REVIEW: Sparkling Ice Starburst Flavors

Who among us hasn’t been sitting around eating a fistful of Starburst when the thought suddenly occurred — “This candy is great and all, but what I’d really like to be doing is drinking it”? Well, friends, the good people at Sparkling Ice have read your mind (don’t ask why they were there to begin with; you don’t want to know) and are here with a solution: new Starburst-flavored Sparkling Ice.

If you don’t know Sparkling Ice, it is the primary product offering from Washington State’s Talking Rain beverage company, which started in 1987 and had roughly $500 million in retail sales in 2019. (I couldn’t find more recent sales figures; its website DOES have an extensive FAQ section, however, with real think pieces like, “Why did strawberry kiwi turn pink?” “Is the color safe?” “Is Sparkling Ice vegan?” and “Is it normal to have sediment floating in my Sparkling Ice?”)

And if you don’t know Starburst… that’s just weird.

So, does the low-calorie drink accurately capture its chewy sugar cube inspiration? As an avid fan of regular Sparkling Ice products, I was eager to find out.


This was the first one I had, and it was the worst. The taste was somewhere between “citrus aspirin” and an orange-Flintstone vitamin that’d been dusted with a heaping of artificial sweetener. The very first part of the drink made me go, “Hey, this tastes like an orange Starburst,” but everything after made me want to rinse my mouth out with paint thinner. Here’s the deal with artificial sweetener — I have no issue with it. Regular Sparkling Ice has it, and I’m a staunchly Zero/Diet guy when it comes to soda. But this was SO bad that it reminded me of being young and first trying Diet Coke, back when it just tasted like poison to a palate honed on only the finest real sugar cane (or, you know, high fructose corn syrup). In any case, I had no desire to drink more than two sips of this.


Though my first thought when I poured this one into the glass was, “Welp, this looks a little like urine,” I had it immediately after Orange, so, you know, there was nowhere to go but up. It managed to taste like its namesake flavor all the way through and had a fraction of the Sucralose taste, which earned it a second-place finish overall.


It tasted like a cherry Starburst, but it also managed to fall somewhere in the middle of the prior two in terms of the artificial sweetener taste. I also caught subtle cough syrup notes, which didn’t help my enjoyment. (Come to think of it, the actual cherry Starbursts sort of have that medicinal taste, too. So they really nailed the flavor on this one.)


Everyone knows that the pink Starburst is the best Starburst, case closed. (Out of the original flavors, that is. Tropical and Baja varieties really muck up the overall rankings with their deliciousness.) This, too, was the best Starburst Sparkling Ice. It captured the candy’s essence well but was once again marred by the sweetener. While it didn’t reach Orange levels of intolerability, it was still more noticeable than the Lemon kind.

In the end, I was surprised by how much I disliked these. The heavy application of Sucralose kept them from being anything I’d feel the need to purchase again. I’ll stick with regular Sparkling Ices and pilfer the Starburst two-packs from my daughter’s Halloween candy.

Purchased Price: $1.19 (each)
Size: 17 oz bottles
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 1 out of 10 (Orange), 3 out of 10 (Lemon), 4 out of 10 (Cherry), 5 out of 10 (Strawberry)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of total sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starburst Airs Gummies

Starburst Airs Gummies Bag

What are Starburst Airs Gummies?

Here it is, folks, the collaboration between Starburst and Nike that we’ve all been waiting for!

Nah, it’s actually just a new weird spin on Starburst flavored gummies.

How are they?

I guess I should just jump right into it – I think I hated these.

“Hate” is a strong word I try to avoid using, but these things stink.

The entire “air” concept sold me on the spot. I anticipated a unique texture that landed somewhere between those gourmet confectionary marshmallows and gummy bears. I got that, but they were few and far between.

They LOOK pillowy soft, but most of them had the bite of an expired peach ring. Not sure if this makes sense, but the texture was begging for a crystallized sugar coating. That’s the only way that texture succeeds for me.

Starburst Airs Gummies Squishy

For every piece I thought delivered on the name, there were five that were a chore to chew. Some were like Gummy Savers, and some had a dryness to them like the chewy Sea Turtles from Trader Joe’s, which aren’t great, but at least correctly have sugar. It’s like they couldn’t decide which texture to go with, so they just ran the gummy gamut.

The “best” pieces were similar to Haribo Watermelons, which are infinitely better.

Anything else you need to know?

It wasn’t just the texture that threw me off.

The gummies smell exactly like Starburst, but something about the over-chewing reduced the flavor by about 30-40 percent. These just don’t have the Starburst pop I’ve grown to love.

