Smarties Squeeze Candy - Five Below
It's like candy and toothpaste had a baby just to spite dentists everywhere. This kind of squeeze style liquid candy has been around for quite some time and they're really popular with small children, but you don't need to be a child psychologist to understand why. It's liquid sugar, with bright colors, packaged in a squeeze tube. What's not to love? I remember buying a bunch of Hubba Bubba's Squeeze Pops from Blockbuster video back in the 90's and thinking I was the coolest kid on the block, but looking back, eating them was super awkward and messy, and I honestly don't remember them tasting all that great.
I was walking around Five Below a few months ago to get some sour sweets for the Candyology 101 podcast, and I saw this lonely tube of squeezable candy sitting on the shelf. I picked it up for a closer look and someone who was restocking the merchandise said it was really popular and that they couldn't keep it in stock. Welp, that sold me! Into my handcart it went. I wonder 28-year-old-me will like this stuff as much as 8-year-old-me.
Smarties are one of my favorite candies, and they were actually invented right here in New Jersey! (That should be on our state flag or something, I mean states have a bird and a produce item, is there an official state candy?) This plastic tube features the classic Smarties logo, and it has colored stripes to mimic the little rolls of tablet-shaped candy, but all of the colors are a lot more vibrant and saturated. Smarties tend to be pale pastel colors, and this looks like something you might find in Rainbow Brite's house. (Do any of you even know who Rainbow Brite is? My sister and I LOVED her growing up and we still watch Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer on a regular basis. I even though about cosplaying the evil princess, who looks like Kimber from Jem and the Holograms, but with an evil glam-rock edge to her. Okay, enough of my 80's upbringing...back to candy!)
This bold packaging photographs beautifully and I can see why it appeals to kids, because these colors are gorgeous! So it looks great, but how does it taste?
I peeled back the little foil safety seal on the tube and the candy inside was bright red! Smarties are always pastel colored, so I assumed this would be some kind of pastel hue, but it's not. This is red. Super red. (As opposed to super green.) It's so red that I don't want to know how much food coloring went into making it...but it smells really nice. Kind of like cherry slushies and freezer popsicles.
I squeezed a smiley face onto a plate, complete with little lashes, and this is what Pixie Stix would look like it you mixed them up with corn syrup. I took a taste...and you know what? I LIKE IT! I really thought this was going to be a flop, but it's pretty tasty. The red sugar gel has a thick toothpaste-like consistency, but it's gritty and kind of chalky, similar to the texture of actual Smarties tablets, but with all the flavoring of a cherry Icee or freeze pop. The flavoring is bold, and nothing like Smarties, but it does have the gritty powdery texture of it's namesake candy, it just tastes like a 90's roller rink cherry Icee. This was the last tube in the shop, so I don't know if ti comes in other flavors. I mean, Smarties come in a lot of colors, and this tube is rainbow striped, does that mean there are more flavors out there and I just happened to get the red one? Or is red the only one available? Either way. I went into this thinking I was going to hate it, but I'm really enjoying this little tube of candy! Eating it is still really awkward though. I don't like the idea of squirting this directly into my mouth, and I don't like the idea of squirting this onto my fingers either, but how else am I supposed to eat it? With a candy toothbrush? (Dentists everywhere are either sobbing, or their rubbing their hands maniacally like a super villain.) At the moment I'm squirting various designs onto a little plate and scraping them off to eat them, which is kind of fun and makes this candy more interactive. I'm really liking this tube of sugary pasty goodness, but I think one is enough for me. I might not repurchase, but this was a lot of fun and I got a lot of sugary paste candy for my money. (And a lot of childhood nostalgia.)