Taste Test: New Red Vines Made Simple Vs. Original Red Vines

While our ancestors didn’t shy away from milk, butter and meat, today, it seems we’re always trying to find healthy alternatives to our favorite foods — myself included. Swap this ingredient for that, use this sugar substitute instead of the real thing, try butter made from almonds instead of peanuts.

Luckily, for those of us who prefer lightened-up versions of foods we love, tons of companies are jumping on the health-food bandwagon. From Coca-Cola with no sugar to Breyers’ low-calorie ice cream, it’s becoming easier and easier to splurge on our favorite foods without feeling too guilty.

Now, you can even find healthy alternatives to your favorite candies, right at your local grocery store! Licorice is already a good choice because it’s fat free, but now, Red Vines has an even healthier version of the treat for those of us wanting to keep our diet just a little more “simple.”

Red Vines Made Simple has only five non-GMO ingredients, including one our ancestors would probably approve of: real sugar. Cane sugar tops the list, followed by wheat flour, citric acid, natural berry flavor and radish extract for color. That’s right — no “red” or artificial flavors here, just ingredients you can pronounce.

But how do these new, more health-conscious, licorice ropes taste? I decided to put them to the test against the original kind.


What’s On The Labels?

While the calorie count is the same as original Red Vines, 100 per three twists, the carb and sodium amounts are slightly less. Interestingly, there are 18 grams of sugar in Red Vines Made Simple, versus just 12 grams in the original style — however, it’s real sugar!

The real change though is those five ingredients and no genetic engineering, which is used in the production of the original Red Vines — and a ton of other foods. Both products are made in California, in a certified zero-waste facility.


Taste Test

I am all for trying new, simpler foods, so when given the chance by Red Vines to compare the taste of the product, I was definitely on board. As a lover of the original Red Vines, the first thing I noticed was that the Red Vines Made Simple version is flavored “Mixed Berry” instead of the traditional “Red.” Obviously, that means they are not going to taste exactly the same, but mixed berry? Hand ’em over.

I had a very willing taste-test participant in my husband, so we tried both together, going for the originals first. I can confirm that, yes, the Red Vines Made Simple twists do not taste just like the originals, but for having different ingredients and a different flavor, they’re pretty darn close.

Kaitlin Gates

The Verdict

My husband and I both agreed that we actually liked the Red Vines Made Simple licorice better — which surprised both of us. Not going to lie, I’ll for sure continue to eat both of them, but the new twists actually seemed to burst with more flavor than the traditional Red Vines.

The texture of both was basically the same, with the Red Vines Made Simple twists being slightly chewier and a bit thinner than the original Red Vines. Package sizes also differ, with four ounces of Red Vines Made Simple costing about the same as five ounces for Red Vines.

My conclusion? I think I’ll actually go for the Red Vines Made Simple twists if given the choice again. Not only were they surprisingly really good, but calorie count aside, I just felt better about eating them.

red vines licorice photo
Flickr | Incase.

When given the choice, do you prefer food options with fewer ingredients?