Product Review: Dole Fruit Bowls with Sugar Free Gels

Note: If you are a “whole foods only” type person, this is not the review for you.

Which brings me to a disclaimer:, of sorts: I’m a firm believer in fresh, whole fruit as a grab-and-go healthy snack, but there are times when I run out of fruit before grocery day, or maybe my taste buds are wanting something a little “snack-y”, or whatever. At those times, it’s nice to have something lower in calories, but rich in flavor, on hand to fill the gap. This seemed like a product worth testing.

Dole said they’d send me “some product.” Oh.My.Word. Did they ever! Two big cases of it. I had strawberry with pineapple and cherry with mixed fruit gel packs stacked all over my kitchen. It was beautiful. Snackville USA.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to realize there were far too many snacks for me to tackle on my lonesome. Enter The Tippy Toe Test Crew I (a.k.a. my co-workers), who were delightfully surprised to arrive at the office to stacks of free snacks, just one of the cartons Dole sent my way. (I’ll get to the other test crew in a minute.)

My co-workers are a diverse group of folks, mostly accounting/finance professionals, who range in age from early 20s to mid-50s. They come from all over the US and beyond, including Turkey, Israel, Argentina, Canada, and Texas. (tee hee, couldn’t resist the last one) Most are healthy-ish eaters, but few of us ever pass up a chance for cake if it presents itself. I was really curious as to how they would respond to this product.

The first comment was on the cherry jello. “T” said that she was surprised at the strong cherry flavor. She had expected some watered-down, hardly recognizable version of cherry present in so many products, but found the opposite to be true.

Fifteen minutes later, “S” reported in, saying that the cherry tasted watered down and was hardly recognizable as cherry.

Like I said, they’re a diverse group. :) Both agreed that the fruit tasted crisp and fresh, and that the consistency was just right. I agree with both of them on that (especially the crispy fruit part), and I liked both the strawberry and the cherry flavors.

Comments compiled from other responses:
Just the right amount of sweetness, with no aftertaste.
Coloring on the cherry could be improved (a little pale)
Light and refreshing
Sweet tooth satisfied with one serving
Need to come up with another name than “gel”–kept thinking about hair gel
People will send you free food just for having a blog? Uh, I’ll be in my office. {whispered: how do you start a blog?}

Saving the best for last, my favorite was from “J’s” 2-year old daughter, who commented, “‘Dis is good stuff!”

So the Tippy Toe Test Crew I’s overall view of the Dole Fruit Bowls with Sugar-free Gels was positive.

I’m quite impressed with how seriously the crew members have taken on their taste tester roles. I’m not sure it’s occurred to them that when I leave this week, I take the free food wth me. LOL I do appreciate their time and their honest comments.

Now, as to Tippy Toe Test Crew II–well, that plan took a right turn along the way. I had planned to send the other case of gels to my parents for testing with their Sunday School class, which is completely made up of the 60+ crowd, most on restricted diets and always on the lookout for treats What they’ve elected to do instead is to forward the gels to one of their pet projects, The Ronald McDonald House. The class provides and serves lunch there once a month for sick children and their families, and they’re sure the kids will LOVE the snacks. I think they’re right, and I don’t think the Dole folks will mind. (If they do, they can let me know and I’ll reimburse them for the products.)

If you made it this far and you’re interested in trying this product for free, send me an email (see the sidebar of my blog for the addy) with your name and address. I’ll send you some coupons. (Offer good while supplies last. I’ll come back and do a strikethrough when I’m out of coupons.)

Thanks to Dole for providing this opportunity. Thanks to you for reading the review.

(For the record: I received no compensation from Dole for this review, and if the results had been negative, I would’ve reported that, too. I’d have tried to be nice about it, but I would have reported it.)