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eBay

The Reviews Are In On Oreo’s New Swedish Fish Cookies

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eBay

Earlier this week, Oreo—which in the past year alone has brought blueberry pie, fruity crisp, choco chip, and cinnamon bun flavored cookies to the table—announced that it was pulling yet another unexpected flavor out of its Wonder Vault: Swedish Fish. In general, the public reacted in one of two ways: Yay! or WTF? (probably a bit more of the latter). And now that people have had a chance to actually try them (they’re available exclusively at Kroger supermarkets, and only for a limited time), the taste tests have happened ... and the response doesn't seem to be great. ("Cough medicine" has been referenced in more than one review.)

According to The Impulsive Buy, the cookie’s cream filling tastes “just like Swedish Fish”—though that doesn’t seem to be a good thing. “It has potent, puckering pops of candied cherry and a slightly off-putting finish of waxy gelatin,” the blog writes. “I could probably recreate it with a box of Swedish Fish and a blender, but like shooting fish in a barrel, eating fish in an Oreo is way easier.”

Lest you think the reviewer didn’t go into this culinary experiment with an open mind, he admits that, “I really wanted to like Swedish Fish Oreo, but the ‘crispy fruit medicine puree’ textural contrast is too much for even a quasi-licensed gummy-ologist. I thought dunking them might intensify the chocolate flavor, but I worried that dipping these bizarre things in milk might make the beverage renounce Oreo as its favorite cookie.”

Over at Thrillist, Lee Breslouer’s taste test also ended up with medicinal comparisons. “Taking a bite of the cookie, the Swedish Fish flavor wasn't front and center,” he writes. “I only got chocolate in the finish. And if I thought it smelled like cough syrup in my kitchen a minute ago, after I ate a cookie, I couldn't get the cough syrup taste out of my mouth. On the plus side, it reminded me of that fantastic Young the Giant song ‘Cough Syrup.’”

Breslouer’s final analysis on whether they’re worth the $5 expenditure? “No. No, they are not. And they might be difficult to track down—you can only buy them at the Kroger family of supermarkets (I found mine at a King Soopers). If you're still jonesing for an Oreo or Swedish Fish, I recommend buying a box of Oreo Minis and a bag of Swedish Fish. You're welcome.”

The Twitterverse has been sharing its take on the new cookies, too—some of it positive (plus some ideas on how to make them better). Here’s a sampling of what people are saying about them. Of course, the only way to know what they taste like is to try them yourself (if you dare).

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New Plant-Based Coating Can Keep Your Avocados Fresh for Twice as Long
Apeel
Apeel

Thanks to a food technology startup called Apeel Sciences, eating fresh avocados will soon be a lot easier. The Bill Gates–backed company has developed a coating designed to keep avocados fresh for up to twice as long as traditional fruit, Bloomberg reports, and these long-lasting avocados will soon be available at 100 grocery stores across the Midwestern U.S. Thirty or so of the grocery stores involved in the limited rollout of the Apeel avocado will be Costcos, so feel free to buy in bulk.

Getting an avocado to a U.S. grocery store is more complicated than it sounds; the majority of avocados sold in the U.S. come from California or Mexico, making it tricky to get fruit to the Midwest or New England at just the right moment in an avocado’s life cycle.

Apeel’s coating is made of plant material—lipids and glycerolipids derived from peels, seeds, and pulp—that acts as an extra layer of protective peel on the fruit, keeping water in and oxygen out, and thus reducing spoilage. (Oxidation is the reason that your sliced avocados and apples brown after they’ve been exposed to the air for a while.) The tasteless coating comes in a powder that fruit producers mix with water and then dip their fruit into.

A side-by-side comparison of a coated and uncoated avocado after 30 days, with the uncoated avocado looking spoiled and the coated one looking fresh
Apeel

According to Apeel, coating a piece of produce in this way can keep it fresh for two to three times longer than normal without any sort of refrigeration of preservatives. This not only allows consumers a few more days to make use of their produce before it goes bad, reducing food waste, but can allow producers to ship their goods to farther-away markets without refrigeration.

Avocados are the first of Apeel's fruits to make it to market, but there are plans to debut other Apeel-coated produce varieties in the future. The company has tested its technology on apples, artichokes, mangos, and several other fruits and vegetables.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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The Popcorn Company That's Creating Jobs for Adults With Autism
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iStock

A New Jersey-based gourmet popcorn company is dedicating its profits to creating new employment “popportunities” for adults on the autism spectrum, A Plus reports.

Popcorn for the People, founded by Rutgers University professor Dr. Barbie Zimmerman-Bier and her husband, radiologist Dr. Steven Bier, is a nonprofit subsidiary of the couple's charitable organization Let’s Work For Good, which focuses on "creating meaningful and lasting employment for adults with autism and developmental disabilities." Recognizing the lack of skilled employment options for adults with developmental disabilities, the Biers decided to create jobs themselves through this popcorn venture, with all of the profits going to their charitable organization. According to the site, every tin of popcorn purchased "provides at least an hour of meaningful employment" to adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, who perform jobs like making popcorn, labeling products, and marketing.

The couple developed the idea for the business and the nonprofit in 2015 when their son, Sam, grew tired of his job at a grocery store. Sam, 27, is on the autism spectrum, and after six years of working as a “cart guy,” he decided he was ready to try something new. Employment opportunities were scarce, though. Jobs that provided enough resources for someone on the spectrum tended to consist of menial work, and more skilled positions involved a tough interview process.

“Some companies mean well, but they are limited in what they can offer,” Steven Bier told TAP Into East Brunswick in 2015.

Unemployment rates are especially high among adults with autism. Last year, Drexel University reported that only 14 percent of autistic adults who use state-funded disability services are employed in paid work positions. And while high-functioning autistic adults are often perfectly capable of working in technical careers, the actual process of getting hired can be challenging. People with autism tend to struggle with understanding nuance and social conventions, which makes the interviewing process particularly difficult.

Enter the Biers' popcorn business. What began in 2015 as the Pop-In Cafe (which still sells popcorn and deli items at its New Jersey location) now distributes flavored popcorn all over the world. In three years, the organization has gone from a staff of four, with one employee on the autism spectrum, to a staff of 50, nearly half of whom are on the spectrum. In July, the organization plans to expand to a larger production facility in order to keep up with demand.

The company provides an environment for employees to learn both hard skills, like food preparation and money management, and what the company describes as “watercooler life skills.”

"There just aren't many programs that teach these sorts of things in a real-world environment, with all that entails," Bier told My Central Jersey. "These are skills that the kids can use here, and elsewhere."

According to A Plus, you can now buy Popcorn for the People in person at locations like the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey and the Lyric Theatre in Times Square. The organization sells 12 flavors of popcorn (including cookies and cream, Buffalo wing, and French toast), all created by Agnes Cushing-Ruby, a chef who donates 40 hours a week to the company.

“I never thought that the little pop-up shop would grow into this,” Sam told A Plus. “It makes me so happy to see we have helped so many people.”

[h/t A Plus]

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