Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How do you define "junk food"?

Can candy be defined as "un-junk" food?  According to a new product, Unreal candy - yes.  Decide for yourself.

Here's the info:
What does “unjunked™” mean?

UNREAL™ is starting with candy, because it’s the worst offender when it comes to “junk” – corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, GMOs, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. To “unjunk” means to replace all these ingredients with real cane sugar, real milk, more peanuts, and twice the cacao.

What makes UNREAL™ products unique?

Our candies contain no artificial flavors, preservatives or hormones; no GMO’s (genetically modified organisms); no hydrogenated oils; and no corn syrup. Instead, we use real sugar, natural oils, and real milk. Also, you don’t need to travel to a fancy health food store or pay a premium to buy our candy, it’s only available where junk food is available.

I was skeptical at first.  I mean, sure, candy is chock full of tons of stuff that's bad for you, like all that stuff listed above, but let's be for real - sugar is sugar, and just because it's in the form of "cane sugar" (or even honey) instead of corn syrup or the like doesn't mean it's GOOD for you.  Plus, it contains two things that are on my latest "foods to avoid at all costs" list - chocolate and palm oil (the former due to child slaves and the latter due to widespread rainforest destruction and orangutan obliteration).

However - candy IS candy, and the company is at least up front about the fact that it is not HEALTHY for you:
Is UNREAL™ a “healthy” candy?

We don’t consider candy to be “healthy” for you. It’s a delicious treat that we love. What we’ve done is give people a better choice, so that when they go looking for candy, they have the option to avoid the junk.

However - I also take issue with the statement regarding hormones and antibiotics in "real milk".  Because - unless the milk used is organic, it probably DOES have hormones and antibiotics in it.

And they also are honest about their sustainability aspect in the packaging:
Is your packaging sustainable?

Not yet. Since we’ve removed the preservatives from the candy, we’ve had to use disposable packaging to keep our products fresh. However, we are currently working on finding a sustainable alternative.

Also, I hate artificial colors and flavors and preservatives, as they can do all sorts of bad things to you.  One of my favorite aspects of this product is they do not put this crap in their candy.  And when you compare their candy to the comparable leading brand, it has WAY less sugar, more fiber, sometimes more protein, sometimes less fat, and fewer calories.  So - if I am going to buy candy, I would definitely go for this.

So, I give Unreal a thumbs up.  The candy was delish.  I especially loved the peanut butter cups and chocolate peanut caramel nougat bar.  BETTER than the conventional counterparts you're used to.  You must try this.  However, I can only plea with the company to look into two aspects of making this candy better:

1) Use fair trade cocoa, as such to avoid the use of child slaves.

2) Find an alternative to palm oil, and thus save the few remaining orangutans and other species which depend on Asian rainforests.

Companies need to step up and become more responsible in their impacts on our world, social and environmental, and this company is doing such a great thing in their attempt to "unjunk" their product, I can only hope they will continue their quest to better their products in every aspect.  If they do this, I'll give it two - no, three - thumbs up.  :)

If you'd like to try it yourself, simply leave a comment below.  I must forewarn you - they arrived a little melted - but taste good nonetheless!  I will choose a commentor at random on August 6.

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