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Lunch Buddies Tropical Banana Applesauce (Aldi)

You know, I like applesauce quite a bit, but it just never ends up on my grocery list. I think it’s probably because it exists in the weird middle spectrum of apple products: it’s basically mushy, ground-up apple. So if I want an apple, I’ll eat an apple, and if I’m thirsty, I’ll just drink apple juice. This means that the “sauce” version of this delicious fruit is relegated mainly to when I’m sick, or have some kind of oral surgery that demands that I eat something soft. It’s not quite fair to the apple world, but it’s an uncomfortable truth.

But one of the quickest ways to capture my attention is to use the word “banana”, which is high up there as one of my favorite fruits. It’s almost impossible to screw up a banana product, especially when it’s made with actual banana puree (as this is). Another great keyword that immediately perks me up is “tropical”. I love many things that are tropical, because that word recalls something sweet (like tropical fruits), but it also makes me think of tropical islands, which would be a fun place to visit.

Pair all three up, and I was destined to buy this the moment I saw it in the store, and that’s exactly what I did. My wife didn’t seem to be too thrilled—I actually thought she would think the combination would sound good—but uttered not a single word of protest as I placed it in the cart. Then again, she really didn’t need to say anything, because the look she gave me said it all.

Ironically, the look she gave me as I put it in the cart is probably similar to the look that crossed my face the first time I took a bite. Even though it’s made with real apples and bananas, the “tropical” aspect of additional fruits is apparently reproduced with “natural flavors”, which just stands for a jumbled mess of unidentifiable chemical sweetness. The flavor never gels together as a cohesive unit, instead tasting like two separate products accidentally blended together into one, and it has a medicine-y aftertaste that sits in the back of the throat and threatens to never go away. It all just comes off as tasting really artificial, which is a shame given the actual fruit that it contains; it’s like a work-in-progress lab experiment that somehow got packaged up and put on store shelves.

I feel like it might have worked a little bit better if they’d have just stopped at apple-banana applesauce and called it a good day; it certainly couldn’t have been any worse. I realize the market for this is probably lunchtime for younger children, but I don’t even think a majority of them will take to the flavor of this…that’s how bad it is. Even though it retails for a mere $1.49, which is a great price for six applesauce cups, I won’t go near this stuff again. Although this is a good time to remind everyone about their money-back guarantee…

Overall: 2/10. Sickeningly, disgustingly sweet, but even more offensive is that there is no identifiable taste…it starts off sweet, with apple being the main flavor, then it just goes downhill, with a jumbled mess of sweet flavors that taste almost medicinal. It has real banana puree and apples, so the culprit is probably the “natural flavors” which make up the “tropical” portion of the title—and they are completely unnecessary. I love sweet things, but these threaten to give me a headache before I even finish a cup…that’s how strong they are. I’m doubting even children will take to its vague flavor. It gets two points for being affordable (six cups are a mere $1.49), and Aldi does have their money-back guarantee, but it’s not even worth the gas required to drive back to return it. Terrible.

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