Saturday, April 23, 2011

Orbit Strawberry Remix

Flavor: Orbit tends to prefer adding mint to their non-mint varieties (see Maui Melon Mint, Strawberry Mint or Raspberry Mint for examples), and it was difficult for me, for a while, to get into Orbit because of it. I'm a purist, I suppose - I don't want mint in my Bubblegum. If I want a cooling, fresh feeling I'm gonna pop a Peppermint or a Polar Ice. However, with the introduction of last year's Perfect Peach, which was, indeed, darn near perfect, my opinion of Orbit as a general line started to come around. Strawberry Remix is straight-up artificial strawberry, and I totally dig it. A tangy, juicy burst on first chew, this gum mellows out into a delightful fruity chew that lasts and lasts. It totally reminds me of the Hubba Bubbas and Bubblicious strawberry cubes of my youth. The flavor is so good, it tastes like it could be a sugared gum.

Texture: It just doesn't get better than this. From start to finish, the gum remains modestly firm, yet fantastically flexible enough to produce big, awesome bubbles that won't stick to your nose. The wad itself is smooth and silky - none of those weird white grainy bits that have been annoying the crap out of me lately with other brands.

Presentation: As evidenced by our poll to the right, it seems that the general feedback on the Orbit fashion packs is neutral to positive. Most of you don't seem to care either way, so I'm going to stop complaining about them moving forward. If you like the fashion packs, you'll like this one, if you think they're dumb, you won't. I certainly don't feel that my fashion sense is somehow enhanced when I pull this out of my purse. I will say, though, that the outer wrapper of this gum was simply stunning. What a gorgeous rendition of a plump, juicy strawberry! Seems such a shame to waste such beautiful graphics on a cello wrap that's going to be thrown away immediately.

Overall: I can't find a single fault about this gum. I've bought this gum to review four times, and three of those times I couldn't help but chew through the entire pack before reviewing it. It's juicy and refreshing, fun to crack and pop. If you're looking for a fruit bomb to add to your summer chewing lineup, you're going to want to buy multi-packs of this one. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

Rating: ooooo (five gumballs)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stride 2.0 Forever Fruit

Flavor: From what I understand, this whole Stride 2.0 thing is supposed to be an improved formula that enhances the chewer's experience in some way (they even preemptively say "you're welcome" on the inside of the package for doing you the favor). As we've witnessed in the comments on our review of Stride 2.0 Spearmint, however, Stride fans aren't finding much improvement in the formula at all-- in fact, you all are pretty angry about the change. And I don't blame you. Original Stride Forever Fruit was bursting with flavor, so much so that if you weren't totally in love with it, it could be a bit overwhelming. Forever Fruit 2.0 hardly has any flavor at all-- hints of that original mango flavor are there, but are subdued so much that it's frustrating to even try to detect a flavor at all. I don't see any improvement here. I don't remember there ever being a problem with how long the flavor lasted for any Stride flavor, so if that's the improvement, there wasn't anything that needed fixing in the first place.

Texture: The texture is softer than I remember the Original Forever Fruit (Stride 1.0?) being, and it gets mushy quickly. They certainly didn't improve any formulation here.

Presentation: The integration of design on the plastic protective wrapping has become increasingly popular in the gum market. This is an interesting and innovative move, but the wrapper is removed immediately upon purchase, so it really has no impact other than selling you the product. Orbit uses this technique nicely in their new fashion packs, as most of the labeling and need-to-know-before-purchase information is presented on the outer wrapper, and once you're through making your educated decision on what gum to buy, you remove the jargon and are left with a a clean, funky pack that you can coordinate with your outfits. I took the wrapper off this particular pack of gum, so it's not pictured here. The wrapper design featured a half-zipped zipper, unveiling the new formula right before your very eyes. If only Stride unveiled it before your very tastebuds.

Overall: I was in Quick Check with my father the other day and he bought 12 packs of Original Stride Non-Stop Mint because he's so disgusted by the new 2.0 line and dismayed that he'll have to say goodbye to his favorite flavor. It's a very risky campaign-- totally renovating an entire line of a product, especially in a market so addictive and personal as gum. You'll sell plenty of gum by enticing customers to try something new and exciting using a clever marketing campaign. But you'll sell more packs to people like my father, who swear by their flavor and brand. They've selected their flavor, and they will continue to buy it for as long as it's on the shelves. This borders on betrayal for guys like him. If you want to launch a 2.0 gum, it's wise to launch a sister line, rather than replace the old one entirely. As is the case here, many loyal chewers will find a new brand to call their own.

