Spicy Starburst And Skittles? They’re Real! (Photos)

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By Cooking Panda

I don’t know how I feel about the idea of spicy candy, but it’s here for those of us with a bit of a wild side.

People Food reports that there is a new Starburst Sweet Heat flavor and a new Skittles Sweet Heat. They’re labeled “Fruity Flavors with a Spicy Kick.” It’s been confirmed that these flavors are expected to hit the shelves in December 2017, and they’ll have black wrappers and fiery logos. That way, you won’t accidentally pick one up when you’re only searching for the sweet stuff.

The Sweet Heat Skittles flavors consist of Fiery Watermelon, Blazin’ Mango, Flamin’ Orange, Sizzlin’ Strawberry and Lemon Spark. The Starburst flavors are almost the same, but with a couple of changes. Those flavors are Fiery Watermelon, Strawberry Mango, Flamin’ Orange and Pipin’ Pineapple. I’m curious to hear from someone else how they taste, but I won’t be tasting them! I want my candies chocolatey, not spicy.

These were just two new flavors of candy that appeared at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, hosted by the National Confectioners Association. Susan Whiteside, vice president of the NCA, told Food Business News that spicy is becoming a candy trend. “From flavors like honey sriracha to mango chipotle, confectioners and snack manufacturers both are increasingly turning to sweet to balance out hot, spicy or tangy flavors,” she said.

“We’ve certainly seen some of that in the candy industry before with Red Hots and Atomic Fireball, but this is taking those flavors to the next level and really experimenting with different heat sources as well as different sweet sources.”

If you’re really up for a crazy candy experience, try the new Warheads Hotheads Extreme Heat Worms. They offer a sour, sweet, spicy product that is sure to confuse your taste buds.

Other strange flavors debuting at the Expo were a Vivra Chocolate Curry Cashew and Little Bird Kitchen’s Fire Bites and Fire Bark — which are a line of dark, milk and white chocolates with candied jalapenos in them. Yum?

I guess in the end, we’re probably all a little curious. You know, some people love eating raw mango with chili powder on it, so maybe the spicy-sweet combo isn’t such a new idea after all. I mean, mole has been around forever, and it’s a combination of chocolate and chili powder and other spices that’s used as a sauce on savory foods. Perhaps we’re all just late to the game. 

Sources: People Food, Food Business News / Photo credit: Arria Belli/Wikimedia Commons, Food Business News

Tags: New Candy Flavors, Skittles, Spicy Candy, Starburst
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This Guy Created A Machine To Sort Candy By Color (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

Willem Pennings, a mechanical engineering student at Eindhoven University in the Netherlands, is known for his engineering projects, which he enjoys working on in his free time. He is proud to say that some of them have even reached the front pages of Reddit and Imgur. I guess you can say Pennings knows what’s up when it comes to making cool stuff.

His latest project is a candy sorting machine that sorts M&M’s and Skittles according to color (video below). Pennings says that he’s always wanted to do a project like this one for sorting colored candy, and that one YouTube video provided the inspiration needed to make it happen. The candy sorter in that video looks just a little different from Pennings’ version, but the idea is the same.

In his blog, Pennings describes how he created his own machine using an Arduino controller, stepper motors, an RGB color sensor and 3D printed parts. He goes on to explain how the machine actually works, sorting M&M’s and Skittles by obtaining optical measurements using the RGB color sensor. The machine sorts about two pieces of candy per second, and usually makes it through a whole bag in two to three minutes.

So, here’s how it works. Candy pieces are poured into the “hopper,” which is the funnel-looking device at the top. While in there, the candy pieces are constantly mixed so that the machine doesn’t clog. There’s a scanner wheel with four slots at 90 degrees apart for performing measurements, and after the sensor takes three measurements, the item’s color is determined. That’s when the exit tube is chosen to guide the candy piece to the correct container. The LED strip that encircles the machine isn’t just there to look decorative (although it does do that), it’s actual purpose is to provide visual feedback.

I’m not sure when or where this product would come in handy, but it’s still pretty neat. Watch it in action in the video below to truly be amazed by Pennings’ genius.

Sources: Willemm.nl (2), Willem Pennings/YouTube / Photo Credit: Willemm.nl

Tags: candy, Candy Sorting Machine, M&Ms, Skittles, Willem Pennings
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Why Are We Feeding Skittles To Cows?

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By Cooking Panda

If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering just what would happen if an entire road were magically covered in delicious red Skittles, then boy are you in luck.

A road in southeastern Wisconsin was found to be covered in hundreds of thousands of red Skittles (identified by their distinct Skittle smell, rather than their signature “S” stamp).

While some might find this a nuisance, the spillage of Skittles actually ended up being a benefit for the road, which had been icy beforehand; the little candies improved traction and made it safer and easier for vehicles to maneuver over the road.

But that’s not all, folks.

At first, CNN reports that nobody knew how or why the Skittles ended up on the road. All they knew was that the road smelled familiar and yummy, and that the weird incident was helping with car traction.

After a while, however, CNN reports that the sheriff’s department later was made aware of the cause behind the spillage: Skittles, as it so happens, are actually used as cattle feed.

Yes, your classic movie snack is also the choice snack of cows, due to their cost and the amount of carbs they provide.

Livestock nutritionist with Grain Plains Livestock Consulting, Ki Fanning, told CNN: “(It) is a very good way for producers to reduce feed cost, and to provide less expensive food for consumers.”

The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office posted about the Skittle spillage on Facebook, and the post has been getting mixed reactions from meat consumers about the practice of feeding cattle the candy.

“Candy is a garbage food for people, so feed it to cows, which we are going to eat? Naturally occurring sugar, fine. Not highly processed, artificial dye crap called candy. No, I do not eat candy,” said one commenter.

