Review: Walgreens' Peelable Banana Gummies Offer The Perfect Excuse To Play With Your Food

bag of peelable gummy bananas
bag of peelable gummy bananas - Steven Luna/Mashed

When Walgreens got clever with its signature brand Nice! by creating a peelable mango gummy, a fun interactive twist that invites sweet treat savorers to play with their food, the tangy fruit goodies became a TikTok sensation that sold like hotcakes. After hitting pay dirt with its fun snacks, it was only a matter of time before one of the largest drugstore chains in America followed up with another whimsical, sugar-filled wonder. This time it is in the form of Nice! Peelable Gummy Banana candy, continuing the trend of tropical tastes with a playful presentation and plenty of novelty.

The idea of peelable candy is nothing new; Twizzlers has done it for decades with its pull and peel style spaghetti-like licorice whips. But a house label candy creation emulating the function of actual fruit in a sugary treat is a prospect that requires investigation to prove plausibility. After all, innovation isn't an expected phenomenon in the world of generic snacks; those are usually copycats of items already proven to be big sellers. As soon as I heard these springy banana bonbons were making their way into the world, I knew I had to open a pack, pull back the skin, and see what they were all about.

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The Ingredients Are Similar To Other Gummies, With The Addition Of Banana Concentrate

hand holding gummy bananas
hand holding gummy bananas - Steven Luna/Mashed

Anyone who's ever eaten gummy bears — or any other gummy shape, for that matter — knows the essential gummy trait is The Bounce, that exciting boing-boing quality that gives your teeth a run for their money as you chew. Nice! Peelable Gummy Bananas come through with a recipe that's not dissimilar from other gummy candies, living up to expectations. All the ingredients that make these goodies fun to nosh on are present, including substances like glucose syrup, glycerol, gelatin, carnauba wax, and agar combined in a premium mix that chews nicely without sticking to your teeth, another essential gummy trait that makes eating them by the handful perilously possible.

As for the flavorings in the recipe, it's refreshing to see concentrated banana juice included as one of the featured ingredients, which accounts for the fun tropical flavor. Other banana-flavored candies like Laffy Taffy and Runts toss in suspiciously generic "natural flavors" associated with banana confections that few candy fans enjoy. Seeing a company use actual banana in its formula is a sweet surprise. Yes, artificial flavors are also listed on the label, but at least Walgreens is trying. Similarly, the chain includes mango jam in its Peelable Mango Gummies and pineapple juice in its Pineapple Gummies, so the real fruit factor isn't just a one-off.

These Treats Are Priced At An Appealing $1.99

platter of peelable gummy bananas
platter of peelable gummy bananas - Steven Luna/Mashed

One of the most attractive features of Nice! Peelable Gummy Banana candy is the price point. At $1.99, it's almost shameful for gummy fans not to scoop up a pouch and see what they're all about. Even if they turn out not to live up to the hype, it's easy enough to try them out without feeling like you've wasted cash. With Walgreens stocking other gummy brands like Albanese, Black Forest, and Haribo for around $3 a bag, give or take, regular-priced gummies are something of a deluxe purchase. An eye-catching option among the Nice! collection that can be had at a modest cost is sure to gin up interest.

It turns out the price for these sugar-soaked chewers is no fluke, but a regular practice for Walgreens with its Nice! Gummy candies. You can find gummy bears and worms in 4-ounce bags for 1.99 as well. By not jacking up the price on a fun new release, Walgreens seems to be aiming to keep budget-conscious candy fanatics coming back for more. It's an economical move that lets you add exciting fruit shapes to your candy salad, just in time for summer get-togethers and warm-weather movie nights.

Get These Gummies At Your Nearby Walgreens Starting In June

three gummy banana candies
three gummy banana candies - Steven Luna/Mashed

No release date has been specified yet, but you should be able to drop in at a Walgreens and find Nice! Peelable Gummy Banana candies sometime in June 2024. Though it's a little aggravating not to know exactly when you can count on finding these fun nibbles on store shelves, half the draw is getting snackers excited enough beforehand to inspire outrageous buzz when the candy finally arrives.

When Nice! Peelable Mango Gummies showed up in September 2023, they became a viral smash that saw droves of eager consumers rushing in to grab as many bags as possible, leading to an ebb and flow of stock. The madness was so overwhelming, Walgreens had to limit purchases to one bag per customer! The Pineapple Burst Gummies didn't generate quite the same amount of electricity, though they had TikTok appearances of their own.

