raspberry and Kiwi Strawberry all tasted exactly like the Snapple drink versions of the flavors, the assortment did not light the sky on fire. In other words, while it tastes right, it is not an exciting mix for the palate.
The Snapple mix Jelly Bellys are available in a few quantities, but the largest quantity available is the ten pound bulk case. This is a decent-sized box with a plastic lining and while some might wonder why anyone would need a ten pound box, I declare, "It takes up less space and is safer than that many cases of Snapple!" I suspect that for most people, a ten pound case is a year's supply of these jelly beans.
Generally, the flavors in the Snapple Assortment are easy enough to recognize. Fruit Punch is a translucent dark purple that stands out from the rest of the assortment. The Mango Madness beans are distinctive as well and unless one is eating them in very low light, the light translucent orange color is clear. Unfortunately, in dim light, they look quite a bit like the light pink of the Pink Lemonade Jelly Bellys. The Cranberry Raspberry is an appropriately dark red color jelly bean. The translucent cranberry red Jelly Bellys are unlike any others in the assortment. The Kiwi Strawberry are a light pink, like the Pink Lemonade beans, with small red dots or smudges. This is not the most visually clear assortment to consume!
Ease Of Preparation
These are jelly beans, not making an empire of fruit drinks out of your own private orchard! In the case of the ten pound box, one might want to put them in a candy dish of some form as opposed to always going into the box. Then again, it's not like these jelly beans will go bad if you keep going into the box or open them and then do not refrigerate them! Eat them out of the box or from carefully placed dishes or glasses, whatever floats your boat!
Fruit Punch smells like berries, with a slight grape undertone. The aroma of the beans is strong and placing the jelly beans on the tongue provides the consumer with a strong berry flavor initially. The flavor is one that tastes like a mix of blueberry, blackberry, grape and dark cherry. Unlike many Jelly Belly flavors, the Fruit Punch Snapple Jelly Belly jelly beans have a flavor that dissipates remarkably quickly. This flavor has a strong watery aftertaste and does not hold up over multiple handfuls.
Mango Madness is actually a Snapple flavor I have frequently enjoyed. The beans smell vaguely like citrus. These Jelly Belly jelly beans have an appropriately light flavor. Unlike the beverage that tastes distinctly like mango, the Mango Madness Jelly Belly jelly beans taste more like tangerine than actual mango. The drink is more clearly mango-flavored. Jelly Belly's Mango and Chili Mango Jelly Bellys taste more distinctly of Mango. I did, however, notice that the Mango Madness beans tasted more like mango when I put more (twenty or more) in my mouth at a time. The aftertaste was also a little more like mango - that subtle sweet-dry flavor - than the generic citrus flavor when the beans are consumed in smaller quantities.
The surprise best of the assortment for rich flavors is the Cranberry Raspberry Snapple Jelly Belly jelly beans. First, the scent is strongly like that of raspberry. The scent of cranberry is almost entirely absent, which made me think that the flavor was not going to be that rich. But that was not the case at all! When the beans are consumed, even in small quantities, they taste exactly like the flavorful drink that they are named after. The tart cranberry flavor bends with the slightly sweeter raspberry to taste just like a delightful fruit drink.
The Strawberry Kiwi Snapple Jelly Bellys have a light fruity smell. This is a pretty weak smell and this flavor is just like the drink I remember. The flavor is strawberry with a slight tart aftertaste of kiwi. But even more realistic, this flavor finishes with the sugary flavor like the drink. While this might be a mild flavor, it is exactly like the flavor of the beverage. Jelly Belly got it just right with it!
Finally, there is Pink Lemonade. Pink Lemonade Jelly Bellys do not smell like anything at all. What they lack in scent, they make up for in taste! The Pink Lemonade taste like lemon with a slightly more watery body to it. The flavor actually sparkles when they are placed on the tongue. This, like most Jelly Bellys, is the taste it is supposed to embody. It has the lemon flavor which is less sour than actual lemon, like Pink Lemonade.
Again, these are jelly beans, so anyone looking to them for nutrition needs to recall that these are a candy based upon a fruit drink with a lot of sugar in them. Jelly beans, even Jelly Belly jelly beans, are not a legitimate source of nutrition, though Jelly Belly improves the realism of their flavor for these beans by using real fruit puree. Oddly, that does not give any of the beans enough nutritional elements to cite Vitamin C on the nutrition listing. A serving is listed at thirty-five beans, with each Jelly Belly jelly bean having approximately four calories. This means that in a single serving, there are 140 calories, which is 12% of your daily recommended intake of carbohydrates.
The thing is, Jelly Belly jelly beans are not as bad as they could be in the nutrition area. They have no fat and no protein, but for those who have ever dated a Vegan, these are Vegan compliant because they contain no gelatin! (Still, some militant Vegans are not fond of the use of beeswax in the shell, so know your Vegan before giving these as a gift!) These have less than one percent of the daily sodium with 5 mg and they are gluten free! The main ingredients are sugar, corn syrup and modified food starch, so it's not like this is an all-natural food, but they could be far, far worse.
Jelly Belly jelly beans have a shelf life of approximately one year, though I noticed that the Snapple Assortment beans I was provided by Jelly Belly had an expiration date late in 2013, which might suggest that these are a bit more durable. They remain freshest when they are kept in an airtight container (the bag in the bulk box is sufficient if it is kept closed) and they ought to be kept in a lukewarm environment. Storing them in hot places is likely to make the beans stick together and be gross. Kept in a cool, dry place, the beans retain their flavor perfectly.
As for cleanup, unless one allows the Jelly Belly to get hot to the point that the waxy coating on the bean melts, the dyes on these do not bleed or denature, so there is usually no cleanup necessary, not even washing one's hands after eating them (always wash your hands before eating Jelly Bellys, these don't come from bottles like the Snapple drinks do). I've never had any of the Snapple Mix Jelly Bellys stain anything.
The Snapple Assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans is a good, accurate assortment of fruit flavors that reminds the consumer of the fruit drinks upon which they are based. However, as good as most of the flavors are, this is an assortment that doesn't pop. There is no zest, nothing that makes this assortment a vital one that consumers are likely to feel like they must have. That said, these are still well above the average jelly bean in taste and flavor concept, so those who love Snapple fruit drinks are likely to be quite pleased with them.
For other Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor reviews by me, please check out:
Chocolate Devotion Cold Stone Ice Cream Sundae
Mandarin Orange Mango Smoothie
Birthday Cake Remix
For other Jelly Belly jelly bean reviews, please visit my Ultimate Jelly Belly Guide by clicking here!
© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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