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10 Store-Bought Applesauce Brands Ranked

Assortment of applesauce brands
Assortment of applesauce brands - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Applesauce is a healthy snack for kids and adults that is also rich in antioxidants and can help soothe an upset stomach, according to Healthline. However, like many popular snacks, applesauce comes in so many different brands that it can become quickly overwhelming when trying to pick one to buy. Some brands coast off decades of being a household name, while others have made a name for themselves more recently by promoting the importance of high-quality organic ingredients.

We shopped for applesauce at Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and our local market and found these 10 brands sold across the four stores. We tried to buy the most popular classic flavor of each applesauce. As a result, some of these products are using sweeteners while others are not. We tasted all of the brands and ranked them by how likely we are to recommend them to friends and family.

Flavor was the number-one decider in this ranking, but price and nutrition also factored in, as did some other smaller preferences which we will expand upon when discussing the competitors. Let the hunt for the best store-bought applesauce begin!

Read more: The 6 Best And 6 Worst Grocery Stores To Buy Produce From

Vermont Village

Vermont Village applesauce four-pack
Vermont Village applesauce four-pack - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Vermont Village is a highly decorated non-GMO and organic brand that is known for its ingredients. There is no question that this is on the healthier side of applesauces, with its only two ingredients being apples and apple purée, which is also ... just apples. However, unlike some of the other organic and unsweetened applesauces we tried, Vermont Village was a big letdown on both the taste and texture front.

One thing we learned in this taste test is that texture is important, and there are various ways to mess it up. The texture of this selection was unfortunately mealy and thick. The apple flavor itself was pretty weak and tasted watery as well. Both these elements combined to make this the least pleasant of the products we tried and one we find it hard to recommend due to both the flavor and the price.

At a price of $5.95 for a four-pack of 4-ounce cups, Vermont Village is one of the most expensive options of the applesauces we sampled. If you are really dying for the healthiest, lowest-calorie option and don't mind the taste (or your child doesn't) then there are advantages to buying this brand. For what we were looking for, we weren't the biggest fans.

Essential Everyday

Essential Everyday Chunky Apple Sauce
Essential Everyday Chunky Apple Sauce - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Next on our list was the generic brand at our closest grocery store. It only cost us $3.49 for a 24-ounce jar, which is admittedly a pretty good deal if you need to feed a family a latke feast or just want enough applesauce to last you a while. However, if you're looking for quality instead of quantity, we are going to have to ask you to kindly look elsewhere or make your own applesauce at home.

We had high hopes, actually, since this was the one chunky applesauce on our list. However, those hopes were soon dashed by the complete lack of flavor in this artificially sweetened jar of applesauce. The chunks of apple were unfortunately a little too mushy and didn't have any of the brightness or chew expected even from cooked apples. There were too many of these mediocre apples stuffed in to an overly gelatinous applesauce, to the point that it tasted more like canned fruit than applesauce. Overall, this was a pretty disappointing pick. When it comes to applesauce, we are learning, make sure to go with brands you trust.

Applesnax

Applesnax Homestyle Applesauce pack
Applesnax Homestyle Applesauce pack - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Next up is Applesnax, which we weren't in love with but didn't hate, either. These applesauce cups fall on the opposite side of the spectrum from the Vermont Village organic and all-natural approach. Rather than being made of solely apples, the standard homestyle applesauce from Applesnax is sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup. A pack of Applesnax cost us only $1.99 for four 4-ounce cups, so this was tied for the least amount of money we spent on any of the applesauces.

Compared to many of the other applesauce brands we tasted, the overwhelming flavor of Applesnax was sweetness. It wasn't unpleasant, necessarily, but it was artificial tasting to a degree that the other sweetened options we tried were not. When it comes down to it, we couldn't find any distinctive elements in this snack to set Applesnax applesauce above the leading brands we already buy, like Musselman's and Mott's.

365 By Whole Foods Market

365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Applesauce
365 by Whole Foods Market Organic Applesauce - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Climbing up the ranks but stumbling along the way is the Whole Foods brand. Naturally, the 365 by Whole Foods Market applesauce is organic and unsweetened and made with 100% real fruit, according to the packaging. That checks out in our taste test, as the sauce certainly rang true as real apple. We also have to admit that it wasn't the tastiest on the list. Maybe don't pick this up next time you shop at Whole Foods.

At $5.39 for a six-pack of 4-ounce cups, this isn't the cheapest applesauce on the list, but it's not the most expensive, either. It's a fairly healthy option for feeding kids and also comes in large jars for a better price-to-volume ratio for that same purpose. Ultimately, we found that the texture here was a bit mushier than we would like. The apple flavor was not especially sour or deep, but there was some nice natural sweetness, despite this being a sugar-free snack.

Musselman's

Musselman's applesauce jar
Musselman's applesauce jar - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Musselman's has been in the applesauce game for over 100 years. If you think that gives it a free pass straight to the top of this list, think again. As it turns out this leading brand doesn't stack up to its closest competitors, nor does it pack as much real apple flavor as some of the best organic options.

