REVIEW: Sour Patch Kids Apple Harvest

In August, I feverishly go from store to store, trying to find new Halloween/fall products to review for this site. I know all the grocery stores near my home and my places of employment.

Oddly enough, I couldn’t find these Sour Patch Kids Apple Harvest at any of the usual stores. Instead, after a random tip in my Facebook feed, I finally found them at Michael’s, of all places.

New candy seems out of place at a craft store. But this particular candy also seems out of place with the Sour Patch Kids moniker.

These apple-shaped pieces come in three flavors: cranberry apple (red), apple cider (tan), and caramel apple (green).

The most startling thing to me is that these are nowhere near as sour as regular Sour Patch Kids. They’re mildly sour, but not very much. They also are not nearly as colorful as regular SPK. I wondered if they might have used natural colors, but nope, there on the ingredients list are Yellow 5, Red 40, and Blue 1. And I do think they’re softer than regular SPK, so there’s less of a jaw workout.

As for the flavors, cranberry apple really does taste like cranberry. There’s a mild bitterness that you might expect in cranberry sauce, but the apple makes it less pronounced. Apple cider tastes most authentic and has the most noticeable apple flavor. And caramel apple has a strong caramel flavor, albeit an artificial one.

Look, I really want to love these. They feel like a more sophisticated version of SPK. And yet, they just aren’t as good. They fit with the apple-scented potpourri or candles you might find at a craft store. They need to be more sour. As is, they’re just a generic apple candy.

These are called Sour Patch Kids, but they are neither Sour nor Kids. That leaves us with Patch. But that doesn’t work either because apples grow in orchards, not patches.

I feel like Michael’s is an expensive place to buy candy. If you want to try these, wait until they make their way to a cheaper store. They’re just not worth Michael’s prices.

Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 10 oz bag
Purchased at: Michael’s
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (9 pieces) 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 25 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of sugar (including 25 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Brach’s Fall Favorites Candy Corn

Between 2020 and 2022, Brach’s brought us some, um, interesting collections of candy corn based on autumnal meals: Turkey Dinner and Tailgate.

But now it’s 2023, and Brach’s has decided to spare us the meat-flavored candy, instead giving us a new theme: Fall Festival! (Truth be told, most of these flavors sound more like summer than fall. But there’s no green bean flavor, so I’m not going to complain.)

There are six flavors.

Kettle Corn (yellowish) reminds me of Buttered Popcorn Jelly Belly. It has that slightly savory flavor but with a good dose of sweetness. I dig it! 8/10.

Caramel Apple (brown and red) has been a candy corn flavor for a long time, and it’s the same as it’s always been. The red is an artificial apple, and the brown has a caramel flavor that tames the fruitiness. 7/10.

Cotton Candy (pink and blue) doesn’t have much flavor, but neither does actual cotton candy. It’s very sweet, just as you would expect. A little boring, but still pleasant. 7/10.

Lemonade Shake-Up (red and yellow) has a citrus flavor. I can’t tell if the red and the yellow parts are different flavors. It’s not as good as an actual lemonade, but I still like it in candy corn form. 7/10.

Strawberry Funnel Cake (pink and tan) tastes like those hard candies with the soft filling that come in the shiny red and green wrappers. But there’s also an element that tastes like something fried. It’s my least favorite of the batch, but it’s not bad. 6/10.

And finally, Lemon-Lime Snowcone really does taste like its namesake, Sprite, or any other lemon-lime thing you might enjoy. I can easily imagine myself dipping a spoon into icy goodness instead of biting off a soft candy corn tip. It’s my favorite. 8/10.

Now, this should go without saying, but you have to like candy corn to like this mix. Brach’s is the best brand of candy corn I have had. This mix wouldn’t be as good if it were executed by one of those inferior companies. (\*gives the side-eye to Zachary Confections\*)

In the space of three days, I have eaten nearly the entire bag. Usually, I get sick of regular candy corn much more quickly. And, of course, I dreaded eating certain flavors of the Turkey Dinner and Tailgate varieties, but not so here.

Brach’s has seen the error of its ways and given us a candy corn mix that is both fun and tasty! I approve.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Lee’s MarketPlace
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (15 pieces) 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 22 grams of sugar including 22 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Campfire Smores M&M’s

Many Halloween and/or campfire stories talk about something coming back from the dead. And that’s what we have here with these new Campfire Smores M&M’s.

There was a s’mores variety back in 2016, but that one had a crispy center.

This 2023 edition, on the other hand, has a milk chocolate center with a layer of white chocolate. The s’mores aspect comes from artificial flavoring. Oh, and now the folks at Mars (not to be confused with the folks on Mars) have dropped the apostrophe in smores, and they have decided that smores are for fall/Halloween instead of summer.

(In fairness, though, I’m reviewing these in July, so the summer connection still applies. There was even a pool toy on the Walmart display of Halloween M&M’s.)

