Sunday, 25 November 2012

M&M's Milk Chocolate Christmas Tube

The 2012 Christmas release from Mars features regular milk chocolate M&M's (anyone else wonder why there is an apostrophe in the brand name?) coloured red and green, and shipped in a lengthened plastic tube. The tube come sin two colours, red and lime green, and the outer packaging features snow flakes, and Red and Miss Green wearing Santa hats. Prety cute.

In the picture above you can see both the red and green tubes, and a tube of M&M's Minis. The Christmas version of the tube is a bit more than 1.5 times longer. It's long enough to hold odds and ends like pens, nail files and other things in your bag. At least, that's what I'll be using mine for. :)

It's important to note that the M&M's used in this package are of normal size, not minis. The tube holds 45g, which is four grams less than what you find in the normal bag. These retail for the same price as a medium bar, which I think is about $1.85 RRP.

These don't taste any different to me than normal M&M's - probably because they're not. But the red and green candy coating is a fun seasonal difference, not that chocolate lasts awfully well in these Australian summers, mind you. They would make a cute extra as part of a Secret Santa/Kris Kringle gift, too.

M&M's contain wheat and soy, and may contian traces of treenuts, peanuts and barley.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Au'Some Candy Apps

As soon as these came into my work I was both fascinated and amused by the clever packaging. Au'some (pronounced awesome) is a subsidiary of 'Candy Novelty Works Limited, which, from that name alone, should give you an idea of what sort of confectionery products they manufacture. Au'some itself was established in 1998, and produces some great 'interactive candy'. Their Head Office is in the US, but they have sales offices all over the world.

This particular product is basically a repackage of some of the many products that Au-some sells individually. The package itself is quite large, 17cm long x 10cm wide x 1.5cm deep.  The front cover is created to replicate the face of an iPhone or similar product, with 'app' images representing the products inside. (Interesting to note: the top left app is a sticker for their Facebook page Underneath the app says 'Bobbys'.)

The rear of the package is a neat moulded tray which holds seven different products (eight items but one is duplicated). What I found especially fascinating was that the apps on the front cover actually line up with the products in the tray underneath, so there was no guessing as to what items were inside.

The first product is the 'Sour Candy Bone'. It's very large, a bit over 5.5cm long and 2cm wide, and is about 1cm thick. Mine was a very pale pink, and covered in gritty sour power, while the interior was chalky and stiff. I'm not a fan of sour products in general, but this one was very weak - even I could tolerate it! It has a faint artificial strawberry taste, and is actually somewhat refreshing. The snap is pretty stiff - I had to use my back teeth to bite off a piece - but as with compressed lollies the piece broke up easily.

The next product I tried was the '3-Dees Gummy'. Mine was yellow, and was moulded from two pieces so it had a 3D shape of a bunny. The sculpt is really cute - the bunny is about 3.5cm tall at the ears (including his base), and is lightly textured all over to represent hair. He didn't smell like much, and faintly tasted of a generic tropical flavour. He was made from a very stiff gummy (think Starburst babies, but firmer) and was very average in flavour.

My next piece was a 'Sour 3-Dees Gummy'. I studied the shape very hard but couldn't work out what he was supposed to be - a penguin? A person? The other non-sour 3-Dees piece in the package was the same mould, but even with another to look out, I have no clue what shape it's supposed to represent. (As an aside, I went hunting on the 3-Dees website and found the mould used with their Easter seasonal release, but I'm still no closer to deciphering his shape.)

Both of them had a very stiff chew - similar to the bunny, but different in that they felt more like plastic. They were both strawberry flavour, and again the sour piece was weak in its kick. I actually preferred the sour piece over the other one.

At the top of the package we have the 'Au'some Candy Roll', a basic compressed candy. Mine had 11 pieces all up, each tablet was less than 1cm wide and several milimetres thick. These These felt stale to me - they were very dry and had a sharp snap, with little to no flavour across the different colours.

The blue pieces are 'Blue raspberry flavoured Mega Bitz'. The little pieces were random in shape and quite small, about the size of a Tic Tac, but many were stuck together. I was surprised to discover these are actually gum, which a nice strong blue raspberry flavour (which is a manufactured flavour). They were tart and jammy too. At least, I think they were gum - it felt like it but after a few chews they started to disappear.

Next up was the 'Crunchy Candies'. (If that doesn't sound generic, then I don't know what does.) These are coated compressed candy about the size of a tablet, with little smiley faces painted on one side. Like most coated compressed candy, these had appeal, although I did note that the yellow pieces had a mild lemon taste, the pink was an awful berry flavour, blue was blue raspberry, and green was just bland.

Lastly we had the 'strawberry flavoured Au'some Nuggets'. I'm not sure how to describe these - they're like gummy but softer, and coated. Whatever they are, they are meant to be eaten by the handful to enjoy the jammy-but-artificial strawberry taste. I liked these the best, but not enough to actively seek them out.

For the price I paid (we sell these at $2.20), I was pretty disappointed. It's a cute way to sample different Au'Some products, but the flavour was sub-par on most products. Kids would probably enjoy the variety though.

There's no allergen statements on the back, but you would need to examine the (lengthy but detailed) ingredients list for additives.