9 Gummy Bear Brands Ranked From Worst To Best

In ancient times, the Ottoman Empire said, "Let there be gelatin-based candy." And so there were Turkish Delights. In 1909, one Britain-based candy maker said, "Let there be circle-shaped gelatin gummies." And so there were wine gums. But in 1922, one Hans Riegel (the founder of the Haribo brand) realized his ugly hard candies weren't cutting it and started selling bear-shaped gelatin treats. And so there was the glorious invention known as gummy bears. Yes, ever since this German-born candy migrated to the U.S. in the early '80s, they've become ingrained in the American consciousness. From the ear worm of a song to an '80s cartoon, (yes, "Adventures of the Gummi Bears" was an actual thing), you can't, nor should you want to escape these bear-shaped candy delights.

Numerous brands and specialized candy companies have taken a shot at selling their own version of the gummy bear formula. And we're here to keep score of what gummy bear brands are losses and which are wins. We looked at nine gummy bear brands and noted their price as of July 2023 — which varies by region. Based on their flavor, texture, and overall bear-like appearance, we ranked them worst to first. Are you ready for this?

Joyride Zero Sugar Sour Fruit Gummies

Once known as Project 7, Joyride is one of many candy companies that claims it can make (deep breath in here) low-sugar, plant-based, keto-friendly candy that tastes good. Sadly, Joyride did not make a breakthrough with its Zero Sugar Sour Fruit Gummies.

First of all, these tiny sugar-free gummies are barely bear-shaped. You'd only think they resemble a bear because they've been branded as such. Most offensively, however, they have a terrible texture. This candy's consistency is more akin to a Starburst. It's weirdly chewy and has nothing gummy-like about it. The flavors themselves are also unremarkable.

Each pack offers Watermelon Wizard, Orange Hawaiian, and Lemonade Punch gummy-bearish candies. Lemonade is definitely the most delectable of the bunch; Orange Punch is dull and generally just okay, and Watermelon Wizard has almost no taste to speak of. We will say that the sour coating adds some dimension to the candy, however, for its consistency and general grossness, we deem these $6.18 per 5-ounce bag bears as a bane of gummy society.

SmartSweets Fruity Gummy Bears

Here's another brand that's attempting to make the whole sugarless sweets thing work. "Kick sugar, keep candy" is SmartSweets' rebel yell. But before the company got popular enough to start selling low-sugar sweet fish and peach rings in stores across the U.S. and Canada, it gave birth to a bag of gummy bear friends that you could down in one go and only consume 4 grams of sugar in the process. Alas, while the sugar count is low, the tastiness the brand promises is simply too sweet to be true.

Coming in at $5.99 per 1.5-ounce bag, when you tear open SmartSweets Fruity Gummy Bears, you'll be met with a sweet smell and the promise of three gummy bear flavors: raspberry, apple, and peach. But these terribly tiny and hardly bear-shaped gummies do not taste nearly as good as they smell. See, while these gummies did have a good chew to them, their flavor is dull. In fact, there's more flavor in the aftertaste of the bears than in the bears themselves. So, for its lack of flavor and inexcusably pitiful lack of bear shapeliness, we put these bears at the bottom of our gummy bear list and implore SmartSweets to return the sugar to candy.

Lily's Gummy Bears Sweet Fruity Friends

If you're a low-cal baking fiend, you likely recognize Lily's for it's no sugar, Splenda-filled baking chocolate chips. As it turns out, Lily likes to dabble in both the worlds of chocolate deliciousness and chewy fruity fun. Yes, taking the last seat at our round table of low-sugar gummy bears is Lily's Gummy Bears Sweet Fruity Friends. At $2.28 for a 1.8-ounce pack, Lily's may be the best out of the low-sugar gummy bears, but that doesn't make these gummies delicious.

These tiny gummies are still not truly gummy as far as texture goes and have a terribly chewy quality to them. Also, the little bears came pretty deformed; some of them had been tragically manufactured without heads.

Yes, a pack of Lily's gummies are supposed to come with strawberry, raspberry, orange, and lemon-flavored treats. However, our gummies only came with orange and strawberry bears. While the orange gummies had a strong orange flavor, the strawberry candies tasted more like cherry. So, while the gummies we did get outdid the previous entries on the list so far, the bag overall was still lacking. Chewy, malformed, and missing members of its brethren, Lily's Friends are in shambles and, thus, sit at the bottom of our list.

Great Value Gummy Bears

Officially, Walmart's in-house gummy bears' full name is, according to the brand's website, Great Value Gummy Bears Chewy Candy. However, these gummy bears need to make a request for a legal name change because describing them as merely "chewy" is a gross understatement.

Costing $1.48 per 9-ounce bag, these medium-sized gummies are, at the very least, shaped like bears. However, Great Value Gummy Bears are also as chewy as a leather belt. Seriously, your jaw might start to hurt before you finish your bag of cost-effective treats. Aside from that, the flavor of Walmart's gummy bears is also pretty horrible. Each bag comes with four different colored gummies: green, which has no flavor to speak of; orange, which does at least have an orange-like vibe; yellow that's almost juicy enough to taste like pineapple, and red, another flavorless delight. In summary, Walmart has more flavor and a more gummy-like consistency than most of the healthier bears, but this brand is still terrible.

