I was recently given the opportunity via BzzAgent to sample the candies from UNREAL, a company that promotes responsibly sourced ingredients, supports farming communities, is against rain forest destruction and boasts products that contain no artificial colors, hydrogentated oils, corn syrups, preservatives or GMOs (genetically modified organisms). They make all those claims and yet they are priced similarly to their “junkier” candy competitors.
The UNREAL BzzKit that arrived in the mail for me simply contained coupons and vouchers for the candies compliments of BzzAgent. [If you’d like to learn more about my experiences with the BzzAgent organization please refer to my blog entry here.]
Although UNREAL is supposed to be carried at drugstore chains such as CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid among others, I had a hell of a time trying to find one store in my vicinity that did. After making the rounds and talking to several store managers that had no clue about UNREAL I finally managed to locate one Walgreens store that had the candy in stock. The store employee had to actually go into the backroom and pull the display out for me. The reason became quite obvious once I saw the candies in the display. It was apparent that at some point ALL of the candies in the cardboard display had been exposed to extreme heat because they had all melted in their plastic wraps and then re-hardened into odd shapes. The candy bars were no longer candy bars but flattened candy blobs. In spite of that I still purchased the candies because for all I knew this was the only place I’d ever find UNREAL candy and I needed to test and review the products a.s.a.p.. At Walgreens these candies were priced $2/2 which under normal circumstances is more than reasonable. However, for misshapen candy blobs…maybe not so much.
I purchased all five different types of the UNREAL candy: #54 and #41 the peanut and plain M&Ms-type, #5 and #8 the Milky Way and Snickers-type, and #77 the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups-type.
UNREAL’s peanut butter cups come two to a pack, like Reese’s, but as you can see what I got was a melted together chocolate peanut butter amalgam. With all of these candies, I tried them with family and friends and we all unanimously agreed that the chocolate in this candy was too bitter, the peanut butter too salty, and there was way too much salty peanut butter compared to chocolate. Not only that but the peanut butter was gritty and the chocolate lacked a velvety smoothness. I’m sorry to say that no one was a fan of this particular UNREAL variety.
Next up we tried the Milky Way and Snickers dupes. Most people preferred the Milky Way-type for its flavor. The one thing we all liked was how, compared to Mars’ Milky Way and Snickers bars, the UNREAL candies weren’t as sweet. However, like the UNREAL peanut butter cups, the chocolate in the bars was a little chalky and the caramel/nougat felt gritty.
Lastly, we tried the M&M-type candy. These were by far the favorites. The chocolate in these candies felt smoother and like all of the other UNREAL candies we’d already tried it wasn’t super sweet. These candies also fared better than the chocolate bars and cups. The latter had all suffered from their exposure to heat and had developed a grainy texture and an unsightly bloom on their surfaces. The candy shells on the M&M-type candies had protected the chocolate interiors from those effects so they had a creamier mouthfeel.
Overall, while I appreciate the flavor of the UNREAL candies I can’t get past the awful texture which in my opinion stems from the poor quality control and perhaps the lack of preservatives. Somewhere, sometime from production to when I got the candies in my hands these candies were ruined by heat and their shelf life was drastically shortened. Even in the midst of a scorching summer I’ve never purchased candies in such bad condition as these UNREAL candies.