I Tried All of Trader Joe's Gummy Candy, and the Best Rivals Sour Patch Kids

Trader Joe's Gummy Candy Pile

Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

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Trader Joe's Gummy Candy Pile
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Sugar Rush

I am a gummy candy connoisseur. It's been my favorite candy format all my life, so I was heartbroken when I found out Trader Joe's had discontinued two of my favorite varieties within the last two years (RIP Gummy Tummies Penguins and Mango Fruit and Yogurt Gummies). But that did make room for some new contenders, so I decided to raid the candy section for every gummy I could find. There were only six (I did not count jelly beans, or anything with chocolate), but there was still a clear winner and loser in this ranking. Here are my thoughts on Trader Joe's current gummy candy lineup.

Trader Joe's Sour Scandinavian Swimmers
Lacey Muszynski / Cheapism

Best: Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers

Move over Sour Patch Kids, because Trader Joe's Super Sour Scandinavian Swimmers are giving you a run (swim?) for your money. They're clearly modeled after Swedish Fish, and they've got the same substantial and satisfying, yet soft texture when you bite into them. There are only four flavors in the bag, but each one is very distinct, has a different shape, and is covered in sour stuff. The red starfish taste almost exactly like the classic Swedish fish soured up, but the orange fish, pink strawberry seashells, and blue tropical dolphins aren't slouches. It's a standout mix that'll make any sour candy lover happy.

Trader Joe's Fruity Jellies
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2. Fruity Jellies

Look at those beauties! Fruity Jellies are the fancy gummies in the Trader Joe's aisle, and you shouldn't pass them up just because they're unfamiliar. They're technically jelly, not gummy, which means they're more like a really solid Jell-O than a gummy worm, but they're supple enough that the coarse sugar on the outside provides a great crunchy contrast. Six flavors are listed on the package, though because the colors are similar it's hard to tell each one apart. They look like stained glass, though, so who really cares? Jazz up a cheese board or put out a bowl when company comes over — these gummies deserve respect.

Trader Joe's Scandinavian Swimmers
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3. Scandinavian Swimmers

If you know someone who doesn't do sour candy, these plain old Scandinavian Swimmers are clutch, and only barely play second fiddle to their sour sibling. They have different shapes than the sour ones, but the red, orange, and blue ones are all pretty much the same flavors (there's yellow instead of pink for some reason, with a flavor I can only describe as "pina colada meets peach"). There's been a lot of talk about how disproportionate the amount of red candy is in both versions of Scandinavian Swimmers, so pay attention to the bag if you prefer a more even mix. And if ALL you want is the red lobsters, Trader Joe's sells a small Just the Lobsters bag at the checkout lanes.

Related: I Tried Trader Joe’s New Enchanted Jangle, and I’m Disenchanted

Trader Joe's Beary Tiny Gummies
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4. Organic Beary Tiny Gummies

These are so stinkin' adorable. Beary Tiny Gummies are indeed teeny: each one is about half the size of a regular Haribo gummy bear. They have a soft chew and the flavors taste like real fruit. Though there's no flavors listed on the bag, some seem like grapefruit, apricot, and other more unusual choices. They're a product of France, so it's not terribly surprising there's none that taste like "purple" or "red." They're not my first choice, but it's a great little snack in a small package and kids would probably love them. 

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Trader Joe's Cinna-Dragons
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5. Cinna-Dragons

Look, you either love or hate hot cinnamon flavored candy. I am not a fan, but I still think these do a pretty solid job of delivering on texture and heat level. If I have to eat a hot cinnamon candy, I'd choose these over Red Hots or cinnamon bears. If that shit is your jam, you'll love these. Honestly, these were kind of a palate cleanser after eating all the other candy on this list.

Trader Joe's Tangy Turtles
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6. Tangy Turtles

Tangy Turtles are really awful. They're tough and stale like drywall (yes I checked the best by date, and it's five months out), taste like a glass of Hawaiian punch that's been left in the sun all summer, and the aftertaste is atrocious. Candy doesn't last long in my house, but the rest of this bag will languish until I finally give in and throw them away, uneaten. I miss those penguin gummies even more now.

Related: The Most Unnecessary Flavors From Classic Food Brands