Starburst Airs Gummies Flavors

I know it’s blasphemous to most, but I think Cherry is the worst main Starburst flavor by far, and it was awful here. Strawberry never fails, and I happen to really like the two citrus flavors. Lemon was probably the best, and it seemed to be the softest overall. No idea why, but finally, some justice for Lemon.

Even the pieces I kinda liked that leaned closer to marshmallow were still weak in flavor and left a film on my teeth.


Starburst Airs Gummies Poured out

I can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a snack down simply because I wanted to like it. I was trying to will it, but they just never got there.

Starburst has tried many different texture varieties (these, regular gummies, jelly beans, those straw things, etc.) and has never matched the originals. With that said, I think Airs are easily the worst Starburst candy product to date. Don’t even bother.

Purchased Price: $2.18
Size: 4.3 oz
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (6 pieces) 100 calories, 0 grams of fat, 55 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of total carbohydrates, 20 grams of total sugars, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Starburst Fruit by the Foot

Starburst Fruit by the Foot

What is Starburst Fruit by the Foot?

General Mills’ popular fruity kids treat that has no actual fruit now has varieties that taste like the original Starburst chewy candies — Cherry, Strawberry, Orange, and Lemon.

Starburst Fruit by the Foot Wrappers

What flavor you get in each wrapper is printed in dot-matrix style on the shiny packaging. Oh, how I miss hearing the melodic sound of dot-matrix printers. If you’ve never heard one, here you go. Just leave that playing in another browser tab as you read the rest of the review.

If you’ve never had Fruit by the Foot, which has been around for almost **GASP** 30 years, every roll has about three feet of fun.

How is it?

Starburst Fruit by the Foot Rolls

How these taste can be summed up with the following anticlimactic statement — they taste like their respective Starburst candy. But instead of having to chew on candy pieces that can be somewhat tough like the rope you would gnaw at that’s wrapped around your wrists so that you can’t escape from a laboratory where they do secret experiments on humans to determine how long a person can tolerate the sound of a dot-matrix printer, these are easy-to-chew thin strips of sugar and natural flavors.

I don’t know if this is the sugar talking, but these satisfy my sweet tooth and taste buds. But, now that the sugar is wearing off, if I want candy that tastes like Starburst, why don’t I just buy actual Starburst and also give my jaw a workout.

Anything else you need to know?

If thin fruity flavored strips aren’t your thing, I imagine if you wanted to recreate the Starburst chew with these Fruit by the Foot, you could unravel each strip, peel it all away from the paper, roll it up again sans paper, and squash the whole roll into a solid square block. Although, this has probably been done thousands of times since Fruit by the Foot has been around for almost 30 years.

Starburst Fruit by the Foot Squished

UPDATE: I was bored, so I decided to attempt what I wrote above with a strawberry roll, and it’s still easier to chew than a Starburst. But when eaten like that, it tastes less like a Strawberry Starburst. Weird. Instead, there’s a generic strawberry candy flavor.

Starburst Fruit by the Foot Promise

A box comes with six rolls, and mine came with two strawberry, two cherry, one orange, and one lemon. That appears to be what’s in every box, which I’m glad about because I’d take advantage of Betty Crocker’s Red Spoon Promise if mine came with two lemon rolls.


Starburst Fruit by the Foot is a candy that’s mostly successful at tasting like another candy.

Purchased Price: $2.58
Size: 6 rolls
Purchased at:
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 80 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Starburst All Pink Strawberry Drink Mix

Starburst All Pink Strawberry Drink Mix

What is the Starburst All Pink Strawberry Drink Mix?

When I think of pink drinks, two notable ones come to mind – Pepto Bismol and the Starbucks Pink Drink, which I always hear people talk about but never see anybody order. Joining the ranks of these two bubblegum-hued beverages, Starburst’s new All Pink Drink Mix promises to transform this candy’s most popular flavor into a sugar-free, family-sized, and chuggable delight.

How is it?

If nothing else, the box certainly was right in describing this drink mix as “All Pink.” It’s so pink that I’d say this stuff actually gives Pepto Bismol a run for its money.

Starburst All Pink Strawberry Drink Mix Closeup

Color aside, I think we all can agree the more pressing issue at hand is how this stuff tastes. Does it adequately emulate Starburst’s fan-favorite flavor, or is it more similar to every other strawberry drink mix on the shelf?

After unearthing a pitcher big enough to mix up one of these gallon-portioned stick packs from the dark depths of my kitchen cabinets, I didn’t find this mix to be reminiscent of either of those things. It’s much too sweet to taste like actual strawberries – which is okay, I suppose, since fruit-flavored-candies hardly ever taste like real fruit either. The problem here is that I found this to be too sweet to come close to Starburst’s take on strawberry. Maybe it’s the cloying blend of artificial sweeteners at work here, but I thought this tasted closer to aspartame-sweetened cotton candy than it did to strawberry Starburst.

