If you love taffy-style sweets, you will love Airheads candy. Most people have tried these delicious, tart and chewy candies before but if you have not you need to make sure that you put this on your list of candies to try. AirHeads candy are available at the theater in some places and can be purchased everywhere from gas stations, to grocery stores.
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AirHeads candy are fairly new on the scene, having only been sold since the 80s, but they are a fan favorite and most people try to give them out at parties or as Halloween candy. This is one of the most popular taffy type candies on the market today and you have been missing out if you have never tried them before.
This is a taffy candy that is made by a Dutch-Italian company called Perfetti Van Melle. These candies are made in Kentucky but are sold all over the US. They are both tangy and chewy and they come in various flavors. The taffy texture of these candies is not as tough and hard to chew as many other taffies which makes for a much more enjoyable eating experience overall.
This candy was made in 1985. They are sold in Canada and the US today and there are more than 16 flavors. The candy company that makes these taffies have actually been located in Kentucky since 1979. The factory was really small in the beginning with only a few people working in it. The factory today is 120,000 square feet and has 200 people working in it. This is the rebuilt factory that was built after an explosion destroyed the original building in 2015.
The candy was originally invented in relation to a product that was being made in Germany by the Perfetti company. This product was a soft fruit chew that was sold wrapped in two pieces of rice paper. Lipton Tea agreed to sell this candy at the same time as their work to develop Fruit Wrinkles. The companies agreed to make both candies and see which was more popular. Fruit Wrinkles won out over Fruit and Wafer Bars and the original product. The rice paper was the common reason for the choice between the two varieties.
This product’s creation meant that there were machines made to create a candy that was not going to be sold anywhere. The company decided that they had better come up with something to do with these machines that had been specifically made to create products and were just sitting. A taffy product seemed like the perfect idea for the use of these machines. Some experimentation was needed to get a wrapper developed that would work with the sticky candy, and AirHeads were born.
The original flavor was just called AirHeads. It was nominally strawberry or cherry but it was not explained in this way when it was sold. The original bars were also larger than the .55 oz bars sold today. The original product was 7/8 oz. This means that the candy was large and seemed like a great value when compared to smaller taffies that were sold a few at a time for almost the same price.
Airheads candy were originally sold for 25 cents rather than 10 cents like other taffy products. This was a great benefit to retailers as the popular candy was sold for much more money than their other taffy items. Word of mouth drove the original sales pretty handily despite the high price and the candy was a success. Orders started coming in and the price was no longer considered an obstacle to the sales of the little tart and chewy candies. The AirHead graphic with the red balloon wearing a silly smile was put on the original candy wrappers and it has never been replaced.
The name of the candies has been speculated about by some but the name seems to have come about due to the common insult at the time by the same name. This was a label that was given to people of all ages and both sexes in the 80s that were ditzy or were not focused on anything for long. The original designers of the candy claimed that they were trying to target older references to being high in the sense that hippies would recognize.
One of the original slogans for the candy was, “new high in fruity flavors”. This is the kind of airhead that the company claims they were aiming for when they decided on the name. The main benefit these days of the name is that it is unique. The original context has been lost over subsequent years and no longer applies to the way that the candy is marketed.
The marketing style for the candy with the red balloon and the AirHeads name was clearly a success anyway, no matter the reason for the silly moniker. The candy has held its own despite the rise of many other fruity, tart candies that are easier to eat. This is not a grab by the handfuls and snack kind of a treat but AirHeads remains just as popular as many of those candies, if not moreso.
As of 2014, the company was making about 3,000 pounds of taffy and 4 million bars a day. This was when new products were launched beyond the original flavor. The company has also announced that they are going to make AirHeads candy that are shaped like ropes. This a candy that has established itself over the years and this new product might be as well received as the traditional candy style.
AirHeads Candy Logo
Buy Airheads Candy Online
AirHeads Candy Flavors
This candy comes in many different varieties. There is a flavor for everyone and you will find that some of these flavors are really creative!
- Blue Raspberry
- Green Apple
- White Mystery
- Double Mystery
- Pink Lemonade
- Strawberry Kiwi
- Birthday Cake
- Special Edition White Mystery
- Special Edition Burnt Rubber
- Cotton Candy
- Cotton Candy Bubble Gum
- Fruit Punch
- Citrus Twist
These candies are also sold in mini-size bars and there have been some promotional flavors that have cropped up from time to time to pair with movie releases and other events. These limited-edition flavors that have been made over the years are:
- Airheads Xtremes which are sour
- AirHeads Pops
- Chillin’ Flavors that made your mouth feel cold
- Blue Mystery Blast bars for JetBlue flights
- AirHeads Paradise Blends- Cherry Pineapple Blast, Raspberry Lemonade, Citrus Rush and Blue Hawaiian along with a different White mystery bar
- AirHeads Bites are small balls of AirHeads taffy that are wrapped in a hard candy coating. These are the first bite-size version of the fruity candy that has ever been released. This version is offered in all of the traditional flavors including White Mystery.
- AirHeads Soft Filled Bites are similar to the candy bites but they are wrapped in soft and lightly sugary coatings. These are also sold in all of the original flavors as well as White Mystery. This is a slightly larger candy than the Bites and the flavor is a little more tangy than the Bites flavor profile.
From the product website:
- Corn syrup
- Modified food starch (corn)
- Palm oil
- Less than 2% of:
- Citric acid water
- Artificial flavors
- Red 40
- Blue 1
- Yellow 6
- Yellow 5
The various varieties might have a few different artificial flavor ingredients and colors but the base of all of the candies is the same. This is a very simple candy and it is also gluten-free and peanut and tree nut-free for those with allergies.
AirHeads Candy Nutrition
|Serving Size:||1 bar (15g)||% Daily Value*|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories from Fat||9|
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
AirHeads Candy Marketing
The original marketing of Airheads candy was done with a door-to-door style method. Candy companies and other stores were asked to stock the candy with the promise that it would sell quickly. This was good enough as it turned out, to get the candy established in many markets with ease. The company did not have to start making a big effort to sell the taffy treats until the 90s.
Perfetti Van Melle spent a reported $2.5 million making media exposure happen for the AirHeads candy brand in 1999. By 2000, they had entered into a partnership with Mattel to reach more kids across the USA. They also ran ads on Fox Kids and Nickelodeon that touted the AirHeads, “Out of Control” campaign. There were related sweepstakes to Disneyland as well as coupons that were offered for Mattel products like X-V Xtreme Skateboarders.
Nickelodeon was also the platform where the AirHeads.Nick.Com campaign was run. Kids could vote on this poll to decide on the green flavor that was to be added to the lineup. This was a trademark with the network and was a rather unique and specific marketing ploy for a candy company to participate in.
Pictures of AirHeads Candy
AirHeads Candy Commercials:
A more recent AirHeads candy ad:
A compilation of the silly ads that this company has made over the years:
A very recent ad:
Another recent ad for the sour version of the candies:
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