Sweet Smiles Gummi Bears

The Dollar General private brand, Sweet Smiles Gummi Bears has a solid eight out of 10 score from the Environmental Working Group, which is usually a sign that a snack isn't full of artificial ingredients and, by extension, might be lacking when it comes to flavor.

When we tore into this $1.00 per 7-ounce bag and examined the shape of the gummy bears we rejoiced. While they tended to stick together in their package, these medium-sized gummy snacks are more than appropriately bear shaped. Each gummy has perfectly round ears and a cute little snout. However, while their flavor is more prominent than the no-sugar gummy alternatives and a heck of a lot less chewy than Walmart's fruity abominations, Sweet Gummi Bears still have their flaws.

Though the packaging doesn't name them, this bag includes five different colors and flavors: red, which has a dull cherry flavor; blue, which tastes like toothpaste; light yellow, which has almost no flavor to speak of; light green, which was juicy but didn't have a distinct flavor we could pinpoint, and orange, which, to no one's surprise, tasted like orange. A mixed bag of gummies with a mixed bag of tasty and terrible flavors, Sweet Smiles Gumi Bears beat out those on the bottom of this list with its flavor, texture, and looks. But, for the record, it didn't beat them out by much.

Kroger Gummi Bears

Kroger Gummi Bears Candy goes for $1.59 per 8.5-ounce pack, and it's one of the private brands that helped the grocer earn $20 million in 2018. These large-sized gummy bears are a solid take on the classic snack — they're properly bear shaped with well-sculpted ears and legs. They also seem to have a little ill-formed bowtie that, while it isn't clearly defined, gives them a certain charm. 

Each bear is pleasurably gummy and, on the first bite, has a decently full-bodied taste. While the package doesn't name its multi-colored gummies flavors, we found the blue tasted like cotton candy, the red resembled cherry, the yellow seemed pineapple-like, the light blue seemed to embody blue raspberry, and the orange was patterned after the fruit. However, despite their initial strong flavor, many of these treats had an aftertaste that vaguely reminded us of sawdust. So, these Gummi Bears were never going to make it into the gummy bear top three.

Signature Select Gummi Bears

On its website, Signature Select urges that its gummy bears are perfect for adding omph to your cookies and ice cream. And we have to say, to the foodies out there, Signature Select Gummi Bears are good enough to top your favorite snacks and earn our third-place spot on this list of the best gummy bears in grocery stores.

Priced at $1.99 for an 8-ounce pack, these gummy treats almost have it all. They are large in size. When it comes to their appearance, we think we've run into a bit of a conspiracy — they are shaped exactly the same as Kroger's bears. But despite seemingly being made from the same mold, these brands obviously use different formulas. Each bag of Signature's comes with five different colored teddy bears that are wonderfully juicy.

The yellow tastes like pineapple; the purple is full of grape flavor; the dark red tastes like cherry; the light green is flavored after lime, and the orange tastes just like the fruit. However, while the flavors are all juicy and distinctive and the chewiness of these treats is just right, some colors are more distinctive tasting than others and the bears tend to stick together in the bag — two problems not shared by our top two picks.

Haribo Goldbears

And so we have finally arrived at the brand that started it all. The great, wise, and delicious Haribo. Costing $1.28 for a 4-ounce pack, we believe this German-based company has worked hard to earn the title of America's number one gummy bears.

The brand's medium-sized gummy treats are happily bear-shaped with two adorable ears, a raised snout, and four well-defined little legs. Every package features five juicy and distinctive gummy bear flavors: lemon, raspberry, orange, strawberry, and pineapple. And at first, while we thought these treats were on the chewier side of the gummy spectrum, we assumed they'd be our number one pick simply because no gummy bear brand could be tastier. However, after trying our winner, we realized that, yes, the lemon, strawberry, and orange had a full-bodied fruity taste, but the pineapple and raspberry, while still delicious, had a less poignant flavor. We know we may sound we're being nick-picky here, but that's only because we experienced the fruit-flavored gummy perfection that is our pick for the heavyweight champion of grocery store gummy bear brands of the United States.

Albanese World's Best 12 Flavor Gummi Bears

Who do we dare name a gummy bear brand that tastes superior to Haribo? We do, and that brand is Albanese. This brand literally invented a new way to make gelatin even more flavorful and earned the Professional Candy Buyer's Product of the Year award. And its gummy bears are the most delicious, beautiful little edible creatures we have ever put in our mouths.

These bears are artistically molded. They don't just have wonderfully round ears and a defined, smiling snout and eyes, but little paws on their tiny bear feat and Albanese's signature "A" on their bellies. In fact, we almost felt bad eating these bears ... but not quite, because these treats taste even better than they look.

Every $2.72 7-ounce pack of Albanese's gummy bears features 12 flavors: cherry, pink grapefruit, watermelon, strawberry, orange, blue raspberry, lime, grape, green apple, mango, pineapple, and lemon. Each one is distinctive and bursting with the juicy goodness you'd expect from a high-quality fruit-based candy. Oh, and these bears are not too leathery or too chewy. They are that perfect gummy consistency one expects from a gelatin-based candy. After trying gummy bears that were too flavorless, too chewy, and too un-bearish, we found that, in the words of Goldilocks, Albanese's gummy bears were just right.