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Twizzlers vs. Red Vines 

I owe our awesome, locally owned video store a bunch of money -- more than I'm currently willing to pony up. So, after years of swearing that I never would, I got a membership card to the evil, corporate video store. You know which one I mean. Most of my films arrive via Netflix anyway, but sometimes D. and I want to plow through a whole season of some TV show without interruption, and making a few trips to the video store is part of the deal.

The other day, while after a few discs of LOST, I noticed a package of Red Vines, a red, twisty, rope-like candy I've never seen before. My immediate thought was: "How do these compare to Twizzlers?" I bought a package of each...

Red Vines

Ingredients: Corn syrup, wheat flour, citric acid, artificial flavor, red 40
Packaging: A wax-coated paper tray with a plastic covering. The retro script is reminiscent of comic books or old horror film. Red, white and blue.
Appearance: Rough texture, with a matte finish. Slightly twistier.
Aroma: Very mild and sweet. When you stick your nose inside the package there's a rather nauseating smell, but maybe that's from the paper they use in the packaging?
Mouthfeel: Slightly rough against the tongue and densely chewy. A bit sticky between the teeth. Takes some work to bite off a piece.
Flavor: Sweet, fake fruit with a tiny sour note at the end. I find the final flavor a little off.


Ingredients: Corn syrup, wheat flour, sugar, cornstarch, palm oil, salt, artificial flavor, glycerin, citric acid, potassium sorbate (preservative), red 40, soy lecithin.
Packaging: All plastic, pretty generic script. Also red, white and blue.
Appearance: Completely smooth and shiny. Bottom is flatter than top.
Aroma: Sweeter and fake fruitier.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and easy to bite into. Dense, but not as sticky.
Flavor: Fake fruit and sweetness that grows stronger as you chew. Stronger pseudo-fruit flavor on the finish.

Overall, I like the Twizzlers a little better than the Red Vines, not because I find them delicious but because they lack a flavor note that I found unpleasant. It's the lesser of two artificially-flavored evils, I guess.

Perhaps my familiarity with Twizzlers is skewing the results, although I didn't really grow up eating 'em, and they've never been one of my favorite candies (I'm a Nerds fan from way back, though).

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About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


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