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The Great Jelly Bean Taste Test of 2022
Snack and Destroy's official tasting team ate jelly beans from Brach's, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Froot Loops, Trolli, Nerds, and more to decide once and for all, "Which bean is best?"
It’s jelly bean season, mother snackers!1
According to the National Confectioners Association’s State of Treating report, more than $4 BILLION was spent on Easter candy in 2021. Business Insider reports jelly beans are the second most popular Easter candy behind chocolate eggs and bunnies.
That is so many candy beans!
Every Easter more candy companies try to get in on the bean bonanza. Classic candies like Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, and Sour Patch Kids are now offering seasonal beans and, new this year, are jelly beans that taste like Froot Loops cereal. (Maybe not a good thing, more on that in a minute.)
There’s no way anyone could eat allllllll these jelly beans, right?
This is exactly what Snack & Destroy was made for! I gathered up 13 expert tasters to sample 11 different kinds of jelly beans in a blind taste test.
Big Chewy Nerds Jellybeans scored the highest with 12.4 points out of a possible 15. The score would’ve been higher but one voter gave the beans just a single point in each category because “These are not jelly beans. 😑” They drew the little unimpressed face and everything.
The Nerds beans are not your traditional bean, it’s true. They have a hard and crunchy sugar shell akin to the original Nerds candy, so if that’s not your jam, move on down the list.
Welch’s Jelly Beans and Trolli Sour Brite Jelly Beans came in second and third place by just a fraction of a point and SweeTARTS Jelly Beans and Sour Patch Kids Jelly Beans rounded out the top five, respectively.
It’s worth noting that Sour Patch Kids had one of the highest flavor scores — 4 out of 5 points — but their appearance brought their average down a bit. Their shape and size — a little blobby and small compared to the average bean — threw folks off, as did their fantastically unnatural neon color.
It’s also worth noting that the Starburst Original Jellybeans fell to Sour Patch Kids by just 0.05 points, so if you’re the rounding-up type (and I am) they tied for fifth place. (That said, I personally would’ve voted the Starburst beans higher had their green bean been lime instead of green apple. Blech.)
The big loser was the Froot Loops Jelly Beans. Those gross little sugar turds racked up just 6.7 points out of a possible 15. They really are not good! As one taster said, they are “weirdly bitter and dusty tasting.”
Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans received a very low score, too. The flavors are super artificial (relatively speaking) and they’re hard and kind of waxy. So weird.
Read on to see how each bean scored in each category; all single category scores are on a scale of 1-5.
1. Big Chewy Nerds Jellybeans
Orange, strawberry, lemon, and grape
“Weird but great.”
“Surprising sharp flavor. Pretty good!”
“These are not jelly beans. 😑”
2. Welch’s Jelly Beans
Concord grape, strawberry, white grape peach, raspberry, and orange
“Very fruity, juicy.”
3. Trolli Sour Brite Jelly Beans
Cherry lemon, strawberry grape, orange mango, raspberry strawberry, grape apple, and lemon raspberry
“Love the pattern on them.”
“Pretty colors but too much sugar.”
“Not a traditional appearance but I like!”
“Weird perfumey flavor.”
4. SweeTARTS Jelly Beans
Cherry, lemon, grape, blue punch, green apple, and orange
“They’re chewy and chalky?”
“I like how crumbly they are but the flavor is old-people-candy.”
“Tart! Are these like a SweetTARTS collab?”
5. Sour Patch Kids Jelly Beans (tie)
Lime, lemon, orange, redberry, and blue raspberry
“Too grainy and chalky.”
“As a child of the sour candy generation, this gets top marks.”
“Great red bean!”
5. Starburst Original Jellybeans (tie)
Strawberry, cherry, orange, green apple, grape, and lemon
“Needs more crunch.”
“Brighter colors, please!”
7. Skittles Original Jellybeans
Grape, lemon, lime, strawberry, and orange
“Sticky, not too sweet, but almost too subtle.”
“Tastes like Skittles.”
“This is clearly a Skittles jelly bean and on one hand I’m thinking, ‘Why make a Skittles jelly bean?’ But sometimes Skittles are hard so I can see the function.”
8. Russell Stover Pectin Jelly Beans
Cherry, lemon, grape, lime, orange, pineapple, and strawberry
“Gummy but a little grainy.”
“Could be smaller. I don’t want big JBs.”
“Nice and plump and shiny. Each flavor tastes distinct and yummy!”
“Not impressive at all.”
9. Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs
Pineapple, lemon, lime, orange, raspberry, cherry, grape, and licorice
“Licorice. Not my fave!”
“Big, classic. All flavors taste the same.”
“OK. Not outstanding.”
“The go-to jelly beans for me.”
10. Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans
Strawberry, orange, watermelon, grape, blue raspberry, and green apple
“Too sticky and tough!”
“Waxy and the flavor doesn’t last.”
“I like the turquoise.”
11. Froot Loops Jelly Beans
Flavors are not specified
“Weirdly bitter and dusty tasting”
“Blue tastes like sweet Pine-Sol.”
For this post, I spell “jelly bean” as two words, per Merriam-Webster, unless the company uses “jellybean,” one word, in their official branding.