Rating: o (one gumball)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

5 React2 - Mint

Flavor: Although Wrigley's would like you to believe that this is some life-changing, personalized gum-chewing experience, it's just mint. Undefinable, even - there's no definite type of mint, here... nary a pepper- or spear- or even winter. Just. Mint. And it's a very, very mild mint, at that. I'm chewing it right now, and I can still taste the Cheddar Horseradish Kettle Chips I ate an hour ago. If that's your thing, you'll enjoy this, but I prefer a cooler, crisper, more refreshing blast of flavor in my mints.

Texture: Unspectacular. Way too soft - little strings of it get stuck in my dental work, and weirdly bumpy. When I took it out of my mouth to investigate the bumps, and stretched it between my fingers there were all kinds of little white flaky gobs in it. What the hell is that? It's gross. I guess the gobbies might go away with prolonged chewing, but I don't know what would define "prolonged" as I've chewed for 15 minutes or longer and they were still there, in some form.

Presentation: I always love 5 packages. Sleek and awesome-looking. A long time ago, back when the React line was first released, a fan wrote to us to tell us that the little thumb-print on the back of the pack changed colors like a mood ring. I never shared that little tidbit because I could never get it to happen. Either 5 slowly rolled out the mood packages, or my fingers were always too frigid (which is entirely possible). But check it out - the package totally changes color!

Other than the cool packaging, I just don't know about this. The gum itself remains a weird black color, which is just unsettling. Why black?

Overall: I dunno, I guess as a gum this is alright. It's certainly nothing special, despite the cool packaging. I'm still mad at 5 for this whole React thing, and now they've gone and slapped a "2" on the package and want you to think that it's something entirely different. Well, here's the thing: It's not. It's the same mediocre crap with a "2" slapped on it. Well, React, here's your "2" slapped right back at ya:

Rating: oo (two gumballs)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

America's Choice Superfresh Peppermint

Texture: Growing up in a tightly budgeted household, I've developed an appreciation for store-brand grocery products. In many cases, I even prefer the store brand to brand name products, and have come to refer to them by their strange, generic titles-- "Pick up a pack of Shoprite Chocolate Stripe Cookies while you're out?" A true connoisseur of store brands, however, understands that there are things you buy store brand (cookies), and things you don't buy store brand (frozen pizza). In this case, folks, we're in luck. The texture here is of standard pellet construction-- crunchy start, consistent finish. It doesn't stale and maintains a nice bite throughout the chew. The pieces are a little small for me after a while, but I find that's true with most pellet gums.

Flavor: It's a fine representation of the peppermint flavor we all know and love, slightly sweet at first, followed by a cooling, fresh mint flavor that lasts and lasts. It doesn't last forever, in this case, but long enough for a refreshing half hour chew. And if you want more, just take another from the whopping twenty pieces you're afforded in each pack.

Presentation: Ok, so the design leaves something to be desired. But what do you want from a store-brand? It almost is helpful that the design is sort of lo-fi and cheesy, as it signals the bargain nerve in your brain that shouts "That looks crappy, so it must be cheap!" When I was a kid, my mom would buy products that came in all-white packaging with plain black lettering that said "NO FRILLS" on the front and indicated the exact title of the product ("MICROWAVABLE MACARONI AND CHEESE;" or "CANNED BEETS") beneath it. And who cares about a design when you discover there are not one-- but TWO sleeves of pellets to enjoy inside!

Overall: America's Choice gum ought to be a true competitor against such gum giants as Dentyne Ice and Trident. Indeed, they surpass all of the others in cost alone-- I paid $1.09 for this pack, which contained twice as many pellets as a brand-name package (at a higher cost, no less). Next time you're in Pathmark or Safeway or A&P or whatever local grocery store near you carries American Choice, grab a pack or two and delight in the inexpensive sensation of Superfresh!

Rating: oooo (four gumballs)