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80s Candy- Sweat Childhood Memories

by Julie

It is not surprising that candy companies would capitalize on the popularity of each decade through the marketing of various candy products. The 1980s was a time of great technological change, with new innovations leading to more personal and portable electronic devices. This is reflected in the candy products produced during this decade.

The 1980s saw the introduction of new candy companies, such as Brach’s, Haribo and Jelly Belly. These companies produced a variety of products that were released specifically for the US market. Foods that became popular in Europe – such as jellybeans and licorice – made their way to United States stores.

The 1980s also saw the rise of the gourmet candy industry. Candy companies capitalized on this trend by producing specialty candies that were expensive and had unique packaging. Candy companies could charge more for these items because they were different from traditional candies, which had become less novel to consumers.



In addition, a variety of retro candies from the 1950s through the 1970s experienced a revival in popularity during this decade. Old-fashioned candies like wax lips and stick gum appeared in a wide range of new packaging designs to appeal to consumers who longed for products reminiscent of their childhoods.

Some of the more popular candies from this period include:


Tootsie Rolls

Tootsie Rolls were developed in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield, a Polish candy maker. Hirshfield sold his candy business to a New York company, and the name was changed to Tootsie Roll Company.

The original Tootsie Rolls contained nuts and malt, and were wrapped in paper. This version was produced until 1909, when the candy was re-designed to be wrapped in cellophane, thus making it easier for the company to ship nationwide. The chocolate-flavored Tootsie Roll was introduced in 1920.


Tootsie Pop

A lollipop with a caramel center covered with chocolate that is shaped like a roll of Tootsie Rolls. This product made its debut in 1975 and gained popularity during the 1980s. The popular movie E.T., featuring a character fond of these candies, also helped boost their popularity during this time period. The candy has been featured on several television shows as well as commercials over the years (e.g., Seinfeld).



Cherry Mash

A long stick of chewy cherry-flavored candy. This product was made by the Tootsie Roll Company and was introduced in 1988.


Laffy Taffy

A taffy candy manufactured by The Willy Wonka Candy Company, which also produces the popular Nerds and Runts brands of candies. Laffy Taffy was designed to resemble a piece of taffy stretching to over a foot long, making it easy to pull apart and eat.

Laffy Taffy was introduced in 1982, at a time when taffy candies were becoming more popular. The name of the candy was chosen because it is considered to be fun and silly.

The packaging of this product was designed to look like a small box of Cracker Jacks, which are also produced by The Willy Wonka Candy Company. In addition to the original flavor, there are now over 20 flavors of Laffy Taffy available.



Fun Dip

A candy product that consists of a stick of taffy that is dipped into a small cup of flavored sugar syrup. The stick can then be licked clean, and the syrup swallowed. The Fun Dip was created in the 1960s by Henry Nehrling, who had previously developed the Lik-M-Aid line of candies. Originally, Fun Dip was available in cherry flavor only. It was re-designed and introduced again in 1983, at which time it was available in four flavors: cherry, root beer, grape and banana. New flavors have been added over the years (e.g., orange).

The name Fun Dip is also used for a product consisting of individually wrapped bags of candy powder that are sucked through a straw to develop flavor while it is being consumed. This product was released in 1987 and has since been reformulated to include both sugar and artificial sweeteners.


Ring Pops

A candy product made by the Topps Company. The ring is a small hard candy with a plastic ring molded around it. This bagged candy product was first introduced in 1979, and has since been reformulated to include flavors such as cola and watermelon.



Push Pops

A popular push pop consists of two layers: an outer layer made of hard candy (e.g., cherry, chocolate, or strawberry) and an inner layer made of either cream (e.g., chocolate) or yogurt (e.g., banana). This product gained popularity during the 1980s when it was featured in various commercials and television shows (e.g., Full House). The popularity of these candies waned during the mid-1990s, but they have recently begun to regain some of their former popularity as nostalgic candy products that are being marketed to teenagers and young adults.


Sour Patch Kids

A jelly bean-like candy that is covered with a sour coating; this product was created by Bruce Murrie of the Jelly Belly Candy Company in 1983 (the name is a play on “corrugated”). The original Sour Patch Kids were available in four flavors: cherry, lime, orange and raspberry. Since the candy’s introduction, it has been introduced in many additional flavors.




A taffy candy manufactured by The Wrigley Company. Starburst was first introduced in the 1970s as a single fruit flavor (e.g., strawberry). New flavors have since been added, including tropical (e.g., pineapple, raspberry, watermelon) and mixed fruit (e.g., cherry, lemon-lime). Other variations of Starburst include Starburst Jelly Beans, and Starburst Minis that are packaged with a lollipop stick on each end.


Tic Tac

A small mint-flavored candy that is coated with a thin layer of sugar to make it easier to handle and more palatable; this product was first produced in 1967 by Jacques Renaud in France. Tic Tac is a product name that is also used for several other types of mints produced by the company for various regions of the world (e.g., Tic Tac Chews). The original mint flavor Tic Tac has been reformulated over the years to include other flavors (e.g., tropical).

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