Once upon a time there was a boy who just wanted to eat his Halloween stash. But his dad wouldn't let him because the candy was full of artificial stuff and too much sugar. So, the boy decided he would make candy that was good for you. That boy is Nicky Bronner (pictured above with his brother and co-founder, Kris) and this is the (abbreviated) story of UnReal Candy.
And, okay, let's be upfront about this point: Candy isn't good for you. It's definitely not kale. But I think we can agree that the idea of candy that's made with ingredients you can pronounce and with less sugar is a nice one, especially with the day when we'll all eat too much candy fast approaching.
What Makes UnReal Candy Different?
UnReal avoids a lot of ingredients that people care about limiting these days — namely artificial flavors and colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and corn syrup.
Compared to their more mainstream competitors, UnReal products, which include candy-coated chocolates and peanuts, and peanut and almond butter cups in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and quinoa crunch, also have less sugar. A milk chocolate peanut butter cup, for example, has 5 grams of sugar, while a classic Reese's peanut butter cup has 10.5 grams.
Their candies are mostly, but not 100 percent, organic and their dark chocolate products are vegan, although not officially certified. And, importantly for those with severe allergies, UnReal products have a "may contain" warning. In other words, while the products are corn-, soy-, and gluten-free, they are, for now, made in a facility where contamination is possible.
But Does It Taste Good?
UnReal candies taste very similar to the candies they're modeled after — namely M&Ms and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. They are noticeably less sweet, but not in a bad way (at least not to my taste buds), and less salty, too. And I liked the crunch of the quinoa-dark chocolate peanut butter cups.
But since I'm a grown-up, and inclined to like my sweets on the more savory side anyway, I decided to test them out on a few kids I happen to know: Ryan (11), Bobby (10), and Eric (7).
Their verdict: If the UnReal Candy were offered next to their more famous counterparts when they go trick-or-treating, they would definitely pick the UnReal products.
More specifically, on the subject of the chocolate-covered candies, they said, "The colors aren't as bright as M&Ms but that doesn't matter because these taste really good." As for the peanut butter cups, they reported, "The peanut butter in these actually tastes like real peanut butter."
The dark chocolate-quinoa cups were met with some skepticism: "There's quinoa in these? Isn't that really healthy?" But the most pressing question of the tasting turned out to be, "If we just had healthy food, can we skip vegetables with dinner tonight?"
If you haven't stocked up on Halloween candy yet, or you're just looking for a sweet after-dinner treat that you won't feel too guilty about, you can find UnReal candies at Whole Foods and Target and online.
Buy UnReal Candies: UnReal Crispy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, $5 for 10 fun packs at Target
Have you tried UnReal candies? Do you have a favorite?