Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trident Layers Jelly Bean Gum - Shop Rite: Berlin, NJ

Trident Layers Jelly Bean Gum - Shop Rite: Berlin, NJ
Last month, my rear passenger-side tire tore apart completely on my way into work. The tire wasn't more than 2 years old, so it was most likely something in the road, but there was no repairing it. I could fit my entire hand inside it! Thankfully I have AAA, so I got some road side assistance so that I could get a replacement put on after work. What does this have to do with food? While I waited for my new tire to be put on, I wandered around a Shop Rite that was close by and found a few (admittedly older) limited edition food items to review. (Yay for foodie retail therapy!)

This gum came out quite a while ago, and when it was announced I was actually really annoyed. How can something taste like a jelly bean? Jelly beans are fruity or spiced candies with a panned sugar shell, they don't have a taste all on their own. (Other than sugar.) How can gum taste like something that is more of a textural experience than a flavorful one? With that being said, I had never planned on reviewing this item. I was pretty sure it would be a waste of money, but then... I saw the back of the packaging.

Look at this design! Bright, translucent, jelly bean shapes are layered on top of one another to create a fun and playful pattern. I absolutely love it! Especially when it's combined with this bold, but rosy, pink color and white text. Why isn't this the front of the package? This design is way more attractive and interesting that the front.

To me, the front of this package is boring, and it makes no sense. Why are there only green, pinky-red and yellow jelly beans? The usual flavors related to those colors are apple/lime, strawberry/cherry, and lemon. Is that what this gum is supposed to taste like? If so, how is that jelly bean flavored at all? Wouldn't this just be fruit punch?

When opened, you can see that the interior design mirrors the one from the back of the package. You have the playful pattern used as an accent with the same bold pink back drop and white text. If you tear the package in two and close the top flap the jelly bean pattern from the closing flap and the accent panel here match perfectly! That little attention to detail made me so happy as a graphic designer. Everything about this design is so great, except for the very front of the packaging, and that is the first thing anyone will ever see. Was this package even designed by the same team/person?

Okay, enough of my geeking out over pretty colors and patterns, let's see if this jelly bean gum is as awful as I had assumed it would be.

The little stick of gum is striped, just like the other flavors in Trident's "Layers" line, and this time the gum is a salmon-y pink color with a green section sandwiched in the middle. The gum may be pink and green in color, like the jelly beans pictured on the front of the package, but it smell a lot like pineapple. The aroma is surprisingly strong and authentic, although it's more like canned pineapple slices than freshly cut.

I popped the gum into my mouth and I could instantly taste pineapple and green apple, which is a combination I've had before with THIS candy. The flavor combination started out really refreshing, the pineapple flavoring provided a nice amount of tanginess while still tasting impressively realistic, and the green apple flavoring ended up being more on the artificial and sweet side. Together, these flavors balanced out rather nicely and I actually enjoyed them quite a bit.

Sadly, after a few minutes of chewing, the intense fruity flavors died down and a generic, and artificially sweetened, bubble gum flavor started becoming more apparent, which I didn't enjoy. After chewing this for a little more than 5 minutes, I spat it out, but it did leave me with the sensation that I had eaten some real (canned) pineapple.

It's safe to say that there is no "Jelly Bean" flavoring in this gum, but I don't even know how you could recreate that flavor in the first place. Jelly beans taste like other things, so if this was marketed as some kind of tropical jelly bean gum, it would have made more sense. (Although apples aren't really tropical.)

This limited edition gum started out by making no sense, then it's pineapple flavoring wowed me with it's authenticity, but it doesn't have staying power. If Trident layers re-released this as some kind of tropical blend or pineapple and apple layered gum, I think it would have sold a lot better. (And made a lot more sense), but we would have missed out on this beautiful jelly bean design.

If you like tropical flavors and you still see this on the shelves, the pineapple flavoring is really impressive and I'd recommend trying a pack just to check that out, but other than that, I'd say missing out on this particular item is nothing to cry about.
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