At first, I wondered why the crunchy texture that evoked graham crackers was dropped. But after tasting the M&M’s, I’m not even mad. It turns out this back-from-the-dead flavor is not scary after all! They really do taste like smores. The chocolate comes from chocolate, obviously, but I also taste graham. I’m not sure if I detect marshmallow, but then again, marshmallows don’t even have much of a flavor. Texture-wise, it seems the M&M’s are going for the gooey part of the smore rather than the crunchy part, as evidenced by the gooey chocolate in the “Smores” branding.

I also enjoy the orange, black, and white color scheme, which screams Halloween, more than the orange, purple, and green “Ghoul’s Mix” of the standard flavors. The colors also evoke those of a smore, provided you use bright-orange graham crackers. (Make it happen, Honey Maid!)

In past years here at TIB, I have reviewed other Halloween M&M’s of dubious relevance — Cookies and Screeem and Creepy Cocoa Crisp. I like these better than the CaS, but not as much as the CCC.

Oh, and I compared the prices and sizes for the previous seasonal M&Ms. In 2017 and 2019, they were $3.19 for an 8-ounce bag. In 2023, they’re $3.96 for a 7.44-ounce bag.

Shrinkflation is the real monster in this scary story.

Purchased Price: $3.96
Size: 7.44 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (28 grams/about 16 pieces) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 25 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 18 grams of sugar including 17 grams added sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

Click here to read our previous M&M’s reviews.

REVIEW: Swedish Fish Blue Raspberry Lemonade

What are they?

We just got Sour Patch Kids Lemonade Fest, and one of the flavors, blue raspberry lemonade, is spotlighted in Swedish Fish, the Kids’ confectionary cousin.

How are they?

Of the four flavors in the Sour Patch Kids Lemonade Fest, I’m not sure why blue raspberry lemonade got the Swedish Fish treatment. In the SPK mix, I thought it didn’t have a strong flavor, but at least it was sour, so it evoked lemonade.

Here, though, it really doesn’t taste like anything. It’s just sweet. I can maybe taste lemon if I squint. But I’m not going to squint because there’s no tartness to make my eyes do funny things.

In my junk food drawer, I have a bag of red, white, and blue Swedish Fish Mini, which includes both blue raspberry (blue) and lemon (white). Each of those has a more discernible flavor. But for some reason, the flavors just get diluted when they’re mixed together.

And there’s another thing: I think these would work better in the mini format. The full size is just too big, and it’s not worth chewing that much for a mediocre flavor.

Anything else you need to know?

Sometimes if you eat too many Sour Patch Kids, your mouth starts to hurt. So at least that’s one thing these Fish have going for them that the SPK mix doesn’t: they won’t hurt your mouth.


Unfortunately, Swedish Fish Blue Raspberry Lemonade are a forgettable candy that doesn’t evoke either blue raspberries or lemonade.

Purchased Price: $2.75
Size: 8.04 oz bag
Purchased at: Dollar General
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (5 pieces) 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 15 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugar (including 23 grams of added sugar), and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Arby’s Americana Roast Beef Sandwich

I don’t eat at Arby’s often, but I have to admit there’s a reason it’s known for its Classic Roast Beef Sandwiches. The texture and flavor of the beef are so perfect that I will joyfully eat the sandwiches plain, and I always loved it when my parents would bring home a bag of them. And I say that as someone who generally goes for meatless or poultry options.

For the summer, Arby’s has brought us the Americana Roast Beef Sandwich, which includes seven elements: roast beef, red onion, sesame seed bun, American cheese, tomato, shredded lettuce, and burger sauce. I assume they call it “Americana” because those are classic toppings for an all-American cheeseburger.

I shouldn’t need to explain the vegetables to you (although if you’re a regular reader of a junk-food site, maybe I do). No one eats American cheese expecting it to be a gourmet experience, and this cheese was no different.

As for the burger sauce, if you had offered me a sample of it on its own and asked me if I wanted it on my sandwich, I probably would have said no. It has a tanginess, probably from mayo and mustard, that wasn’t that appealing to me by itself.

Although I was underwhelmed by the cheese and the sauce on their own, I quite enjoyed the sandwich as a whole. The cheese and the sauce provide the right texture and keep the sandwich from getting too dry, and the flavors work well with each other. The vegetables bring a welcome freshness. You’re probably not going to Arby’s if you’re looking for something that tastes and feels fresh, but I appreciated the veggies here. And the roast beef is exactly what you would hope and expect from Arby’s. The bun, as usual, is a benign but passable vehicle for the other elements.

I actually had one of these before I committed to reviewing it, so I went back for another one. And after I ordered my sandwich, the cashier told me there was a deal for two for seven dollars. I might have to go back and get that deal for lunch and dinner one day. So it’s good enough for me to want to eat it more than once!

Is the Americana sandwich better than the Classic? I wouldn’t say so, but it is a refreshing variation.

Purchased Price: $5.19
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 493 calories, 221 calories from fat, 25 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1459 grams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 27 grams of protein.