No doubt, the company is hoping for another sugar rush from customers who can't wait to see how the next flavor in the series compares. And there's no word from Walgreens that this is a limited edition deal, so there's a chance the candies will be a permanent part of the snack line-up. After all, it would be silly to slap an end date on the product if sales are soaring.

These Gummy Bananas Are The Latest In A Growing Line Of Interactive Gummies

bowl of peeled gummy bananas
bowl of peeled gummy bananas - Steven Luna/Mashed

With Peelable Mango and Pineapple Burst Gummies setting the stage, the possibility exists of a whole tangle of tropical-themed interactive candy. It's a suite of sweets with limitless potential; imagine a fruit stand filled with gummies you can fiddle with, like bunches of grapes you can pop off the stem or peelable oranges that come in pre-sliced segments (not like gumdrop-style orange slices, which are more jelly than gummy). There's even the possibility of multiple flavors being represented in a single treat, similar to half-and-half gummy worms.

The idea may be expandable in a variety of directions, but it isn't original to Walgreens. Fascinated fans can check out Peelerz on Amazon in mango, peach, and yes, banana, an undeniable indicator that Walgreens has nicked the notion of its Nice! candies from Amos, a Las Vegas candy manufacturer that infuses treats with an element of interactive fun. And the orange slices mentioned above? One of Amos' ideas, too. You've got to love free market competition.

This Candy Is Fruit In Name And Flavor Only

hand holding peeled banana gummies
hand holding peeled banana gummies - Steven Luna/Mashed

Despite their resemblance to actual bananas, there's nothing nutritious hiding under the chewy skins. The ingredients do feature banana concentrate high on the list, but the result is more for flavor than for adding a healthful boost. True, the gelatin found here as in other gummy candies is a trendy element rebranded as collagen and sold as a supplement thought to regenerate essential tissues. But if you're committing to consuming a bag of these charming chews to get your collagen fix, you may want to rethink your nutrition strategy.

The news isn't all bummer-worthy, though. Per the facts on the label, a bag of these gummies contains 15 bite-sized pieces; a five-piece serving rings up at 90 calories, with 16 grams of sugar. While this is 32% of the daily recommended allotment for a 2,000-calorie diet, it's in line with other gummy candy nutrition facts, which means you're not going too far afield if you opt to try these treats or add them to your regular rotation. It is candy though, so of course, making a meal of gummy bananas isn't a solid plan, no matter what the facts on the bag look like.

Review: These Bold Banana Bites Offer Novel Fun And Bountiful Flavor

banana gummy candies in dish
banana gummy candies in dish - Steven Luna/Mashed

It's such a simple concept, and yet the fascination and wonder it presents as an interactive candy is astounding. This isn't like snapping together candy LEGOs or squeezing colored gel out of Crazy Hair candy dispensers; this candy mimics the real experience of peeling fruit, with a second color for the center that's as close to a real banana as you could hope for. There's no way to work the peel off the fruit without smiling. And when you taste the powerful banana flavor that offers a closer essence than most banana candies, the payoff ends up being well worth the effort.

With further sampling, I found the peel to be unevenly distributed on some of the pieces, thinner on one side and letting the inner banana show through. It made peeling a stickier prospect for those pieces, but it didn't compromise the flavor or the enjoyment. All told, Nice! Peelable Gummy Banana candy is an excellent next addition to the growing line of sweetly-priced interactive candies. I'll be watching eagerly to see what the next crop brings. In the meantime, there's a jungle's worth of fun snacks to keep me busy.

How I Taste-Tested These Treats

peelable gummy banana candies
peelable gummy banana candies - Steven Luna/Mashed

This may have been one of the most intriguing taste tests I've ever engaged in. My mind raced with questions: Does the peel have a different flavor than the inner banana? Do they have different textures? Can you remove the skin and reshape it like a banana or does it fall apart? Waiting for the tester pack felt like a candy-lover's Christmas Eve. It took great restraint not to cruise to my Walgreens to see if they'd magically appeared ahead of the release date. Yeah ... that's how excited I was.

The sample arrived after a trek through the Phoenix heat, which meant the skins had melted at bit and stuck to the inner banana gummy. After a resend with the candy packed on ice, I was able to get solid separation between the banana and the peel. I peeled more than one, tasting the banana itself, then the peel, then both together. Even unpeeled, the slug-like shape was a fun new twist on the gummy groove that felt like eating bugs, but in the best possible way. In essence, the method I used to taste these treats was that of a one-year-old with a smash cake. If I had to repeat the process, I wouldn't do it any differently.

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