Some candies are definitely a sign of the times. We can even pinpoint certain eras just by the type of candy that was sold. So let’s take a trip back in time before smartphones and smart TVs and check out more Top 10 Best Candies of the 90’s.
10. Blow Pops
Remember Blow Pops? They were a proverbial favorite for many kids in the 90’s. Basically, they were lollipops with gum in the center. The Charms company, which has been around for over 100 years, produces these candy treats. The company was started by Walter W. Reid Jr of New Jersey in 1912. The original candies were not lollipops at all, but individual cellophane wrapped hard candies that came in Tropical flavors. It was during WWII that the candy shot to stardom. However, it took a while for them to morph into the Blow Pops that we know today. Blow Pops were only developed in the early 1970s and by the 1990’s had become the best-selling item ever released by the Charms Company. In the 70’s, lollipops were all the rage and were made even more popular due to the 70’s detective show Kojak. The show starred Telly Savalas as the title character Kojak – a cool bald-headed detective who sucked on lollipops while solving crimes. Did you know that Blow Pops were the first bubble gum-filled lollipop in the world? Kids loved them because it was like getting two candies in one – a hard candy and a chewy gum center. Blow Pops came in different flavors like watermelon, strawberry, cherry, grape and sour apple. Charms were also the makers of Charm Squares and Sweet & Sour Pops and Sour Balls. In the 80’s, the company was sold to the Tootsie Roll Company, the largest lollipop manufacturer in the world.
The “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids” of candy, who doesn’t remember loving Runts? These tasty candy treats come in different shapes of tiny pieces of fruit. We first saw them hit the market in the early 80’s, but they hit the pinnacle of their popularity in the 90’s. These candies are packed with lots of flavor and each fruity Runt consists of compressed sugar (much like a SweeTart) with a hard outer candy shell. Runts originally came in banana, cherry, strawberry, orange and lime flavors – with each respective flavor in the shape of its corresponding fruit. In the late 90’s they added watermelon and blue raspberry but discontinued the lime flavor. In the 2000’s, various other flavors were tried and then subsequently discontinued as well. Runts pack quite a punch, both in flavor and in crunch. These candies are quite hard and you could easily crack a tooth while crunching into one. Runts were invented by The Willy Wonka Candy Company, which was later acquired by Nestle. Yes, there truly was a Willy Wonka Candy Company. So if you’re looking for a small candy packed with a kick, then Runts are for you! Though you better have a good dental plan just in case.
8. Big League Chew
Big League Chew is a popular bubble gum brand, easily recognizable largely due to the image of a cartoon baseball player on its package. It has been around since 1980, but reached the pinnacle of success during the 90’s when every kid loved to chew on this bubble gum – especially if you were into playing baseball. Big League Chew Gum was the brainchild of a Portland Mavericks baseball player named Rob Nelson and bat boy Todd Field. Their idea of a shredded bubble gum that came in a pouch was pitched to the Wrigley Company as an alternative to chewing tobacco, which was popular among ball players. Since its inception, 800 million packs of this gum have been sold worldwide. So popular is this brand that it even has an official endorsement from the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is sold in its traditional pink color with cartoony packaging originally designed by artist Bill Mayer. Other flavors include sour apple and grape. Today, Big League Chew is manufactured in the United States by the Ford Gum & Machine Company after acquiring the rights from Wrigley. The original slogan from the 80’s “You’re in the big leagues when you’re into Big League Chew!” is still used to this day. This is one of the best candies from the 90’s that is still going strong today.
