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Sour Candy Appears In Stores In 1954 But Don’t Become Very Popular Till 1993

July 18th is National Sour Candy Day! Adults and children alike will enjoy lip-puckering, eye-watering flavors. Choose your favorite sour candy and celebrate!   Without a doubt, July 18th is the perfect day to share any of the variety of flavors the American Licorice Company has to offer.

  • In the past 20 years, candies marketed to children have increasingly been of a “fruity” or “sour” variety.
  • Some candy is so acidic it can actually burn gums and cheeks.
  • Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
  • Holding the acid in your mouth by prolonged candy sucking or chewing continues the acid attack
  • Sour candies like Lemon Drops are used by patients undergoing chemo and radiation therapy since it helps promote salivation. Many cancer medications also cause severe changes in taste, which sucking on Lemon Drops can help regulate.
  • Pregnant women should keep some Lemonheads or other sour food stuffs near their nightstand since this helps curb morning sickness.
  • The most common types of sour candies fall into one of three general categories:
    • Sour gummies
    • Sour hard candy
    • Sour jellies
  • Many sour candies incorporate naturally sour ingredients into the main body of the candy. Others contain mostly sweet ingredients but are dusted with acid-infused granulated sugar to make them taste tart (think Sour Patch Kids).
  • While most sour candies are based on naturally tart fruit flavors – e.g., lemon, lime, raspberry, strawberry, or green apple – the super sour taste we know and love comes from a few organic acids. Each has its own unique flavor profile and level of tartness.
  • One of the most common ingredients in sour candy is citric acid. It occurs naturally in citrus fruits like lemons and grapefruits, and can also be found in smaller amounts in berries and some vegetables.
  • Citric acid is an antioxidant essential for energy production and even the prevention of kidney stones.
  • When Canadian candy conglomerate Jaret International created Sour Patch Kids in the late 1970s, they originally intended to capitalize on the popularity of UFOs. The candy was called Mars Men and sold reasonably well. When Jaret exported the product to the United States in 1985, they decided Americans were A). not as enthused about aliens, and B). preoccupied with the Cabbage Patch Kids, prompting the name change.
  • The original sour patch flavors were lemon, lime, orange, and cherry. It wasn’t until 2014 that the blue raspberry joined the regular lineup
  • Sour Patch Kids contain tartaric and citric acids, which are chock full of protons that our tongues register as sour. The protons actually increase when the acids are mixed with a liquid like saliva.
  • Warheads were invented in Taiwan in 1975 and were first imported to the United States in the early 1980s. They are known for their intense sour flavor which fades after about 30 seconds. They’re marketed as “extreme” candy and the name comes from the idea that the sour taste is like a real warhead exploding in one’s mouth.
  • Ranking the sourest candies:
    • #8 – SweetTarts: Sweet Tarts are a classic and so can’t be left off the list. But, for the real sour fans among us, Sweet Tarts are child’s play: a tiny dollop of sour on a fruit candy
    • #7 – Sour Nerds: While individually, Nerds aren’t that sour, if you get a big mouthful of these little devils you’ll still go to go into sour overdrive.
    • #6 – Sour Punch Straws:  it’s sour the whole way through so you get a nice even dose of sourness as you eat each one.
    • #5 – Sour Flush: This gross little item requires you to dip a plunger into a toilet bowl of yummy sweet and sourness and then lick it off. And repeat.
    • #4 – Cry Baby Tears: Extra Sour Candy: all things considered, these are a good choice for your sour enjoyment — sour enough to know it matters, but not enough to take the enamel off you teeth
    • #3 – Altoids Apple Sours and Lemon:  Apple Sour Altoids will make your teeth itch, but they won’t send you running for cover. Altoids Sour Lemons are a surprisingly strong sour candy. It’s easy to picture an unsuspecting person popping a few of these little guys into their mouth, expecting a mildly sour experience, and winding up with tears in their eyes.
    • #2 – Atomic Warheads: Loaded with a double-handful of citric acid, the sour substance supreme, Warheads also have a touch of sugar just to keep you entertained while your eyes water.
    • #1 – Toxic Waste: Toxic Waste candy is so loaded with face-shrinking, mouth-puckering, saliva-inducing citric acid that you are advised – seriously – to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth afterward so that you don’t hurt your teeth.
  • 19th Century: Candy has a Bad Reputation.  Mass-produced candy is looked upon with trepidation by most consumers and candy makers don’t want to risk experimenting with tastes for fear of losing credibility
  • 1950a: Candy + Halloween. Candy makers create ad campaigns that forever link candy to Halloween — doing this also allows them the freedom to slowly introduce new flavors and types of candy.
  • 1954: Sour Candy is here. The Atomic Fireball leaves a tart taste, and the sour candy market slowly begins to erupt.
  • 1962: Sour Candy Comes into the Spotlight. Lemonhead candy — which utilizes citric acid to mimic the sour flavor — is introduced and it is a hit.
  • 1993: The Sour Candy Craze Explodes. Peter De Yager — founder of the Foreign Candy Co. — brings Warheads to U.S. shores from Thailand, which has a huge impact on the sour candy market.
  • There is a type of sour candy — Sour Flush Candy Toilets — where the candy is a toilet plunger and you dip it into a plastic ‘toilet’ full of sour sugar.


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