09 August 2011

Candy Wars

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

My family was happy to help with a blind taste test
of 3 different sweets from the US & UK

US (top) vs UK (below)

Clearly the KitKat packaging graphics were very different
but what about the taste?

Everyone agreed the UK KitKat tasted 
'better', 'richer', and 'more chocolaty'

First 3 KitKat Ingredients
US: Sugar, Wheat Flour, Cocoa Butter
UK: Sugar, Dried Whole Milk, Cocoa Butter

US (top) vs UK (below)

Interestingly, although the UK Snickers bar looks bigger 
they were actually the same size
Ah, the magic of marketing

I do think having an image of peanuts on the package 
is a good idea for those with allergies

There was no clear winner on the Snickers bar among us,
as most of us thought they tasted the same

US ingredients: Milk Chocolate, Peanuts, Corn Syrup
UK ingredients: Sugar, Peanuts, Glucose Syrup*

*According to Wiki, glucose syrup is make from starch crops 
such as potatoes, wheat, barley, rice and cassava

US (top) vs UK (below)

I admit to not liking Skittles at all,
but it continues to be one of my kiddos favorites so...

Aside from obvious packaging differences 
(the UK bag looks very 80s to me),
the UK certainly won the prize for appearance 
as their candies were more cheery and brightly colored

Although the US bag did not include blue Skittles,
most of the colors tasted the same as their foreign counterpart

Their ingredients?
Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil (US)
Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Vegetable Fat (UK)

Overall I would say the UK KitKat tasted better than the US bar,
and the UK Skittles looked more appealing in their brighter colors
but otherwise there were no clear consensus

I guess we will just have to try again :)


Maxabella said...

What an interesting idea! It's amazing to me how similar the UK and Aussie product packaging is - and quite different to the US. x

Beth said...

I love this! What a fun thing to do. I must admit to being a bit of a chocolate lover and I'm still not quite used to the Aussie Dairy Milk taste. Someone once told me that there had to be a difference in the melting point of Aussie chocolate? Not sure about that explaination though. I think I'll have to try a blind test here as there is a shop where I work that sells US, UK and Australian sweets and chocolates. Great idea.

Mel Mel said...

Try it sometime with a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar! I can get the UK versions at Cost Plus and they are SOO much better than the American version! Of course Cadbury in the US is made by Hershey. Yuck. Artificial sweeteners anyone? Blah. Canadian Kit Kat bars are awesome too - much better than the US. Fortunately (or UNfortunately depending on my waistline) we live near the border so we make a trip to Canada every now and then for a stocking up of chocolate and Coca Cola (they use real sugar not corn syrup and real flavoring, not artificial) :-)

Ola said...

very interesting! I know more UK version, maybe it is the same all over Europe?

Michelle said...

I love KIT KATs from the UK, the have a richer taste, I always loved trying the "same" candy bars.

Ellie said...

That was an interesting experiment. I didn't think there would be a difference in taste at all. When we holidayed in US a few years ago and tried a Hershey bar we didn't like it. I think it just depends on what you are used to.
The problem is you have just put me in the mood for a snickers bar - oh dear!!

Pet said...

I usually love everything American , no negative bias here, but the Hersey taste, influence, poor quality, or whatever it is, makes eating a chocolate bar quite a negative experience in the US. But then hot chocolate is so good along the US, even in gas stations, while in Europe, with so much good chocolate available is hard to get.
Anybody has got an explanation for this?
Sorry, but chocolate is a thing for me!
PS: Kit Kat used to be a favorite

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Laura

I had no idea that there is a US version of Kit Kat. Sadly, here in Norway I can not buy either. There is, however, a Norwegian copycat called Kvikk Lunsj (Quick Lunch). Even though Norwegians love it, for me, it does not quite match-up to the original.


T's Daily Treasures said...

How funny! When we were in Nepal, hubby bought Kit Kat and Snickers for the kids and they didn't like them at all. Wish I would have thought to bring some here and compare the ingredients. They said that they didn't have enough of a chocolate taste. It definitely makes a difference depending on the part of the world you are in and what is readily available. I don't like Skittles either but the kids love them. Hope you are having a good day! Tammy

Magali @ The Little White House said...

Great post. I would never have thought that the ingredients were not exactly the same for the same candy all over the world.

Kirsteen said...

What a fun post! Glad the UK versions seemed to come out tops :0)

Funny you thought the UK Skittles bag looked a bit 80s as I was thinking the same of the US one! Maybe we swapped designs! (I can't stand Skittles either, although my boys love them. I'm much more of a chocolate girl)

Erin S. said...