“The only thing a cow should be eating is grass, in a pasture.”

“I, for one, welcome our new cherry-flavored beef overlords,” joked another.

What do you think about the candy-cow controversy? 

Sources: CNN, Dodge County Sheriff's Office/Facebook / Photo Credit: Dodge County Sheriff's Office/Facebook

Tags: candy, Cattle, cow, cow feed, Skittles
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How Irresistible Do These Valentine’s Day Treats Look?

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By Cooking Panda

It’s that time of year again folks!

The end of January 2017 is upon us, which means the next big holiday slated to hit calendars — Valentine’s Day — is fast arriving.

Whether you choose to participate in the festivities or not, plenty of companies globally decide to unleash new products in honor of the celebration (and likely trying to capitalize on one of the many “Hallmark Holidays” designed to get us to spend money).

One such chain that is pumping out a slew of Valentine’s Day-themed treats is Walmart, and if we’re being totally honest, we’re pretty excited about some of the items slated to hit the shelves.

For example, do these white chocolate cheesecake-flavored M&M’s look delicious or what? 

Described by Brand Eating as a blend of both graham cracker and cheesecake flavors mixed in with a white chocolate center, and all encased in a delicious candy shell. The 8-ounce bags retail for $2.88 and come in shades of red and pink for Valentine’s Day.

Next,  Hershey’s is debuting some Conversation Kisses that come in a record-and-play box that will help you record a message to your Valentine, which is ultra-sweet. The milk chocolate candies inside the Conversation Kisses Recordable Message Heart box are wrapped in foil and have classic messages printed on them like “XOXO”, “UR SWEET” and “Hug Me”. A 10-ounce box will run you $14.98.

Lastly, check out this adorable Skittles Valentine’s Heart Box; they’re just your typical Skittles candy, although the packaging is hard to resist. Two heart-shaped boxes come in each 8-ounce package, which you can buy for $5 at Walmart.

What do you think? Are you excited for Valentine’s Day?

Sources: Brand Eating / Photo Credit: Walmart via Brand Eating

Tags: Hershey's, M&Ms, Skittles, valentines day, Walmart
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Why Are There So Many Yellow Skittles?

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By Cooking Panda

When you reach into a bag of Skittles, you’re supposed to be reaching into a bag that allows you to, as its slogan actually states, “taste the rainbow.”

Now I don’t know about you, but a rainbow to me entails many colors — colors that are represented equally. A rainbow isn’t a monochromatic stripe across the sky. It’s supposed to be radiant, and representative of many hues.

Of course, you can expect that in every candy bag, the ratio of flavors isn’t always perfect. M&Ms supposedly all taste the same, for example, but for some reason my favorite one has always been green, and there have been plenty of times I’ve opened up a bag only to discover there were an overwhelming amount of, say, blue ones, with no green chocolate pieces to be found.

And apparently, such is the same fate with Skittles. However, some Skittle-loving Reddit users decided to analyze the quantities of each color in sample Skittle bags they accrued, and came to the rather disheartening conclusion that, in fact, yellow is the most common Skittles color.

Yes, fam: yellow. AKA, the most underwhelming and inferior flavor of them all!

According to one Reddit user, however, the inequality could boil down to any number of possibly explanations. For one thing, Skittles are sorted by their colors into individual vats when they are being made. If the yellow ones somehow ended up crossing over into an additional section, it could potentially result in their over-representation in Skittles bags.

Hmm…

Other users suspect that it may have to do with ordering too much of one specific dye, writing: “Well the yellow dye may be their biggest order and they just make orange by mixing some yellow and red dye (instead of buying separate orange dye), and because of the bigger starting vats of yellow they may end up making more yellow towards the end of a batch to clean out the vats and start fresh.”

Yet another thinks it has to do with making the treats look more appetizing: “I bet you they do that on purpose, put more yellow in, to give the bag/bowl more overall bright color. If they gave more dark ones the bowl would look black and dark and almost like chocolate.”

But overall, most everybody agreed with one thing: “While I find it comforting that green has the lowest amount, I still can’t bring myself to buy a bag since they changed green to apple. Disgusting.”

Sources: Reddit / Photo Credit: Skittles/Instagram

Tags: candy conspiracy, candy factory, Skittles, yellow skittles
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Skittles Slurpees Are Coming To 7-Eleven! Which Flavor Will Be The Best?

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By Cooking Panda

From Sept. 12-18, you can buy one Slurpee and get one free. What better time to try the new Skittles Slurpee flavor??

According to FoodBeast, 7 Eleven has introduced a new Slurpee flavor of Skittles Green Apple. If you weren’t ready for summer to end, here’s a nice crisp summer taste to help you pretend it’s not quite fall yet.

Go and buy one, and get the other free for a friend to try! They are available nationwide, so there’s most likely one nearby, wherever you are.

7 Eleven has been known to match Slurpee with candy, like a Sour Patch Kids Slurpee this summer. Sadly, I didn’t get to try it, but it was based off of a Sour Patch favorite: watermelon. Perfectly summery.

I wonder if this green apple Skittles flavor is successful, if we’ll see even more Skittles flavors become available? As far as that goes, where are our other Sour Patch Kids flavors? Let’s see some more craziness!

Personally, I’d like to see a combination flavor of a couple of different Skittles flavors, like maybe the green apple flavor swirled with cherry or lemon-lime. On the other hand, what kind of fall flavors could we hope to see? I’m  not sure a pumpkin Slurpee would go over too well, but I guess we can sip our green apple Skittles Slurpees and dream.

Source: FoodBeast / Photo credit: Slurpee/Instagram

Tags: 7-eleven, Skittles, Slurpees
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