[ 08/30/17 UPDATE: Since we published this review, we received some smaller sized bags of these same exact gummies from Black Forest. The bags looked exactly the same, except for one difference: on the back, there was an allergy warning! Stunned, I tried to contact them, but twice got tardy canned responses that didn’t actually address my concern: were these candies made in the same allergen free factory or not? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you that. If food allergies are part of your life, I have to recommend that you do NOT BUY THESE, in any size bag. It’s a shady situation.]
If you trolled Candy Gurus reviews for comments, or read our emails from readers, a common theme arises in the questions we get: ingredients. Many of you want to know what it is you’re putting in your bodies, some of you can’t eat gluten, for example, and a lot of parents need to be in tune with allergens that affect their kids.
15 years ago, candy was candy and the flavors were the discerning factor. You wondered whether to eat chocolate or licorice but probably didn’t hold back eating something because it was made with Stevia and not real fruit juice.
Well the times they are a changin’. And Black Forest, Ferrara’s subsidiary proclaiming to be “America’s Favorite Gummy®”, have plunged right in to the wave and come up with their Organic Gummy Bears, Worms and Cherries.
Now, us Gurus been reviewing candy for a shitload of a long time. Really. Like a lifetime now. Like we wrote our first review last decade, and we’re more than half way through THIS decade. And I can’t ever remember a big U.S. candy company — one that has its foot in most grocery stores; a brand that the general public likely knows — launching a completely new, all-organic version of their already tried and true.
(Yes of course, some company probably has. I can’t keep up with EVERYthing. Feel free to let me know what I missed in the comments).
But here comes Black Forest with a USDA certified label and ingredients that read like every label in Whole Foods Market: Organic Tapioca Syrup. Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Lemon Juice Concentrate, Organic Potato Starch, Organic Sunflower Oil… These folks mean business.
And ingredients matter. If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you’ve seen the rise in the numbers of kids who need to be careful about the food they eat because of allergies, which can literally be deadly. When we first talked to Black Forest folks about these new gummies, we asked about allergens.
Usually, speaking about allergens is very difficult, because it’s not just what’s on the ingredient label – it’s what ELSE is going on in the factories that make the candy. And we should know – one of our little Gurus has food allergies.
Companies must list their food’s ingredients, but they have the option of including verbiage about whether the food (in this case, candy) is made in a facility that processes tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, and other allergens. This simple fact, that companies don’t have to include this info, means that the only way parents of kids with food allergies will know the candy is safe for their children is to quite literally call the company.
Every. Damn. Company. It’s an amazing amount of work, especially with the reality that some candies from the same company are made in different factories. Like…a small bag of yumyums might be made in a “safe” facility, but the “party size” bag isn’t. It’s confusing as hell.
Enter Black Forest’s organic candy. They literally built a new facility, all new equipment, and only make these organic candies in that factory. That means parents KNOW that these candies do not have cross contamination from the major 8 allergens, as well as many others including peas, avocados and other items.
Luckily, for most of you reading this, this information doesn’t matter to you. But for families with allergies, you have no idea how important this is, so we salute Black Forest. If you know families with food allergies, send them this review.
YEAH OK BUT HOW DO THEY TASTE?
Very good. Super solid. Fruity and ‘real’ tasting, which I expected with organic ingredients. The lemon bears have a real citrus flavor. The pineapple is good, not too strong though – I had to think about that one while I was eating it to really taste it. The cherries are overt – kinda cherry in your face. The flavors of the worms are less clear but I like the sweetness ratio. Also, all the candies were super fresh and chewy. Good if you like that, but I like mine old and chewier. A few days in the fridge cured that.
The reality is these gummies are solid. I would buy these again, and for those of us who care about our ingredients and manage allergies, these go to the top of your ‘foods I can eat and not worry about’ list.
Way to go Black Forest.