Friday, 3 August 2012

Starburst Limited Edition Mixed Berries

Starburst is a US brand, owned by Mars Incorporated. The range is distributed in Australia by The Wrigley Company, which is owned by Mars Snackfoods.

'Limited edition' seems to be the trendy term this year, and Starburst has also jumped on the band wagon. I'm not sure of their frequency, though I would bet it's about the same as the six month-ish on-sale period that Mars uses for their seasonal M&M products. Last season Starburst had a 'summer' flavoured bag (and prior to that was the Smoothie release), while this season's bag is of mixed berries. Rather well-suited to winter, I must say!

The bag itself weighs 170g, which is 10g lighter than the other regular Starburst bags. The package is emblazoned with bold 'Limited Edition', just so you know that, you know, it won't be around forever. The mixed berries are described as having 'full on ... fruit flavours', and the package shows a huge graphical representation of the three berries featured: strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.

When I briefly opened the package for photos, I missed that there are actually four berries in the pack; blackberry is also included, as per the lengthy description on the back. I'll go back and update the photos, but for now you'll just have to imagine that camera-shy blackberry is hiding off-frame.

As soon as the bag is opened, you're hit in the face with a bold, somewhat generic berry smell. It's extremely sweet and one-dimensional, more like jam than herbal tea. Unfortunately, even when separated, the berries all small the same; that doesn't bode well for the tasting.

Blueberry is the smallest berry in the package, and is represented by a deep violet jelly with a flat base, complete with a small rim to impersonate the fruit's crown of leaves. It is just shy of 1.5cm tall at the highest point. and the base is 1.9cm wide. It's a tiny little bite, made to be paired with others. Despite the strongly-sweet scent, blueberry is surprising in its richness of flavour, although it's a far cry from the real fruit. It is mildly jammy, and would combine well with other flavours. This was

Strawberry is large (almost 3.5cm long by 2.5cm wide by 1.5cm high), and there were only a few of these in my bag. The moulding is very cute, with little marks to indicate the seeded skin, and nice detailing on the leafed top. As soon as I've bitten into it I can tell it's an artificial flavouring;  it's a fairly cheap flavour that reminds me of strong but watered-down herbal tea. It's a nice bright flavour, but uninteresting.

Raspberry comes in the generic uninspired 'berry' mould that many confectionery manufacturers use. These dominated my bag, along with the blueberries, probably because they are similar in size. Raspberry itself has a mild tang that allows you to tell the difference between it in and strawberry, but there is no real flavour present. It's boring and extremely generic. I wouldn't be able to tell this apart from any other 'raspberry' lollies produced by any other manufacturer, except for the soft gummy texture that Starburst has down pat.

Lastly is camera-shy blackberry. It has similar dimensions to the strawberry gummy, and its mould looks similar to a bunch of grapes at first glance. The colour is lovely, like a redder version of blueberry's violet tinge. Unfortunately that's where the appeal ends. Like strawberry, there's a nice 'dark berry' sweet flavour, but I didn't get any notes that resembled a blackberry at all. This flavour could resemble a loganberry or even a blackcurrant if you weren't aware of what it was supposed to be.

I was somewhat disappointed with this release. They are very nice if you like the sweet, bold Starburst flavours, but if you're looking for true-to-life taste, keep looking.

A serving size is 25g (approximately five pieces), the product is glucose-based, and contains wheat.

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