Who says candy can’t be (relatively) healthy? When a 13 year old from Brookline was told by his parents that his Halloween candy was too unhealthy to eat all of it, he asked himself this question. Taking more initiative than most kids his age, he decided to prove his parents wrong. Sadly, he discovered that they were right: candy really is unhealthy. With the help of his father, however, he decided to lead a revolution to take the candies we all know and love, take out the junk, and create something new; something real. A few phone calls led to connections with chefs and professors just as passionate about making candy right, and now UNREAL candy is hitting the shelves at stores across the country.
Perhaps the most genius aspect of UNREAL is the flavors. In the past, attempts at healthy candy commonly work towards creating something new, giving consumers a “healthy alternative” to what they would normally eat. Sometimes the flavors are so bizarre, you don’t even know what you’re eating. Instead, UNREAL draws inspiration from the most popular candies on convenience store shelves. This means you’re eating the candies you know and love: chocolate in candy shells, peanut butter cups, and caramel nougat bars. When compared to the originals, it’s immediately obvious that UNREAL is much lighter and has a more interesting taste, instead of simply being incredibly sweet. The peanut butter cups taste like real peanut butter, and the chocolate is clearly much more natural just based on the taste alone.
In terms of ingredients, UNREAL has simple rules: no corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no artificial ingredients, no GMOs, and no preservatives. Surprising for any commercially sold food, especially candy, is that the average person likely knows (and can pronounce) everything that is in each UNREAL product. Processed sugars are replaced with sugar cane, and artificial coloring is replaced with natural alternatives from beets, cabbage, and roots.
The use of better ingredients shows in the nutritional values. Take, for example, my favorite: the caramel nougat bar. Clearly comparable to a Milky Way bar, it’s much lighter and the flavors are much more obvious; it’s not just a bar of sweetness, it’s food. The UNREAL bar, compared to a Milk Way, has significantly less calories, nearly half the amount of sugar (and that’s real sugar), a few grams less fat, three quarters of the carbs, and a few grams more of both fiber and protein. These changes appear more or less across the board for all flavors, including chocolates in candy shells (both with or without peanuts), chocolate caramel nougat bars (also with or without peanuts), and peanut butter cups.
By unmasking what candy could potentially be, UNREAL may have sparked a revolution. Although only time will tell, the realization that candy could be healthier and taste better may, and hopefully will, lead to changes in the candy industry. Try it for yourself in CVS and Michaels stores, and soon at numerous other retailers including Walgreens, Target, Kroger, Rite Aid, and many more. You can keep up with their progress at getunreal.com, follow them on Twitter at @getunreal, and like them on Facebook at facebook.com/unreal.