Kids of all ages love candy – it’s almost a universal thing. Every decade has its candy highlights, but the 1970s had its fair share of iconic and delicious candies that are mostly still around today. Thanks to the Internet, you can probably find those that slipped away and relive those years through sweets. Here are the 10 Best Candy of the 70s.
10. Sour Patch Kids
Probably one of the most iconic candies today, Sour Patch Kids have come a long way. From the late 1970s until today, these cute little chewy candies have been making kids happy and delighting us with their colorful and delicious flavors. Sour Patch Kids were invented in Ontario, Canada, and were first thought of by Frank Galatolie. The candy was based on another product of his called “Mars Men,” little gummies shaped as Martians, to capitalize on the space enthusiasm of the ’70s. With the arrival of the Cabbage Patch Dolls craze, the candy’s name was changed to “Sour Patch Kids” to benefit as much as possible. Original flavors were lemon, lime, orange, and raspberry, until the beloved berry flavor was added to the bunch. As much as they were a big hit in Canada, they didn’t make their way to the United States until sometime after 1985, and when they did, it was one heck of a celebration. They were originally made by the M&A Candy Company but have since been acquired by Maynards Candy. Today, Sour Patch Kids are sold worldwide and come in an array of different flavors and special editions. There are Xploders, X-Treme, Fruits, Berries, and there’s even Sour Patch ice cream. Sour Patch Kids have grown popular because of their distinct sour taste, but the fact that they look so darn cute has sure hasn’t hurt!
9. Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Gustav Goelitz started a candy company in America in 1869. Although the company came up with a wide variety of candies, the Jelly Belly brand of mini candy beans has only been around since 1976. In the 1970s, the mini jelly bean was quite an innovation in the candy industry, but Goelitz’s company – now Jelly Belly – didn’t stop there. Anyone who is familiar with Jelly Belly jelly beans knows that they are famous for having a long list of unique flavors such as Orange Sherbert, Island Punch, Pina Colada, and infamously – Buttered Popcorn. These are examples of the official flavors the candy giant offers, but there are other collections of flavors as well. BeanBoozled is a special collection of…let’s just say exotic flavors that include Stink Bug, Dead Fish, and yes, even Barf. It’s not clear who would want to eat these gross flavors when there are so many proven delicious flavors to choose from. Kids like to gross each other out, so you could imagine them daring each other to sample the Booger or Canned Dog Food flavors. But for the average candy lover, the traditional Jelly Belly flavors are appealing and delicious enough to satisfy even the most powerful sweet tooth. Jelly beans have been around a while, but the Jelly Belly brand helped create a new appreciation for the little candy beans.
8. Bottle Caps
Way back in the day, people used to collect things like bottle caps – although no one is really sure why. In the 1970s, a candy company came out with a candy based on this very collectible item and called them Bottle Caps. These little tablets of candy from the Willy Wonka candy brand are shaped to look like bottle caps of the era and made to resemble your favorite fizzy soda drink. It comes in flavors like orange, root beer, cola, grape, and cherry. Originally, bottle caps also had a lemon-lime flavor until it was replaced with the cherry flavor. They are a combination of a sweet and slightly tart taste, which is similar to their cousin, SweetTarts. For a short time, the Willy Wonka company even made a fizzy version of bottle caps that would get a little bubbly when you chewed them, but they were discontinued. In 2009, these classic Bottle Caps underwent some changes. First, they were shrunk down a bit, probably to save money, and second, the shape was changed, so they do not look as much like an old bottle cap – but they still have that same delicious taste. Even with the changes and the cancellation of the fizzy bottle caps, this candy is still very much worth trying. And with so many more soda flavors available today, just imagine how many new Bottle Caps Willy Wonka could make – we’re thinking Strawberry Kiwi or even Vanilla Cherry.
7. Candy Buttons
There’s a famous scene in the animated movie Shrek where a distraught gingerbread man reacts badly to someone’s intention to pluck the gumdrop buttons off him. Had the movie been made in the 1970s, the gumdrop buttons would’ve been Candy Buttons. Candy Buttons were the brainchild of an inventor and engineer named George Dib, who put his smarts to good use when he came up with this tasty candy. His Candy Buttons are also called candy dots and candy pox. However, Candy pox might not be the most appetizing name ever, so Buttons should probably stay the norm. This candy was introduced to the public in 1977 and was sold on long sheets of paper. Several different companies had rights to candy dots until the Necco Company bought them in 1980 and became the sole manufacturer in the United States. Necco went with three flavors lime (blue), cherry (pink), and lemon (yellow.) Sadly, Necco filed for bankruptcy in 2018, and the rights to candy buttons were sold to another company that brought the little treats back to stores. These candies might not be as flashy as bottle caps or jelly beans, but they were definitely a candy that helped define the 1970s.
6. Fun Dip
If you like to eat anything with an over-the-top amount of sugar, then Fun Dip will definitely be fun for you. Fun Dip are packets of colored and flavored sugar candy – so…basically just sugar. What’s not to love about that? The packets come with a candy stick to dip into the powdered candy, sort of like a spoon. Even though it dates back to the WWII era, it was in the 1970s that Wonka rebranded it to become the great candy that it is today. It became a huge hit, and every kid just loved this little treat. Although kids love fun dip it, it has also been adopted by grown-ups for use in recipes. For example, one website suggests mixing the cherry Fun Dip with whipped cream for a pink and fun cherry cream topping. But, Fun Dip comes in all different flavors, and not just cherry. There are lime, grape, and even cucumber watermelon. The edible stick is a pretty genius idea, considering you never have to worry about having any type of utensils on hand. Plus, it makes consuming the little powder even more fun. The candy stick is basically an essential part of what makes Fun Dip fun. This candy might not be as glamorous as some others, but it remains a kid favorite that is a lot of fun – just as the name suggests. If you’ve never had Fun Dip, you should definitely give it a try and see what the hype is all about.