Love this post, Laura! When we lived in the UK, there were a reasonable number of expats in the town, so some of the the food and wine shops made some concessions, like stocking American Hershey's "chocolate" bars. I use the quotation marks, because the store had to put a sticker on them saying that Hershey's bars couldn't legally be called chocolate because they didn't meet the required levels of cocoa solids and cocoa butter established by Parliment. I guess if you want to be able to adverstise something as chocolate in the UK, you have to meet the minimum. Then it suddenly made sense why Hershey's is so lame. UK Kit Kats are much better.

Duncan D. Horne said...

Hi, nice comparison but it does sound like the UK versions were the winners! Came across your blog from Linda in Italy's blog comments. I'm from UK but now living in Malaysia.

Duncan In Kuantan

GirlSprout said...

I agree with Mel Mel. UK cadbury is so much better than the US version. You also can't get very good prepackaged sandwiches in the US either, like you can in the UK.

lisaroyhandbags said...

We've done some of these tests ourselves using the Canadian versions. Canadian Kit Kats are much better, but Cadbury chocolate is so much better in UK. Have you tried Werthers candies in UK? So much better!
I just tried Aero Mint Bubbles here in Dubai and they don't taste even close to as good as UK or Canada. And so far chips (crisps) in Dubai and UK don't even come close to the yumminess of Canada/US. :)

LadyLiberty said...

What a great idea! My work colleagues always look at me like I'm crazy when I discard all the purple UK skittles. They are terrible! Blackcurrant blech!

ann said...

I would imagine that your children love to do tastes tests. But what about red dye #40? My granddaughter is quite a sensitivity to red dye. In doing her research, my daughter discovered that Europe has banned Red #40, while the USDA doesn't think that it is a concern; however, American candies sold in Europe are #40 free. What's your view on red dye # 40?

Robynne's Nest said...

Laura, we have found a lot of the u.k. sweets disappointing compared to our Aussie offerings...Kit Kats are sweeter here, I think it's mainly the chocolate...it's much richer and darker in Australia. Malteasers are one of my favourites, but I find they're horrible here...again sweeter...not as rich as home. I think perhaps the English have a much sweeter tooth than us??? Robx

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Robynne- Funny, I think Americans have a sweeter tooth than the UK. I can't imagine Australia is less sweet than the UK :) I'd be miserable :)

Ann - I think hydrogenated oils are banned in Europe too. I think dyes don't belong in food - since you asked :) XOL

Hines-Sight said...

This is a fun post. Interesting difference in the packaging, and now taste. Leigh

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Great post - what fun!! I much prefer Uk Cadbury's chocolate to Hershey stuff but I DO love Reece's cups - oh yum!!!!
I also love all the grape flavoured sweets and things you can get in the US - we just don't seem to have anything in that flavour here.
You're right about the 80s packaging on the Skittles - ha ha!

American in Bath said...

I think the UK snickers taste better. Generally speaking, I found old US favorites in the US were too sweet for me. Clearly, there is something wrong with me. Thanks for the light post.


I agree, UK kit kats are better.

My thought and prayers have been with England in the riots.


Lady Expat said...

What a great idea! I'm going to have to do a comparison with German chocolate bars to American ones.

Pink Princess said...

Great post! I don't think it'd be too difficult to convince the kids to do a second round of taste testing huh...:)

Erin said...

Great idea! I'd like to do a study in taste contrasts with cakes: American-style box mixes vs homemade! :)

Butterbean Row said...

Thanks for the comparison test. It looks like the UK comes in as a winner for me as the first 3 ingredients looks better for you.

Abby Rogers said...

Blind taste tests are always fun! My brother and I were tragically forced to undergo the grueling process of comparing and contrasting the Nestle Aero bar with Hershey's Air Delight. I wrote about it on my blog: http://www.picturebritain.com/2011/08/aero-vs-air-delight.html

Privet and Holly said...

I have to say,
the thought of
you guys sitting
around and performing
these TESTS kind of
cracks me up....And
did you know that many
US companies are
bringing back labels
and packaging from
the 70's and 80's to
appeal to our sense
of nostalgia and value??
So the UK Skittles are
right on the cutting
xx Suzanne

elizabeth said...

I agree with you about the kit kat, it is definitely better in the uk! But my favorite candy from the UK was Malteesers, they were the best malted milk balls and the chocolate melted in your mouth. I think they changed the formula because they are terrible now!

The next time you taste you need to taste against the French also, could be interesting.

Have a great day.