In my Candy Addict staff profile, I joke that I adhere to a strict organic, vegan diet to balance my rabid candy consumption. Though thatâ€™s not entirely true, if it were I could find sweet organic, vegan refuge in Zootons. What are Zootons, you ask? Well Zootons are beings hailing from Zootopia, of course! And they are here to save Earthling children and adults alike from bad candy.
And how do they do that, you ask? Why, by generously sharing their homelandâ€™s chemical-free, fertilizer-free, gelatin-free, organic, vegan candy with â€œout of this world tasteâ€ of the same name. Naturally! And in the spirit of promoting healthy habits and practicing what they preach, Zootons also donate a percentage of their profits to Healthy Child, Healthy World, a non-profit organization campaigning for healthy environments for children.
And while these are all excellent reasons for both vegan and omnivorous Addicts to give Zootons a try, we all know that when it comes to candy it really just comes down to taste (I mean, if it tastes like organic dirt it still tastes like dirt, right?), so letâ€™s get to the important stuff. Zootons come in four varieties: Gummies, Colas, Jellies, and Sours. And hereâ€™s my breakdown:
Though Zootons Gummies, Jellies, and Sours each boast four â€œreal fruit flavors,â€ my eyes were only ever able to detect three muted colors: red, orange, and yellow. Now personally, I found their all-natural tones to be a nice change of pace from the chemically-enhanced hypercolor candy rainbow Iâ€™m used to, but hey, I tend to be a sympathizer to the earthy, crunchy sect.
GUMMIES: These moon-shaped treats more closely resemble a fruit snack than a gummi, with a less stretchy, less chewy, less shiny texture than your typical gummi and a more jelly-like (or even jello-like) interior. They come in four flavors: pineapple, blackcurrant, orange, and raspberry. The yellow (pineapple) was sweet, but underwhelming. The orange (orange, though I think it goes without saying) flavor wasnâ€™t terribly strong, but it was good. And the redâ€¦ ahh, the redâ€¦ even after a few samples I couldnâ€™t tell the difference between raspberry and blackcurrant (and Iâ€™m just guessing that they were both red-ish hues), but the red was my favorite of the bunch. A nice fruity red flavor.
COLAS: These amber-colored stars mimicked the Gummies in their matte, almost powdery finish and their smooth bite. They donâ€™t have any real discernable scent and their taste is of a mild cola. It doesnâ€™t jump up and scream â€œCoke!â€ (might be kind of scary if it did) but rather creeps up gently and lingers on the tongue. Iâ€™m not much of a cola fan, so these arenâ€™t really for me, but theyâ€™re a nice alternative to gummi rootbeer and coke bottles.
JELLIES: Star-shaped with a sugar crystal crust, these are the most appropriately-named of the quartet, as theyâ€™re definitely more â€œjellyâ€ than â€œgummi.â€ And with their crunchy texture they reminded me a lot of Chuckles. Again, four flavors but three colors â€“ this time strawberry, pineapple, blackcurrant, and lemon. I had a couple yellows that tasted very sweet and exactly like dried pineapple. Like, if I was blindfolded I might not have known the difference. So that was pretty impressive. And though I couldnâ€™t differentiate the flavors between the orange and red (maybe I have some sort of colorblindness of the tongue?), I found them both to be pleasantly fruity.
SOURS: A slight misnomer, in my opinion, as these sugar-coated moons were only negligibly more tart than their Jelly brethren (and you really have to be looking for it). Sour Patch Kids these are not. But actually, they were my favorite of the bunch. The yellow had good lemon flavor with a slight sour punch (or maybe â€œtapâ€) at the end. The orange was enhanced by its mild sour effort and the red (strawberry and/or raspberry) â€“ though I found it not sour at all â€“ remained consistent with its general red goodness.
So Iâ€™m gonna go ahead and declare these a winner for me, with the caveat that you approach them as fruit snacks or jellies rather than gummies. An excellent choice for vegans, those who are nutritionally and/or socially conscious, and those who just like tri-colored, celestially-shaped, fruity decliciousness. Unfortunately, theyâ€™re not widely available yet, but keep your eyes open in Whole Foods and your local natural food stores, or check out their website for more info.
Editor’s Note: I was able to differentiate between the strawberry and blackcurrant flavor in the gummies, but the flavors of all are definitely very mild – a nice change from the ilk of blue raspberry (there is no such thing in nature!) that seems to pervade most candy these days.