Del Monte has been quite the busy bee innovating in the fruit cup® aisle. Check that registration symbol – did you know it trademarked something as generic-sounding as “fruit cup”?! You know it means business. The brand has launched two new lines within the past year: Fruit & Oats and Bubble Fruit.
Bubble Fruit is not quite as telegraphic as Fruit & Oats. So, what is it? According to the back panel, “We’ve added popping boba to our tasty fruit cup® snacks for an unexpected burst of flavor! Popular in bubble tea and frozen yogurt shops, popping boba burst and release a blast of fruit flavor when you bite them.” These new cups come in three tasty, seemingly low-risk flavors: Sour Apple Watermelon, Pear Berry Pomegranate, and Peach Strawberry Lemonade.
If you haven’t had popping boba at the aforementioned bubble tea and frozen yogurt spots, they’re balls of juice. With food magics, juice is encapsulated in clear edible spheres. It’s inspired by its starchy cousin from Taiwan, which is usually submerged in milk tea. The original’s chewy texture and dark brown/almost-black texture can be off-putting. So, popping boba is like a friendly, colorful version!
Full transparency, I haven’t enjoyed the popping kind as much because I’m a bit of a traditionalist. However, when I see something from the motherland hit mainstream shelves, I can’t help but be compelled to try it and exclaim, “Look Ma, we made it!!”
When I first lined up all the flavors, I thought they all had really pleasant hues of pinks and oranges. Without the outer packaging, it was tough to discern what the flavors were. Also, they were a nightmare to open.
The first one I opened squirted all over me and let me tell you, it was not pleasant to smell like Del Monte’s interpretation of “pear berry” all day. I thought it was user error the first time, so with the second one I carefully tried to open it. But it still spilled a bit on my table. With the last one, I gave up and decided to puncture the plastic film and carve along the edge with a paring knife. I recognize most people eating this on-the-go would not have a knife handy like this. So, thumbs down for packaging.
So now that it was all over my shirt and I was slurpin’, poppin’, and eatin’, I concluded that neither of the three delivered on the more complex fruit fusion promised in the flavor names. For the peach, I didn’t get the strawberry lemonade at all. For the sour apple watermelon, there was no tang or melon. It tasted mostly like pear, even down to the texture. For the pear one, there was a slightly sour edge which could be reminiscent of a pomegranate, but if I had to get one flavor again, it would be the Pear Berry Pomegranate.
I also decided to try all three cold AND at room temperature. The cold version seemed to balance the somewhat squishy texture of a fruit cup better. It was also like drinking cold juice, which is always better than drinking room temperature juice!
I also found the popping boba was less of a “burst of flavor” than I was used to. I think it’s because it’s submerged in all this sweet juice, so it subdued the impact.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard not to like fruit in sugar water, but it overpromised and underdelivered on flavor for me. Overall, it’s different from everything else that’s out there, so try it for the novelty at least!
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 4 oz. cup 4-pack
Purchased at: Walmart (Pear Berry Pomegranate and Peach Strawberry Lemonade) and Target (Sour Apple Watermelon)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Peach Strawberry Lemonade)
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Sour Apple Watermelon)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Pear Berry Pomegranate)
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 60 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of total sugars, 6 grams of added sugars, and 0 grams of protein.