Jujyfruits is a brand of chewy, gumdrop-like candy which became very popular in the 90’s after being referenced in a Seinfeld Episode. These candies are not only a favorite with kids but adults alike. Every hero needs a nemesis and Jujyfruits are no different. They are in direct competition with another favorite American chewy candy – the jujube. Jujyfruits may have been popular in the 90’s, but they were actually first produced in the 1920’s by the Heide Company. It was started by a German immigrant, Henry Heide in 1869, and his name was stamped on each Jujyfruits candy. The brand changed hands a few times since then and is now owned by the Ferrara Candy Company. Jujyfruits first made a name for themselves after mainly being sold in cinemas and theatres. But today they can be found almost anywhere. Interestingly enough, although Jujyfruits are fruity flavored and come in fruit and vegetable shapes, the flavor corresponds with the colors and not the shapes. So, you may get a surprise when you put them in your mouth. But, that’s all part of the fun. The different shapes include Asparagus, Banana, Pea Pod, Pineapple, Raspberry, and Tomato. Fruity flavors include raspberry, black licorice, lime, orange and lemon. You can also find a sour variety. Once upon a time, the green colored Jujyfruits were mint flavored. In 1999, Hershey, the company that owned them at the time, changed those mint candies to lime after a survey proved the flavor was not that popular with customers. Mint or lime, Jujyfruits were all the rage in the 90s and still are.
6. Spin Pops
Talk about gimmicky! Spin Pops were another popular lollipop that made its first appearance in the 90’s. They were basically a battery-operated lollipop that spins around. Sounds cool, but when you think about it, it’s kinda like we all got lazy in the 90’s and needed this one because we couldn’t do the licking ourselves. Invented by two couples from Virginia, Ann & Bill Schlotter and Tom & Ann Coleman, in 1993, Spin Pops sold 15 million lollipops in one year at $4 dollars a pop. They started as a home business; while they were all working for the U.S. Postal Service, they were living the dream as amateur inventors. The Spin Pop was basically a lollipop with handles that hold batteries. The Spin Pop handle, which is reusable, holds the stick of a ball-shaped lollipop. At the flick of a switch, the candy rotates. They also invented the Laser Pop the following year in which the handle acts like a flashlight, illuminating a 4-inch-long, sword-shaped candy on the end. We’re not sure how many of those they sold, but let’s just that they were all able to retire. These novelty lollipops still have a place in today’s market with the concept even expanding to rotating Pez dispensers. It continues to be a multimillion-dollar venture and popular with kids. Having licensing deals to create Spin Pops based on Disney Characters, Comic book heroes, Minions or Star Wars characters probably doesn’t hurt either. Spin Pops may have started in the 90’s but they are still a fan favorite.
5. Mega Warheads
Mega Warhead Candies are another hard sour candy of the 90’s that will have you puckering up your lips. These candies are super sour fruit pellets that will make tongues tingle with their sour power. Kids would run to the store to buy tons of these packets to share with friends just to watch their faces contort. They came in flavors such as Apple, Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry and Watermelon. Warheads Candy was actually invented in Taiwan in 1975, before making its way to North America in 1993, by way of The Foreign Candy Company of Iowa. Today they are produced by Impact Confections who purchased the brand in 2004. Its fierce sour flavor is one of the most intense tasting sour candies on the market. How sour are these candies? Just check out the face on the wrapper! Yes, your head will explode. Imagine popping a few of these into your mouth at the same time. The sourness of Warheads Candy comes mostly from the powdery coating on the outside of the candy which is made from malic acid. The exclusive special coating on Warheads Candy is kept top secret. They are still very popular today as sour candy never really goes out of style with the kids. The packaging also comes with a warning stating that, “Eating multiple pieces within a short time period may cause a temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths”. Mega Warheads are still one of the best sour candies of all time if you want to numb your mouth for days.
4. Candy Ice Cream Twist-N-Lik
Candy Ice Cream Twist-N-Lik was another invention from the 90’s that had all the kids buzzing. It was more like a liquid or jelly that came out of a cone shaped container. A far cry from actual ice cream, the product was very gimmicky. First, it did not resemble anything like milky white ice cream or even close to it. In fact, kids probably enjoyed it more for its packaging than anything else. Invented by Koko’s Confectionery & Novelty of Maryland in 1995, Twist-N-Lik was more along the lines of a toy. This novelty candy came in a lot of plastic packaging that kids had a hard time unwrapping. But once they tasted the jelly like product that oozed out of the colorful cone, they loved it. No fuss, no mess, all they had to do was remove the cap, twist the bottom, and the fruit flavored candy would ooze out from the top. Flavors included Blue Raspberry, Cherry, or Strawberry. No vanilla, chocolate or any other typical ice cream flavors in this product line. The company went on to make other similar candies and did very well. Another popular product added to their roster was Slush Puppie squeeze candy.
