What does a food manufacturer do when their product is the wrong shape, color or taste? Normally, they go into the trash (or compost I could only hope). But in the case of Jelly Belly, the makers of ‘the original gourmet jelly bean,” they are repackaged into 1 pound bags and sold as Belly Flops.
According to the package, Belly Flops are “special beans that taste great but don’t quite meet all of our demanding standards for size, color, shape and flavor.”
As a long time Jelly Belly fan I have also, over the years, come to appreciate Belly Flops for certain reasons:
1. No two bags are ever alike.
2. The shapes are always entertaining.
3. You can get some wild tastes you would never expect.
They are almost always delicious tastes. I’ve had super tropical fruits, extra buttery popcorn, rich coffee, creamy cheesecake and some other flavors I can’t even describe. It was only today while preparing for this blog post that I had to spit out a bean. It was the spiciest cinnamon/paprika taste I have ever experienced from a candy. I spit it out immediately and honestly, I’m a little afraid to eat the rest of the red beans in this package. But, in all my packages of flops over the years this is a first.
4. Flops are cheaper than regular beans.
Jelly Belly beans are not cheap. The best deal I have ever seen is at Costco where you can get 4 lbs (64oz) container for under $20, I think… But if you buy them at the grocery store or candy store they can be as much as $6.99/ quarter pound.
Flops, depending where you find them, can be as little as $2.99/lb.
I hear Flops are available for purchase at the end of the official Jelly Belly Factory tour in Fairfield, CA. I have yet to make that trek, but it is on the list.
If you’re a long time Jelly Belly fan, like me, you will appreciate the change of pace that is the Belly Flop. If you’re a casual jelly bean consumer you will enjoy the novelty.