Artificial fruit flavors some in all varieties, some are better than others.


photo by Bethany Barker

Charcasm is a reoccurring column where Online Editor Charlotte Mansur, voices her opinions on unique topics.

After digging through the freezer,  you find a box of sugar-free popsicles leftover from last summer under the bag of frozen peas. One remains in the box, wrapped carefully in white plastic. After close examination and heavy squinting, you are lulled into a sense of security. That is, until you peel back the plastic, only to be met with your worst fear: a putrid, purple color that can only mean it is grape flavored. 

All flavors were not created equally, and in cases, like the popsicle, the inequalities are glaringly apparent. 

The fruit that should be voted first off the Artificial Flavor island is, of course, grape. Overbearing and unrealistically sweet, the grape flavor has no place in common candies like Jolly Ranchers or Skittles. Its musky tang and the licorice-like aftertaste can leave you with a headache. Sure, some find grape flavor appealing, but for all the wrong reasons. Grape flavoring, in its poor attempt at mimicking the real thing, is the black sheep of the flavor family. While other flavors resemble their muses, the artificial grape does not do real grapes justice.

One flavor that does a much better job at matching its assigned fruit is orange, yet it lacks the punch and excitement some of its peers possess. Orange flavored candy is the equivalent to vanilla ice cream; no one hates it, but no one really likes it either. Orange’s syrupy zest is emphasized in treats like Fanta soda or Tic Tacs, but it gets muddled when mixed with other flavored candies like orange jelly beans, which often get overlooked. 

In the case of jelly beans, red flavors like cherry, strawberry and raspberry have always been the stars. Cherry flavored Starbursts are always the first picked out of the pile, strawberry Pop-Tarts are the first to go out of stock during a hurricane and even Prince wrote a song about his raspberry beret.

 The reds are the favorite but are by no means the best, and completely overrated. Cherry, whether its dark cherry, black cherry, wild cherry, or any of cherry’s unnecessary sub-genres, always tends to have a medicinal taste that reminds you of childhood traumas at the pediatrician. Strawberry never really tastes of anything other than just straight sugar. And raspberries’ greatest achievement as a flavor can only be applied to the Lifesaver, and that is not saying much.

The real crown jewel of flavors is green apple. Green apple tastes like a green apple without trying too hard. It can be hard to find a good green apple candy, but when you do it makes all other fruit flavors look like black licorice. Laffy Taffy, Jolly Ranchers, and even Skittles the superior candy franchises in my book for giving us the gift of of green apple candy. 

    Everyone has different opinions when it comes to fruit flavors, but whether you are a cherry flavor junkie or an orange fanatic, we all can agree that grape popsicles should be thrown away immediately after unwrapping.