Is there anything else you should know?

For what it’s worth, Mars, who owns and manufactures Starburst candy, doesn’t make this mix. Instead, this drink mix is licensed and produced by Jel Sert, who seems to specialize in cooking up branded drink mixes that taste nothing like they’re supposed to.


Although I’ve choked down water enhancers worse than this, I can’t imagine anyone ever wanting to buy it in a family-sized bulk box like I did to write this review. On the bright side, though, at least the internet seems to have plenty of recipes for Starburst-themed mixed drinks to give me some ideas for how to use the other seven stick packs I’m stuck with.

Purchased Price: $7.96
Size: 4.34 oz. (8 packs)
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/11 of a stick pack) 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Will “Sweet and Spicy” become the hot new snack trend? Brands have already had success in the “Sweet and Sour” and “Sweet and Salty” lanes, so why not give this a go? I mean, “Sweet and Spicy” isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but as far as the snack world goes we’ve been pretty limited, especially with candy.

So, are you guys as excited about new Sweet Heat Skittles and Starburst as I am?

Why wouldn’t you be? These are two candies that almost never disappoint, and foods flat out taste better when they rhyme. (Not fact checked.)

I don’t think I need to describe the textures of either candy, so I’m gonna jump right in and rapid fire through the varieties.

The Starburst have the color scheme of an original pack, while the Skittles have a pastel tint that reminded me of the “Smoothie Mix” a bit, and made for some color/flavor confusion.

Let me say that the heat is there on all of ‘em. It’s a slow burn. You can taste the fruit first and as you chew it kicks in. There aren’t different intensities. It’s not like some are mixed with certain peppers. With some, the full fruitiness came prior to the burn, while others blossomed after the spicy burst. But that could have been due to the lingering heat already in my mouth.

Sweet Heat Skittles


(Ranked by order of preference.)

Fiery Watermelon – Color is almost the same as Strawberry so I initially thought I didn’t get any in the bag. The delicious watermelon flavor here stuck out the most over the burn.

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like standard orange Skittles, but spicy. No complaints.

Lemon Spark – These are regular lemon Skittles with heat. It’s great.

Sizzlin’ Strawberry – Ever have those half-mint/half-strawberry Ice Breakers? These had a similar artificial strawberry taste. I ate this first and realized they tasted better when I revisited them later. The fake strawberry didn’t hit as hard and thus didn’t taste as phony.*

Blazin’ Mango – Started hot and finished strong with mango, which I don’t really like. Not a huge mango guy.

Sweet Heat Starburst


Skittles are basically little bits of Starburst with a candy shell, so there isn’t that big a difference flavor-wise between the brands, obviously. Since Starbursts take longer to chew, I would say the heat is a tad more prominent here.

Sweet Heat Starburst 2

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like a normal orange Starburst dipped in flavorless mild sauce. Excellent.

Fiery Watermelon – The best Skittle, so why would it be any different here? Well, it did have a bit of a cough drop vibe to it in this form. Still quite good.

Strawberry Mango – Neither fruit stood out. I don’t even think they mixed well, but again I’m not a mango guy. That Halls menthol cough drop sensation was here more so than the watermelon.

Pipin’ Pineapple – This had an intense, not quite ripe pineapple flavor. I thought it would work best with the heat, but it didn’t. It had a pretty awful aftertaste that the spiciness couldn’t even cover up.

In the end, they’re not excessively spicy. They’re not even Warheads candy-level, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but there’s still a nice kick. It smolders for about ten minutes. If I could compare the level of spiciness to anything, it’s like you had something with hot sauce about an hour ago and your mouth is starting to get back to normal.

Some people will complain they aren’t hot enough, but I think they managed to get the heat level right. These are candies after all.

*I actually think the flavors improved slightly on the second go around. Once my mouth had settled on the kick, the fruit popped a bit more. I guess it takes time for the heat to open up the taste buds.

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst 2

There are better varieties of each on the market, and I can’t even think of a time I’d want to eat these again, but they’re both good. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer the Skittles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – Skittles – 210 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Starburst – 240 calories, 40 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Skittles)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Starburst)
Pros: Creative. Not hot enough to ruin your day. Mostly tasty flavors. Starburst and Skittles having a near flawless record.
Cons: When the heck am I supposed to eat these over other variants? May not be as hot as some would hope. Cough drop taste. Shaky Strawberry flavor. Pineapple Starbursts were bad. Skittle color confusion. Not sure the sweet and spicy candy trend will have legs.