Last Updated on July 9, 2023
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Applesauce is, in essence, cooked apples. The specific idea of applesauce first appeared in print 300 years ago, but the concept of cooking apples for various other purposes dates back centuries. Applesauce contains many of the same health benefits as apples, including those associated with fiber, but applesauce can be more calorie-dense, especially if it has a lot of added sugar. Whole apples are better in most cases, but applesauce has its place, especially for people who can’t eat apples.
You can make applesauce yourself pretty easily, particularly if you have a slow cooker. You can also buy applesauce at virtually any grocery store. Aldi is one such store, and it sells several options. If you need big plastic containers, Aldi sells both a sweetened applesauce under its Sweet Harvest label and an unsweetened applesauce under its Simply Nature brand. If you need squeezies, the supermarket sells a few Simply Nature varieties. And if you need cups, Aldi markets both an unsweetened version under Simply Nature and a sweetened version under its Lunch Buddies brand.
Here I’ll be looking at the Lunch Buddies cups.
Lunch Buddies Applesauce is an Aldi Regular Buy, which means you can find it in your local stores all the time, year-round. At the time of this post, they come in a 6-pack of 6-ounce cups and cost $1.79. That comes out to about 7.5 cents an ounce. As you might expect, these cost more per ounce than getting one of the larger Aldi plastic containers and less than the Aldi squeezies. The Lunch Buddies compare favorably to Mott’s, which cost 10-12 cents an ounce depending on sale pricing.
Side note: the Simply Nature Unsweetened Applesauce Cups are currently around the same price as these. If no added sugar is important to you, you might take a look at those.
At the time of purchase, I saw three Lunch Buddies varieties: original, cinnamon, and strawberry. The packages don’t make mention of storage but all are sold on the room-temperature shelves. They can be kept at room temperature until opening or stored in the fridge if you want to keep them cold. They have a somewhat limited shelf life, though, so make note of the best-by dates on the individual cups.
Lunch Buddies Original Applesauce
The original flavor tastes like … well, sweetened applesauce. It also has a thin consistency like name-brand applesauce. My family has taken to eating unsweetened applesauce, so this tastes a little different for us, but if you eat Mott’s or the like, this will taste familiar.
Nutritionally, the original applesauce has 4 grams of added sugar per serving and 24 grams of sugar total. It also has 1 gram of dietary fiber. There are four ingredients: apples, sugar, water, and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Lunch Buddies Cinnamon Applesauce
This cinnamon version matches what you would expect. We figured it would have a texture much like the original and it did. Likewise, we figured it would have a cinnamon flavor and it did. If you like the idea of cinnamon and sweetened applesauce, this does it.
Nutritionally, the cinnamon applesauce has 5 grams of added sugar and 24 grams of sugar total per serving. It has 1 gram of dietary fiber. There are five ingredients: apples, sugar, water, cinnamon, and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Lunch Buddies Strawberry Applesauce
The texture of this strawberry version is identical to the other two. In terms of taste, it obviously is a little different. It is mostly applesauce in terms of flavor, but it also has some sweet strawberry flavor as well. One of our testers thought it tasted like applesauce with strawberry candy, while the others thought it was more like real strawberry. Either way, it’s sweet.
In terms of nutrition, the strawberry applesauce has 5 grams of added sugar per serving, and a slightly lower total sugar content — 21 grams — over the other versions. It has 1 gram of dietary fiber per serving. It has the largest number of ingredients of the three options: apples, sugar, water, strawberry puree, natural flavor, malic acid, citric acid, fruit and vegetable juice (color), and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).
Lunch Buddies Applesauce is a fairly economical way to get applesauce, especially if you need some that can be stored at room temperature before eating. Alternatively, if you want versions that don’t have added sugar, you might look to the Aldi Simply Nature cups, which deliver unsweetened applesauce for around the same price.