Sour then sweet, it’s hard to resist the signature taste of Sour Patch Kids! These little guys are some of the most popular sour candy out there, but there are tons of sour facts you probably never heard. So here are 10 Sour Patch Kids facts they never told you!
10. They’re purposefully designed to taste sour before tasting sweet
Most people would immediately think of Sour Patch Kids as being a sour candy – obviously. However, the original recipe was designed so that the candies would have a two-stage flavor experience. First, the intense sour would hit, and then a nice wave of sweetness would take over until the candy was gone. The candies were never designed to be sour the whole way through, and that hit of sweetness at the end makes them much easier to enjoy one after the other. So, how does a Sour Patch Kid go from sour to sweet? The key is a coating of tartaric acid, an ingredient that’s unbelievably sour. This is paired with citric acid for even more sour impact. Both acids react with saliva to create that signature pucker-worthy taste, but neither lasts long after the coating starts to dissolve. Rather than adding sour ingredients into the candy itself, the original recipe called for a pleasantly sweet interior. That signature sour is really only in the coating of the candy, but it sure hits the spot before dissolving away! This two-level tasting experience makes the candies easier to eat more of, because a prolonged sour rush is more difficult for the tastebuds to deal with than the less intense sour-then-sweet approach.
9. There was a Sour Patch Kids video game
While candy and video games don’t normally have anything to do with one another, Sour Patch Kids are the exception. This sour favorite actually had a video game produced about it! “World Gone Sour” was developed by Canadian studio Playbrains and published by Capcom in 2011 for play on several different platforms. It can be enjoyed by one or two players at a time, and there are 13 levels to take on. In the game, players take on the role of a lost little Sour Patch Kid in a human-sized universe. The poor little green Kid falls out of a package on the way to a movie theatre, ending up in the trash can. Wanting to fulfill his destiny of being eaten, the Sour Patch Kid goes on a quest to find his rightful snacker, evading vengeful candies and other Sour Patch Kids along the way. Players can join forces with other Sour Patch Kids to traverse the oversized world through twists, jumps, riddles, and puzzle-solving. Tokens like Stars and Gumdrops are collected along the way, providing extra life and level score points. Players must also evade candy enemies and hungry humans to beat the game. There are even moments in the game where the player must choose other Sour Patch Kids to be sacrificed to continue playing. Dark, huh? The game obviously never really topped the charts, generally receiving mixed or average views from players. At most, some considered it merely a decently fun way to kill some time. Versions to play on Windows, PlayStation, and Xbox Live Arcade can still be tracked down. Candy and a videogame, anyone?
8. Sour Patch Kids were originally aliens
These days, the candies are clearly shaped like small children. Yeah, it’s kind of creepy to think about, but the human-like shape of Sour Patch Kids is as recognizable as the taste. Little heads, bodies, arms, and legs make the candies immediately recognizable, right? Well, that wasn’t always the case! What’s less known is that Sour Patch Kids weren’t always kids at all. In fact, they were originally aliens! When Sour Patch Kids were first developed in the 1970s, it was under the name “Mars Men.” As the name suggests, the little gummies were supposed to be Martians, and were shaped like teeny little aliens. So, where did the idea come from? The general public was incredibly enthusiastic and excited about space in the 1970s. The first lunar rovers, first landings on another planet, and first space station were all achieved in the early 70s, right after the first moon landing in 1969. The public was generally interested in space, so marketing the candies as aliens was a natural fit at the time. It’s impossible to know whether the original Maritan shape would have still made the candies as insanely popular as they are today, but the name wasn’t destined to stick. Soon enough, another craze would inspire the Sour Patch Kids everyone knows and loves today.