This was perhaps the most average applesauce we tried, which isn't necessarily a criticism. Musselman's has a pleasant smooth texture, which we find in line with the platonic ideal of the substance. It's easy for an applesauce to be too watery — although many of the ones we tried had an opposite problem — but Musselman's avoids this trap. Where it's not perfect, however, is the flavor. Musselman's is a little too sweet for our palate and doesn't have many of the various subtler notes of apple found in its competitors. We paid $4.49 for a 24-ounce jar, and given the quality and quantity of that proposition, we honestly don't have too much else to complain about.

Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's Organic Apple Sauce
Trader Joe's Organic Apple Sauce - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

We found that the Trader Joe's brand of applesauce had its own unique flavor. We can't say it was our favorite of the bunch, but we liked it enough for it to fall into the solid middle of the pack. For Trader Joe's prices, it's hard not to recommend picking up a small four-pack for $1.99. If you really love it, you can return for a $3.49 24-ounce jar.

What we liked most about this option was the apple that came through in every bite. While the ingredients list only includes apples, the Trader Joe's applesauce still has a complexity that other applesauces lack. There was a strong cider flavor that we really found ourselves enjoying. Even though it wasn't very sweet, there was no denying a depth of flavor that many of the competitors lack. What we didn't love was the texture, which was pretty similar to the Whole Foods option and found itself a victim of similar complaints of strange mouthfeel.

Santa Cruz Organic

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce
Santa Cruz Organic Apple Sauce - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

Next up is another organic option, and it was one of our favorites of the bunch. We specifically loved the sourness and real apple flavor that came through in the selection from this brand.

Let's start by saying that Santa Cruz Organic is definitely a more boutique brand name that prides itself on the quality of its ingredients. Even though you can find it in grocery stores nationwide, that label demands a higher price. We paid a whopping $6.79 at our grocery store, although you can find it for cheaper than that depending on where you shop and the average prices in your region (ours tends to be more expensive than other places in the country). We weren't disappointed, though, since this organic applesauce had a strong, unique flavor that we loved.

The Santa Cruz Organic applesauce was not overly sweet and had a great sour quality to it. We will admit that the texture was unfortunately on the watery side, but the flavor more than made up for it.

Gogo squeeZ

GoGo squeeZ Apple Apple pack
GoGo squeeZ Apple Apple pack - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

This applesauce takes a more kid-friendly form factor than either large tubs or serving-sized cups. The GoGo squeeZ brand is beloved by parents for its all-natural applesauce served in easy-to-squeeze pouches that come with a lifesaving resealable cap. Even for adults, these things are pretty nifty, and it helps that the applesauce tastes great as well.

We tried the basic Apple Apple flavor of GoGo squeeZ and, with only one reservation, really loved it. This brand has been around since 2008 and is soaring in popularity lately, but somehow we had never tried it. The sauce packed a great and balanced level of natural sweetness that didn't make us miss the added sugar.

The form factor and thicker texture of the GoGo squeeZ pouch did make us feel a tiny bit like we were eating baby food. There is a whole demographic for which this won't be a problem, but for at $5.29 for four 3.2 ounce-pouches, it's the least affordable store-bought applesauce.

Mott's

Mott's applesauce cup
Mott's applesauce cup - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

We arrive a last at ole reliable. We already had a half-used six-pack of Mott's in the fridge before diving into this challenge, and we were excited to see how it would compare. Overall, we understand why this was the go-to applesauce brand of our parents that we instinctually inherited.

For us, Mott's is an ideal applesauce. The big thing is the texture. While some might accuse of it being watery (as we did to the Santa Cruz Organic brand), the reality is that a thin applesauce is a winning applesauce. Like with peanut butter, you have to pick between chunks or smoothness. Mott's is the equivalent of smooth Jif, so its lack of "real apple" texture doesn't bother us. The flavor is good and resembles Mott's apple juice in many respects. It's heavy on the high-fructose corn syrup, but we found its sweetness more balanced than any other applesauce on this list — save for one.

Good & Gather

Good & Gather Homestyle Applesauce
Good & Gather Homestyle Applesauce - Bryn Gelbart/Daily Meal

We are about as shocked as you are to see this at the top, but we can't deny that our old favorite has been dethroned. The Homestyle Applesauce from Target brand Good & Gather ticks all the boxes and does so for an affordable price of $2.59 for a six-pack of 4-ounce cups.

The Target-brand applesauce had a flavor that encompassed the full range of what we were looking for. It was sweet, a tiny bit tart, and tasted like bright Honeycrisp apples. Furthermore, the Good & Gather applesauce had a perfect texture that was reminiscent of top brands like Mott's. Although unlike Mott's, Good & Gather uses real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

We can only speak to what we tasted, but if this applesauce's sweetness level is any indication, many people with less of a sweet tooth than us will enjoy Good & Gather's unsweetened variety as well.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.