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Wana Bana Apple & Banana Fruit Puree (Dollar Tree)

I was aimlessly wandering through Dollar Tree the other day, which is something I like to do. I wanted some type of snack, but had nothing in mind. The usual suspects popped up – chips and cookies, and the like – but none of them sounded good. Been there, done that. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew what I didn’t. So the search continued.

Then I saw Wana Bana’s line of fruit puree pouches, nestled snugly on a shelf. You know that feeling you get when you see something you know you have to have? Yeah, I got that. It was similar to how I felt when I saw my would-be wife for the first time. Actually, it was nothing like that at all. But I did know I had found the snack that I wanted to take home. The only hesitation I experienced was deciding which flavor combination to try, as Dollar Tree carries four of them. That reluctance didn’t last long: I just grabbed one pack of each.

Up first we have arguably the “safest” option of the bunch: Apple and banana. It’s a rather typical combination because I’m pretty sure they’re the two most popular fruits in America. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re two of the most “mainstream”, with that delicious sweetness that American’s crave, but without sugars and unnecessary chemicals. They are like candy in fruit form (we’re just going to ignore the “baking” apples like Granny Smith). Combine them together, and you have a concoction that is literally impossible to screw up.

Wana Bana only reinforces this near-fact. This is exactly what I was expecting: A combination of sweet and more sweet that really coats the tongue in deliciousness. I would say the apple stands out a bit more, but the banana plays a noticeable supporting role. In other words, it tastes the way it should, and goes down smooth. I can’t see fans of both fruits being even the least bit disappointed.

This being from Dollar Tree, though, does open the door for some concern. After all, many of their food products seem to have added fillers, or natural flavors, or other chemicals to “enhance” the taste (or aroma) on the cheap. Certainly some corners have to be cut to keep their products within their target price point. This bucks that trend: There are no added sugars, and the ingredients consist of banana and apple purees in the top spot (and in that order). There is the addition of citric acid – common of these pouches and billed as an “acidulant” – as well as ascorbic acid which serves as an “antioxidant”. But that’s it. It’s nice to see healthier products like this showing up at Dollar Tree.

The value is also excellent. The $1.25 price tag will net you three pouches. This works out to $.42 per pouch. At face value, it seems like a no-brainer; that’s the cost of many single name brand pouches elsewhere. Dig a little deeper, and you might find cause for concern: Each Wana Bana pouch is only 2.5 oz. This is a little less than the “standard” 3.2 oz. size of other labels. However, keep digging and you’ll realize this works out to about $.17 per oz. This is on par with (or cheaper than) the per oz. price of other store brands. What makes this even better is that the 3-pack size is perfect for testing out all the flavors. Other brands often rope you into purchasing multi-packs of at least eight to get any kind of reasonable price break. But the smaller pack size means consumers can try as many (or as few) varieties as they want, while still offering a competitive price.

I have mentioned many times before that I feel like I have to tread with caution when buying food products from Dollar Tree. I mean, if you buy a phone charger that doesn’t work, then it won’t really affect you, outside of not being able to charge your phone. But food is a completely different experience, because it provides a more “intimate” sensory experience. There’s the smell, the taste, the texture…not to mention the fact you’re going to put it directly into your body. And I’ve been burned a fair number of times from inferior snacks from the discount store.

But if the quarter price increase means more products like this will consistently be appearing in-store, then my only question is: Why didn’t they do this years ago?

Overall: 8/10. This is a great product at a fantastic price. The added ingredients are minimal (ascorbic and citric acids; no added sugar) and the taste is excellent. I’d say the apple seems to stand out a bit more, but the banana makes its presence known. Honestly, it’s a “safe” blend that’s virtually impossible to screw up. That also means the flavor isn’t really going to “stand out” over any other brand. Yet the $.17 per oz. cost is a fantastic value comparable to (or better than) most other store brands. This is a great choice for those looking for “healthier” snacking options at Dollar Tree. Here’s to hoping they keep coming out with more.

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