7. The name was inspired by Cabbage Patch Kids
While the space craze of the 1970s inspired the original Martian form of Sour Patch Kids, the alien name wasn’t meant to stick. Mars Men was dropped as the official name in the early 1980s, when Sour Patch Kids were first given the name they’ve held to this today. So, where exactly did the moniker come from? Well, if the 70s were all about the space craze, then the 80s were all about Cabbage Patch Kids. That’s right! The dolls were skyrocketing in popularity across North America circa 1980, and the bigwigs behind Maritan Men saw another opportunity to capitalize on the trend. Jumping on the Cabbage Patch bandwagon, they rebranded Martian Men as Sour Patch Kids in 1985. Changing the original alien form, they made the candies look more like humans and more like the shape they are today. The timing of the name change seemed to be exactly right, because the candies eventually became the mainstay they are today. The human shape is highly recognizable, and the new name became a household name when it comes to sour candy. While most people wouldn’t immediately associate Sour Patch Kids with Cabbage Patch Kids (nor are Cabbage Patch Kids nearly as popular these days as they were back in the 1980s), taking advantage of the doll’s popularity turned out to be exactly the right move.
6. The original mascot was a real kid
Way back in the day, Sour Patch Kids packaging featured a cartoon image of a blonde boy sticking his tongue out. This little boy was the mascot of the candy, and while he’s not on the packaging anymore, plenty of older Sour Patch Kids fans will remember his face on the box. He was cross-eyed, tongue out, and clearly in the middle of a sour candy-induced pucker. The coolest fact about him? This kid was actually real! That’s right, the Sour Patch Kids kid was based on a real person. So, who was he? The creator of Sour Patch Kids, Frank Galatolie, has a son named Scott. Scott got his 15 minutes of fame when the box’s mascot was designed after him. Imagine how cool Scott must have felt seeing his face on candy boxes everywhere! The design stayed the same for many years, except for the addition of a baseball cap on Scott’s head. In 1992, a little girl was added to the packaging as well. It’s unclear whether the girl was based on a real child as well or was just a cartoon character. Unfortunately for them, the brand eventually dropped the cartooned images from the box, and the packaging now features no semblance of Scott or the little girl. Well, it must have been cool for Scott while it lasted.
5. Sour Patch Kids have a rap song about them
Ever just wanna rap about a candy because it’s that good? Sour Patch Kids got their own musical moment when rapper Method Man of the Wu-Tang Clan released a single based on the candy. The song came out in 2011 and was called “World Gone Sour.” Mondelez International, the company that distributes the candies, originally requested the song from Method Man. There was a touch of controversy after the song, as some fans accused the rapper of selling out. He claims that he was given significant creative control and that Mondelez deserved credit for choosing an established rapper to create the tune. Controversy and accusations of selling out aside, the song actually sounds far more like a legit rap single than a corny jingle. The lyrics lament that the little sour candies could wreak havoc on the world and a repetitive beat drives the idea home. Along with that idea, the music video starts with a bag of the candies getting accidentally spilled in Method Man’s apartment, where they go on to cause chaos. Lyrics accuse the candies of everything from throwing bleach in laundry to wiping songs off MP3s. As strange as a rap about candy might be, it’s undeniably catchy.
4. They were originally invented in Canada
Which country reigns supreme when it comes to candy creation? Canada can claim Sour Patch Kids as one of their best additions to the candy world. While some people think the sour gummies were invented in the United States, they actually originally came to be in Hamilton, Ontario. Frank Galatolie created Mars Men, the original name for Sour Patch Kids, under Jaret International and M & A Candy Company. This came after Cadbury and Smeera Blyton Licorice Company of Sweden joined forces to found the Allen Candy Company in Ontario. The resulting operation was where Sour Patch Kids were produced for over a decade. That’s right, Sour Patch Kids were exclusively a Canadian delicacy for a while! Then, the candy made the jump over the border to the United States in 1985. They quickly became successful on American shelves, and have remained a top-selling sour candy in both countries ever since. When Cadbury-Adams sold to Mondelez International in the late 1990s, Sour Patch Kids furthered their international reach. Nowadays, the candy remains popular in Canada, the United States, Australia, and England. Some flavors are even exclusive to markets across the pond, where Maynards produces them. While they’re not available worldwide just yet, Sour Patch Kids are certainly well-loved everywhere they’re sold.
