If you grew up in the 90s, you probably still remember when there was a candy store in every shopping mall. In these hallowed places, there was almost no end to the number and variety of candies you could buy!
There were M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, Jelly Bellies, Laffy Taffy, Gobstoppers, Runts, Three Musketeers, and many other old favorites. And then there are those sweets that are quintessential 90s candy, the ones that reached their peak popularity in that decade. We’re dedicating the rest of the article to paying tribute to 7 of those candies.
Airhead Bars from 1999!
Airheads were first created in 1985 by an Italian-Dutch confectionary and gum company called Perfetti Van Melle. You can still find them in some stores today, but in the 90s, Airheads were skyrocketing to the height of their fame. In 1999, Perfetti Van Melle spent around $2.5 million for media exposure for the candy. Back then, that was a lot of money to spend on candy advertising!
Airhead candies are long with a taffy-like consistency. In fact, taffy is one of the main ingredients (along with sugar, of course)! They come in a total of 16 different flavors in the US and Canada, including cherry, blue raspberry, watermelon, orange, grape, strawberry, and lemon. There were also sour Airheads, which were guaranteed to make your face pucker even as you kept eating more.
Thank goodness these are still being made today because we still can’t get enough.
Fun Dip, that Amazing 90s Candy
Fun Dip was (and still is) an exciting 90s candy to get because there was more to eating it than just popping it in your mouth, like M&M’s or Skittles.
Fun Dip comes with two edible candy sticks, which you’re supposed to lick and then dip back into the package to coat them in the flavored candy dust at the bottom. You could find Fun Dip in several different flavors, both sweet and sour, but the most common were raspberry/apple, cherry, and grape.
Always a popular 90s candy, Fun Dip was originally created in the 1940s, when it was called Lik-M-Aid. In the 1970s, Lik-M-Aid was rebranded with the much simpler name we know today. Then, in 1989, Nestle bought Fun Dip from the Ferrara Candy Company, and they’re still making it today.
Hard or Chewy? It's Spree Candy!
Spree is a colorful, flavorful candy that many 90s babies will be familiar with. Originally invented by the Sunline Candy Company in the 1960s, Spree is a round, disk-like candy with a flat top and bottom. There are two main versions of this candy: the original, which is hard, and the “chewy” variety that melts in your mouth as you chew it.
Eating Spree is described as receiving “a kick in the mouth” because, despite not being fully sour, there is still a tangy taste to these candies. You’ll typically find both the original and chewy versions containing just five flavors: cherry, orange, lemon, green apple, and grape.
Anyone for SweeTarts?
If the flavor of SweeTarts always reminded you of the sweet, tangy taste of Fun Dip and Pixie Stix, you were right on the money. The Sunline Candy Company invented SweeTarts in 1962 using the same basic recipe as those other two candies.
But while eating those involved licking candy dust from a sugar stick or pouring it straight into your mouth, SweeTarts were hard and round. You could find them in both sweet and sour flavors, including cherry, grape, blue punch, orange, green apple, and lemon.
Red Hot Atomic FireBlast
Atomic Fireball candies were not for the faint of heart. But if you loved a red-hot punch of sweet cinnamon filling your mouth, then this was the 90s candy for you.
Atomic Fireball was a round hard candy invented by the Ferrara Company in 1918. They were hard enough that you had to suck on them for a long time before you could finish eating it, which meant you could savor that hot cinnamon flavor for a long time.
You’ll be hard pressed to find Atomic Fireball candies today, as they’re no longer being produced. But it’s worth noting that before they were discontinued in 2012, Atomic Fireballs were the official “Console Candy of Choice” of the flight controllers in NASA’s Mission Control. Remember that piece of trivia for the next time you hang out with your friends who also grew up in the 90s!
Bit-O-Honey a Classic 90s Candy
Bit-O-Honey candies are sweet, chewy candies that you probably remember as coming to you individually wrapped in red and yellow packaging. The packaging featured a bee on the front, and yes, this 90s candy did contain honey (along with a lot of other ingredients, of course).
Bit-O-Honey’s have a long and storied history, dating all the way back to 1928 when the Schutter-Johnson Company first created them. Over the next several decades, the candy passed through a few more hands until it ended up at Nestle in 1984. Nestle produced Bit-O-Honey’s until they, in turn, sold them to the Pearson’s Candy Company in 2013. Finally, in 2020, the Spangler Candy Company acquired the Bit-O-Honey candies, and they still make them today.
Sour and Fizzy, it must be Zotz!
ZotZ was definitely a whacky 90s candy. Originally invented in 1968, ZotZ candies were produced in Italy by G.B. Ambrosoli. They were hard and round, and when you bit into them, you always got a jolt of sour, fizzy flavor unlike any other candy. This addictive fizz is what made ZotZ so popular. And if you now find yourself craving that one-of-a-kind ZotZ flavor from your childhood, you can still buy it online!
Zotz candy became a cultural phenomenon in the 90s, with enthusiasts trading and collecting the different flavors and packaging. It even made appearances in movies and TV shows, further solidifying its iconic status.
Rounding up 90s candy
In conclusion, the 90s was a golden era for candy lovers. It was a time when confectionery companies unleashed their creativity, producing iconic and innovative treats that captured the hearts and taste buds of a generation. From the fizzy sensation of Zotz to the sweet and tangy taste of SweeTarts, these candies played a significant role in shaping the collective palate and memories of the 90s kids.
The candies of the 90s weren’t just about great taste and unique textures; they also represented the spirit of the decade, characterized by bold colors, quirky designs, and an overall sense of fun. With many of these candies still available today, it’s clear that their appeal transcends generations, introducing new fans to the sweet, sometimes sour, but always exciting world of 90s candy.