The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

More Candies That Shouldn’t Exist - Chicagoist At The All-Candy Expo

By Anthony Todd in Food on May 26, 2009 4:00PM

We saw a lot of familiar faces at this year’s All-Candy Expo, which took place at McCormick place last Tuesday-Thursday. While we saw lots of cool products that made our mouths water, the most striking thing about Candy Expo always seems to be the sheer number of unspeakable horrors that make it onto the market. For each and every one of these products, whole teams of people had to agree that it was a good idea - an image that makes us scratch our heads in wonder. We’ll be profiling some of the better candies (especially local ones) over the coming weeks and months. At the opposite end of the spectrum, unmediated by PR gloss and returning for a second year , come the WORST products of 2009.

  1. Edible Easter Grass. Every Easter, we gaze at the basket full of candy and think, “Why can’t even more of it be made of sugar?” This product attempts to fill this gap, and also encourages your children to think of plastic Easter grass as something edible and tasty. God forbid you ever encounter any other, non-edible Easter grass - your kids will need a stomach pump. Actually, they might anyway, because the candy itself tastes like lightly flavored Styrofoam, extruded into thin strips.
  2. Burger King French Toast-Flavored Crisps. “Eureka!” we envision Burger King executives saying, “Lets take an unappealing breakfast product and make it even more disgusting by repackaging it as a fake Cheeto covered in sugar and artificial maple flavoring!” This product is dry, revolting, tastes like month-old French toast covered in popcorn butter and has absolutely no redeeming qualities, aside from the fact that it comes in a small bag. Close your eyes, it’ll be over soon.
  3. Caffeinated Everything. The theme of this year’s Candy Expo seemed to be, "Add Caffeine to mediocre products and maybe people will be too wired to notice that it didn’t taste very good." We have no problem with Caffeine on principle, but adding it to candies and gums strikes us as an idea with a high potential for disaster. One product, chocolate-covered (caffeine added) coffee beans, has the equivalent of 7 Red Bulls in one small box. Caffeinated mints, gum, chocolates and gummies also showed up, and not one of them was actually tasty.
  4. Weight-Loss Candy. Eating candy to lose weight seems like a contradiction in terms, but this gum, packaged as a weight loss drug, opened our eyes to a whole new realm of horrifying possibilities. Almost as frightening, the rep “didn’t know exactly what was in it - but it wasn’t anything dangerous.” Hmm.
  5. Thirst-Quenching Gum. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like an entirely bad idea - people sometimes chew gum to stimulate saliva production. The sugar-free version of this product isn’t so bad. However, as most of us know, sugar actually dehydrates you - this is the reason you shouldn’t quench your thirst with soda on a hot day. The flagship products of this brand, marketed to athletes, have 3 grams of sugar in every 5-gram piece. It’ll quench your thirst - right up to the moment you pass out.