3. The original flavors were different from what they are now
When Sour Patch kids were invented, the flavors in the box were different from what fans snack on now. Originally, the candies came in lemon, lime, orange, and “redberry”, which was similar in flavor to raspberry. So, what was the addition? Nowadays, candy fanatics will also find blue raspberry in the box along with the original flavors. Blue raspberry was added to the lineup in 2014, and developed a devoted fan club nearly right away. Eventually, the add-on to the original lineup would become the first flavor chosen for the debut of Sour Patch Kids gum in 2014. While gum in the rest of the original flavor lineup would eventually be released, the blue raspberry version remains a widespread favorite. Sour Patch Kids fans in England won’t find the beloved blue raspberry candy, however. Over there, a blackcurrant flavor was added to the lineup instead, and fans across the pond are fond of the addition. Of course, more versions of the candy called for more flavors! Candy fans could get their hands on Sour Patch Exploders, with flavors like Raspberry Lemonade Rush and Grape Berry Surge. The extra-sour Sour Patch Kids Extreme came in strawberry, orange, pear, and blue raspberry. A tropical spinoff featured passionfruit, Tropical Twist, pineapple, and Paradise Punch. The list goes on and on, but the originals (plus blue raspberry, of course) continue to be the most-loved Sour Patch Kids out there.
2. There were a ton of spinoff products
Anyone who’s a true fan of Sour Patch Kids knows that the fun doesn’t stop at the candy. The product gained such popularity that a long list of spinoff products have hit the market around the world! Some of the more recognizable include Sour Patch Kids ice cream and Sour Patch Kids cereal. The ice cream was originally owned by Breyers and produced by Nestle, which made it a hit in the UK market. For a limited time, the sour frozen treat was available exclusively at Walmart. While sour ice cream didn’t quite become a widespread hit, a devoted fan group of the ice cream searched high and low for the special flavor in grocery stores around the world. Sour Patch Kids cereal was marketed almost exclusively to young kids, who were much keener to eat a sugar-packed sour breakfast. While enjoying sweet and sour along with milk didn’t quite do it for some, this cereal also ended up with a considerable fan base. Other spinoff products included Sour Patch lollipops, Sour Patch Popsicles, and holiday-themed candies, like Sour Patch Hearts for Valentine’s and Sour Patch Bunnies for Easter. Despite the variety of Sour Patch products that hit the shelves, the original candies are still by far the best-selling product. You can’t beat a classic.
1. The cereal has an insane amount of sugar
Undoubtedly one of the most famous Sour Patch spinoffs, the cereal was not for the faint of heart. In fact, one of the craziest Sour Patch Kids facts is actually about the cereal! This breakfast treat by Post is actually a staggering 40% sugar. Yikes. Each spoonful contains an insane amount of added sugar in the form of both white sugar and corn syrup. Here’s the math: a serving of the cereal is 40 grams, 16 grams of which is just pure sugar. That makes Sour Patch Kids cereal 40% sugar by weight, which is an incredibly high ratio. This is actually the same amount of sugar in a Dunkin’ Donuts glazed donut. Wow, that’s pretty sweet! Obviously, the first ingredient in the cereal is sugar, which doesn’t exactly make it the healthiest breakfast option out there. This probably contributes to the fact that the cereal is marketed most directly at young children. Parents and young adults probably wouldn’t be as keen to start their day with a meal that’s 40% added sugars. So, what else about the cereal makes it so crazy? True to Sour Patch form, the cereal had pieces that were colored like each of the original candy flavors. There are red pieces for redberry, organge pieces, yellow for lemon, green for lime, and blue for blue raspberry. Despite the careful coloring, most snackers agree that the cereal pieces didn’t actually taste any different based on the color. The only difference between the pieces seems to be the food coloring applied to them. Don’t be dissuaded, though! Many people still enjoy the taste of the cereal, and it’s been likened to the taste of Trix or Froot Loops. Of course, the sour burst is one of a kind.