Red Vines vs Twizzlers: The Difference for Once and for All

Have you ever stopped to consider the sheer number of different chip varieties you encounter on your average visit to the supermarket? It’s truly wild. However, with certain food items, there is often the “good” version and then the “off-brand” version. I’m talking Heinz vs Hunt’s, Sprite vs Starry, Gatorade vs Powerade. Of course, the “off-brand” versions have their staunch defenders, but still, there’s a sort of cultural consensus that one of these brands is superior.

But there is one head-to-head that is simply unresolvable. Forget Coke vs Pepsi, the really heated argument is between the two premier versions of red licorice-ish candy: Twizzlers vs Red Vines. 

Personally, I can’t stand the taste or texture of licorice at all, which in a way makes me a neutral party to this waxy treat. Let’s take a look at the difference and similarities between the two candies.  

Are Twizzlers licorice?

While I’ve always categorized the confection as licorice, it turns out that the only type of Twizzlers that contain licorice extract, and are thus actually licorice, are black Twizzlers. (Is your mind as blown as mine was? It’s a real “white chocolate” situation here.) The rest of the Twizzler line of products, including their most popular flavor, strawberry, are considered “licorice-type candy.” 

What are Twizzlers made of?

If Twizzlers aren’t made of licorice, what are they made of? The ingredients consist of corn syrup, wheat flour, sugar, cornstarch, plus salt, artificial flavor, glycerin, citric acid, potassium sorbate, Red 40, and soy lecithin. The ingredients are dissolved in water and then poured into molds to give them their characteristic shape. 

Are Red Vines licorice?

As with Twizzlers, the only type of Red Vines that are actually licorice are black Red Vines, which include licorice extract. Though frequently referred to as licorice, the rest are considered licorice-like candy. 

What flavors are Red Vines?

Red Vines come in a wide array of flavors, including grape, mixed berry, and blueberry pomegranate. However, their most popular flavor is called “Original Red” and is slightly harder to define. In fact, I was unable to find a consensus online, outside of “nondescript berry flavor.” Basically, they taste like Original Red, which is kind of its own thing. 

What’s the difference between Red Vines and Twizzlers?

Sporked’s own managing editor Gwynedd Stuart broke them down in terms of shape, texture, and flavor, noting that, “Red Vines are tubular. Not, like, ‘Totally tubular, man,’ but hollow with a round hole so you can use one as a straw (which people apparently do). Twizzlers are flat on the bottom and have a barely-there tunnel running down the middle,” and that “Red Vines are toothsome and soft, while Twizzlers have a slick, almost plasticky consistency.” But the biggest difference is the flavor: Twizzlers’ strawberry flavor is completely distinct from Red Vines’ indescribable Original Red. 

Whichever kind of pseudo-licorice you choose to enjoy, you’re likely to find it at your local movie theater chain. It’s a perennial staple, along with popcorn, Junior Mints, and Sno-Caps. Personally, I’ll be getting those and you’re welcome to have some—you don’t even have to share your Red Vines or Twizzlers with me.

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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