Close up flat lay of some fruit shaped candy
Banana Candy Does Taste Like Bananas, Just Not The Kind You Know
By Chase Shustack
Fruit-flavored candies are typically based on certain types of fruit — like concord grapes or maraschino cherries — to give them their trademark, extra-sweet flavor. While some flavors might taste vaguely similar to the real thing, banana candies don't taste like regular bananas, and there's a good reason for that.
The banana that inspired banana-flavored candies was the Gros Michel banana, a fatter and sweeter version of the bananas we enjoy today. It was wildly popular in the 20th century, once making up an enormous percentage of banana exports to the United States, but in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a plant-based fungus attacked the crops, eradicating most of the Gros Michel variety.
Hawaiian banana farmer Rob Guzman described a Gros Michel banana as "sort of amplified, sweeter and, yeah, somehow artificial." However, synthetic organic chemist Derek Lowe believes that the naturally-produced compound "isoamyl acetate" also inspired the flavor, as it has a strong "banana or pear" odor (per American Chemical Society), perfect for flavoring candies.