Update July 6, 2022: Walden Farms has improved most, if not all of their products as of recent. These new products also have new packaging, for example, the dressings are entirely redone while some of their dips have smaller, thicker lids. I’ve confirmed with the company and observed that the ingredients are also slightly different. I’ve gotten to try several, even ones I didn’t previously enjoy like the peanut butter, chocolate, ranch, etc., and indeed, they are all really, really good! With the new products, I have not found one I completely hated!
With obesity being a focus the last several years, a variety diets have taken the helm. However, one thing is common amongst all, calories in and calories out. With this similarity, many products labeled as no/low sugar, fiber based, low carb/calorie, etc., have been catapulted to the front. One of the few companies in the market that offers “0 everything” for almost every condiment you commonly use is Walden Farms. While their products have drawn the attention of taste challenges on YouTube and internet forums, some dubbing it as the worst thing they’ve ever eaten while other claiming it’s miracles in jars, it’s no doubt that this is something you should try if you’re looking to cut down on calories. With that in mind, I decided to give their products a try and compare them to the low calorie competition.
Summary: Here’s what the community generally agrees on. After scouring the internet, reading and watching reviews, and discussing these products with others, I’ve found that if you want to play it safe, there’s a few Walden Farms products you will likely enjoy. Those are the following:
Dressings: Thousand Island, Italian, Honey Dijon
Syrups: Maple, Caramel
*Unfortunately, it was hard to find a consensus as many of their other products are heavily based on preference.
Walden Farms – I actually preferred Walden Farms chocolate syrup to both of the Hershey’s syrups I tried. Walden farms edges out ahead of Hershey’s syrup – yes, you read that correctly! Trying this syrup, I got a light chocolate taste, very similar to cheap dollar store milk chocolate. Now, if you’re not a fan of such cheap chocolates, then this isn’t for you. However, chocolate is chocolate to me, and this syrup offers a light taste in contrast to Hershey’s dark chocolate tasting syrups which was a nice change. And unless you’re guzzling it all down in one go, there’s very little noticeable aftertaste, especially when compared to the Hershey’s syrups. The consistency is also fairly thick although not as thick as its competitor.
Hershey’s – You might not notice, but that regular Hershey’s syrup you put on your sweets is likely dulling the sweetness just a tad. The reason being is that if you’ve ever tasted this syrup by itself, you’d swear it’s quite dark tasting, in fact, it’s almost quite bitter! So, when throwing it all onto your brownies or ice cream, it really balances things out. On the other hand, Walden Farms offers a more sweet-on-sweet interaction. I also noticed a slight bitter aftertaste that lingered around.
When it came to Hershey’s sugar free, I immediately noticed it had a ton of positive reviews. However, I wasn’t a fan. It tasted similar to that of Hershey’s syrup but with a much longer and stronger aftertaste. And frankly, something just tasted off. Personally, not something I recommend although perhaps give it a shot considering many people are fans of it.
Walden Farms Maple – I had to try their most popular syrup first, maple. I thought this was quite mild tasting, nothing overly sweet. The maple taste wasn’t very noticeable, it tasted more so like a normal syrup. The consistency is thick and there isn’t much of an aftertaste. Not bad, but nothing to write home about.
Walden Farms Pancake – Their regular pancake syrup tasted like just that. It was very similar to the maple minus the maple flavor.
Cary’s Sugar Free – Cary’s was my favorite. If you like syrups that are more on the sweet side but not overbearing and no aftertaste, this is likely the only syrup you’ll ever need. Unfortunately, it does fall short on the consistency side, proving to be more watery than its competition. I also found that this syrup is often used in some restaurants as the “healthy” syrup, so perhaps it may be something you’ve had before!
Mrs. Butterworth Sugar Free – Mrs. Butterworth sugar free syrup has a very thick consistency and not too sweet, as well as no aftertaste. This is likely the safest option if you’re looking for a more healthy syrup that isn’t too sweet. It tastes identical to typical syrup you’d find in most places.
Walden Farms Strawberry – Wow, I can’t seem to get the aftertaste out of my mouth! The strawberry is quite strong, tasting more of a fake strawberry flavor than the real fruit. The syrup is semi-thick though which is a plus. I feel like they need to dilute the flavor a bit before I’d recommend this.
Wäbry Strawberry – Tastes like they blended real strawberries into syrup and added a bunch of watery. While unfortunately this means the consistency is quite watery like Cary’s, the taste is wonderful! There was also no aftertaste unlike Walden Farm’s syrups.
Walden Farms Blueberry – Similar consistency to the strawberry minus the taste and aftertaste. I found the blueberry to be more on the light side and the aftertaste wasn’t as strong. It’s definitely not bad and something I’ll keep around for every now and then.
Walden Farms Caramel – I’ve tasted plenty of different caramels from various companies and this tastes identical to a typical caramel from a random company albeit slightly more sweet. It’s wonderful! The consistency is perfect and I didn’t find any aftertaste.
Dips.. And Mayo
Marshmallow – After eating a spoonful… and another spoonful… and another… I think you know where I’m going. This isn’t super sweet by any means (I don’t find marshmallows are especially sweet by themselves either) but it does provide some marshmallow-like taste with a pillowy consistency. The consistency is like a marshmallow fluff if you added a bit of water to smooth it out. I didn’t get an aftertaste either.
Caramel – This tastes a bit off and nothing like their caramel syrup. It also looks a lot different than their syrup variant. It’s just OK. There’s a bit of a caramel flavor and some aftertaste. The consistency is like applesauce and looks like it too.
Chocolate – Almost identical to their chocolate syrup but slightly thicker, not much else to say.
Mayonnaise – Is mayonnaise a dip? Well, it’s definitely not an instrument. Truth be told, I didn’t have anywhere else to put this! Anyway, I’m happy to report that I actually like this better than regular mayo. It has a very light sweet and tangy flavor, something I don’t get from regular plain mayo. No aftertaste either! However, this has more of the consistency that is slightly thicker than cool whip and less than regular mayo. I can definitely see myself mixing it with tuna, chicken, etc., over regular mayo.
Jams / Jellies / Spreads
Walden Farms Raspberry / Strawberry – Both of these fruit spreads have the consistency of Jell-O and had some aftertaste. The taste overall was sweet and tasted more like the candy variants. I’m not a huge fan, especially when compared to the other similar options other companies provide.
Polaner Sugar Free Strawberry Preserves With Fiber – This tastes exactly like regular preserves and looks like it too. You can taste the grinded strawberries and seeds, it’s really good! Definitely a lot better than the others I’m comparing it to.
Good Good Strawberry Jam – I actually prefer Waldens over this. This has the consistency of a normal jam if they added a bucket of water to it. The flavor is definitely drowned out – it just isn’t good.
Bacon ranch – I usually dub myself as having the ability to tolerate any food, but not this. This tastes absolutely disgusting. Even after an hour, I could still taste it in my mouth. Avoid.
Thousand island / Honey Dijon / Italian – Like much of the community has said, I agree, these three dressings are absolutely spot on and if you took a blind taste test, you wouldn’t know the difference.