5. York Peppermint Patties
The commercials from the 1970s did not hold back when it came to convincing people that York peppermint patties were cool and crisp. They wanted you to “feel the sensation” of this peppermint candy, whatever that means. Commercials would show people being carried away and feeling the sensation of the exquisitely cool mint of a York peppermint patty. What makes these so special is their unique texture. They aren’t soft or gooey like some other mints. York’s patties have a little snap when you break them in half – a crisp little snap that promises something beyond the ordinary. These dark chocolate covered mint patties come in different sizes, including little individually wrapped mini patties. Mr. York didn’t started out with peppermint patties back in 1920. In those days, he was very much focused on making ice cream cones. The now-famous peppermint patties didn’t hit the market until 1940. The cool mints didn’t really hit their stride until the Peter Paul Company bought the York Cone Company, and the Patty was born. This company finally brought the cool candy to a national scale in 1975. Whether you love chocolate or love peppermint, you’ll love the unbeatable combination of this chocolate and peppermint that snaps.
4. Wax Candy Lips
This is a strange entry on the list of best candy from the 1970s because, well, what exactly was the deal with Wax candy Lips? Was it candy? Was it a weird accessory? It was never really clear as to what it was meant for. All we know is that it was great for comedic effect and that it didn’t taste the best. Whether it was to eat or to wear, kids tried to wear them more than they tried to eat this paraffin wax product molded to look like big red lips. Kids would try to wear them over their real lips, but they didn’t stay on very well. So their mandate to be used as a disguise wasn’t really fulfilled. And as for the candy part, very few kids would actually qualify these as candy at all. But, they were edible, and they were marketed and sold alongside candy in candy aisles. Wax Lips suffered from the fact that the main ingredient was wax, which is, well, not really an edible foodstuff. You can imagine how some people didn’t even dare to put one of these near their mouths. While the paraffin wax is technically safe to chew and eat, it might be best to refrain from doing so. As you know, sticky foods stay on your teeth longer, meaning more damage time. What can we say – it was the 70’s. Eating even one of two of these so-called candies probably felt like you were eating a bunch of scented candles – minus the wick, of course. Wax lips might just be one of those mysteries that may never be solved.
3. Ring Pops
If you’re looking for a fancy but cheap gift for a Valentine or simply to enjoy a truly delicious treat, Ring Pops are the perfect candy for you. Ring Pops look like fancy diamond rings kids can actually wear on their little fingers. Even though these are technically lollipops, the fact that they’re shaped like a ring gives them an unmatched advantage. Ring Pops originally came in only two flavors: cherry and grape. However, over the years, the candy jewelry expanded its flavors considerably to include apple, lime, watermelon, strawberry, and even blue raspberry. Ring Pops were invented by a man who works at Topps, the bubblegum card company which also makes candy. They say inspiration is the mother of invention, but in this case, his daughter did the trick. He wanted to break his daughter’s thumb-sucking habit, so he came up with this thumb candy to give her something else to suck on. Kids loved Ring Pops right away, just as they already loved the candy necklace – another 1970’s favorite candy accessory. Kids today enjoy a lot of wearable technology like smartwatches, but back in the 1970s, high technology was this lollipop shaped like a candy ring. This candy technology is still going strong even in our age of smartphones and virtual reality, and hopefully, it will continue going strong – hologram Ring Pop anyone?
If you’ve seen the original 1971 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then you’ve probably always wanted to try the everlasting gobstopper. This magic candy described in the iconic children’s movie was purported to never dwindle no matter how long a child sucked on it. While the real gobstoppers aren’t quite everlasting, they have proved to be enduringly popular with kids since the 1970s. In 1976, Nestle started selling its candy under the Willy Wonka candy brand, and they have been going strong ever since. Some companies called their version of this candy a jawbreaker, which, in a way, makes sense since you could potentially hurt yourself if you were to directly bite into one. There was also a version of this type of candy called a dino-sour egg. This exotic version of the jawbreaker had a brief run, but it did not have the same staying power as Wonka’s Gobstoppers. The Willy Wonka version of this candy is still being enjoyed by children today. Made of layer upon layer of changing colors and flavors, its popularity has yet to wear off. Willy Wonka Gobstoppers might just last forever, even if they aren’t quite everlasting.
1. Reese’s Pieces
The 1982 movie E.T. The Extraterrestrial was a bona fide sensation from director Steven Spielberg. Spielberg and the cute alien weren’t the only stars of this science fiction classic, however. They had to share the limelight with a new candy. These relatively unknown sweets were called Reese’s Pieces candies. The colorful little candy-coated pieces of peanut butter were introduced to America in 1978. They were seen as a not so successful competitor to the much more famous M&Ms candies – which, funnily enough, had turned down the invitation to be used in the movie. Reese’s Pieces were seen as a way to capitalize on the success of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, although, unlike the cups, the pieces have no chocolate. The fortunes of Reese’s Pieces changed after candy and movie fans alike were introduced to an extraterrestrial who found himself living in a little boy’s closet. This wayward alien had a sweet tooth, and it turned out he had a penchant for Reese’s Pieces. The kids used the brown, orange, and yellow-colored candies to lure the alien into their house and into a closet where he’d be relatively safe. But even if you don’t like the movie or have never seen it, you can still love these tasty little peanut butter flavored candies. Most people tend to pick the ever iconic M&Ms over Reese’s Pieces, but you shouldn’t underestimate these little treasures. The priceless publicity that the candy received by appearing in Spielberg’s blockbuster helped the candy enter the consciousness of an entire generation.