People love licorice.
That’s not usually the debate.
No, the debate around licorice comes down to “what flavor?”
As a kid, we probably all experimented with the cherry, the strawberry, the chocolate, and the traditional black licorice (which is the only true licorice flavored with liquorice extract). We may even have tried the candy in various forms, including the popular twist or ropes.
Well, Welch’s is pretty smart in understanding what people like about licorice. It has introduced something with the familiar flavors—strawberry and grape—but in a new form that is getting attention: it has jelly inside.
The product is the result of a partnership between Frankford Candy and Welch’s. It’s a smooth licorice—thicker than the usual rope, and more the size of a twist, but with its own distinct personality and flavor. The soft licorice outside has a filling made with real fruit juice and fruit pectin, with a flavor that makes you sit up and take notice.
“We’re proud of what Welch’s and Frankford Candy have accomplished together,” said Lino Marrero, Business Development Manager at Welch’s in a news release. “This is a fun innovation that appeals to a broad audience. Kids will love the soft, easy to chew texture and the fun jelly filling while adults will appreciate the bolder, real fruit flavors."
Of course, when the candy came in to the Food Channel Test Kitchens, we considered that a challenge. So we assembled a few of each of the target.
The kids came back with an overwhelming, “Where can I get more?”
And the adults? They loved the jelly component, and commented on the stronger flavor than they are accustomed to in licorice candy. Perhaps because they are accustomed to something a little chewier, a couple thought the texture of the actual licorice rope was too soft. “I like a harder licorice,” said one tester, “but if it were any harder the squishing experience might not work. The inner jelly was about perfect.”
And, in fact, the flavor sent a few of them back to childhood. Said, one, “I enjoyed the grape. It immediately reminded me of Welch's grape soda, which is one of my very favorite flavors from childhood. That great zingy grape flavor.”
The general consensus was that it was fun and unusual to eat, which is exactly what you’d expect from licorice with jelly in the middle.
So, while this new form of licorice doesn’t change the debate, it does narrow the choices. Give us jelly filled licorice. But should we buy strawberry or grape?
We’ll let you decide.