3. Tiny Size Gum
The most memorable of the Tiny Sized Gum was made by Chiclets. Chiclets were introduced in the 1900’s by the American Chicle Company founded by Thomas Adams. Introduced originally only in peppermint flavor, the Chiclets name is a Mexican Spanish word meaning sticky stuff. It refers to pre-Columbian chewing gum which was found throughout MesoAmerica. This pre-Columbian chewing gum was made out of sap from various trees, but especially from the sapodilla tree. Chiclets are essentially the same as the indigenous chicle, with the innovation of a hard sugar coating offered in various flavors and colors. They were a popular chewing gum for most of the century; it was not until 1962 that the tiny version was introduced in the form of little gems that came in different fruit flavors. They reached the peak of popularity in the 90’s, and it was around this time that the formula changed too. The candies’ interiors became color & flavor-coordinated with the outer shell to give the gum an even fruitier flavor. They eventually disappeared off the shelves but made a return briefly in 2008. As of 2016, the brand was discontinued in the US, but you can still find chiclets in Mexico where they are still manufactured, under the name Motitas.
2. Squeeze Pops
Another all-time favorite of the 90’s that will open the memory floodgates and cause the sweet taste of nostalgia to ooze out are Squeeze Pops. The most popular brand was by Hubba Bubba. Many people recognize the name Hubba Bubba because of the bubble gum. These were not your typical hard or chewy candy but a squeeze tube that oozed a colorful fruity flavored liquid gel. Originally produced by WM Wrigley Company, Squeeze pops came in three different flavors: Cherry, Watermelon and Raspberry. Later they added Sour Squeeze Pops. The Hubba Bubba Brand was discontinued in the U.S. in the early 1990s, but was still being sold in many countries worldwide. It did make a brief resurgence in 2014 but this Squeeze Pop brand has not been sold for years. However, you may still find some for sale online. Squeeze Pops were one of the best things invented in the 90’s. These days they have something called Ooze tubes: gooey liquid candy which looks almost identical, and they even have a Green Apple flavor to try.
1. Pop Rocks
Pop Rocks are legendary. They even play a starring role in a widely recounted urban legend. These were a favourite of many kids in the 90’s, and they came about completely by accident. Pop Rocks were discovered by two chemists at the General Foods lab while they were trying to design an instant soft drink in the 60’s. The product only actually came to market in the 80’s, but General Foods later withdrew it from the marketplace in 1983 saying the product was not successful. After Kraft’s purchase of General Foods, it licensed the Pop Rocks brand to the company Zeta Especial S.A. who continues to manufacture the product to this day. By the 90’s, Pop Rocks were all the rage. They popped and fizzed when you put the candies in your mouth. If you were brave, you would drop the whole packet in your mouth at once, creating an exhilarating candy explosion. No wonder the kids loved them. The urban legend surrounding Pop Rocks was that drinking soda with them would cause your stomach to explode. One of these stories involved child actor John Gilchrist (Mikey) from the Life Cereal TV ads. Rumor had it that he died after consuming excessive amounts of Pop Rocks and Coke. Well don’t believe everything you hear as Mikey is still alive and well and has become Sales Director at the MSG Network. This legend gained further traction with the dawn of the digital age when people began to post videos of themselves doing… well, anything—including mixing pop rocks and soda. These videos have yielded millions of views online, proving that the interest in Pop Rocks still exists today. And more importantly, the theory that one’s stomach would explode if consuming both Pop Rocks and soda was put to the test many times, and it ultimately failed, proving that Pop Rocks are indeed safe. You may get a little gassy, but you will survive!