This delightful candy was not always known by this name. You might know them as SweeTarts. These sweet and sour candies were originally created in the 60s under the moniker which was later changed to Shockers when the stronger and more sour version was made. This was owing to the surprisingly sweet and sour notes of the candy that were supposedly a “shock” to those who ate them.
SweetTarts or Shockers are a staple of many Halloween bowl offerings as well as being a preferred treat for those who love the combination of sweet and sour candy flavors. These little disc-shaped candies are easy to enjoy and share and they have not changed much over the years. They are still much as they ever were, and people who loved them when they were children will still enjoy them today.
History of Shockers
As mentioned before, this candy was originally created in 1962. The candy was made with the same recipe as Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid. Lik-M-Aid was also later renamed Fun Dip. All of these products were made to take advantage of the sweet and sour sensation that was growing popular.
The candy was made in many flavors like cherry and grape and there was a taffy line that was made with the same flavor profile as well. Creator Menlo F. Smith was the CEO of Sunline when these flavors were made and he was the spearhead for the creation of these yummy treats.
Sunline later became the property of Sunmark in St. Louis. This transfer happened in 1986 and Rowntree Mackintosh took over control of the candies. This company was later sold to Nestle and the Willy Wonka brand was created. The Wonka symbol is closely tied to these candies and has been connected with the candy ever since.
The Wonka symbol has been associated with Sunmark brands and Nestle has since sold the company to Ferrero SpA. The products within this line have been expanded to add a trick-or-treat line as well as gum and sweeTarts flavored taffy. The candies come in many shapes and sizes today as well as chewy and hard varieties. A more recent product that was added to the lineup is a twisted SweeTart rope candy.
Wonka candies are sold in theaters all over the US and they make more delicious candies than Shockers. This is a really consistent brand that offers up a whole host of fun candies to enjoy. You will always get a great taste experience when you are enjoying candies that are part of the Wonka line of treats.
Ingredients in Shockers
This is one of the original unique features that the Wonka brand tried to stick with. They wanted the ingredients to be secret. The new rules related to disclosure of ingredients in all foods have put a stop to this company’s secret, but they are simple candies. From the entry for the classic rolls on Amazon:
- Corn syrup
- Malic acid
- Hydrogenated coconut oil
- Less than 2% of maltodextrin, calcium stearate, egg albumen, natural flavors, mono-and diglycerides, carnauba wax, blue 1 lake, blue 2 lake, red 40 lake, yellow 5 lake, yellow 6 lake
Other Candies That Competed With the Same Name
Sunline did not originally have rights to the name of the candy due to a conflict with a small company in Oregon. This company, located in Dundee, OR, made a glazed and candied fruit product. This product was called SweeTarts. They had trademarked the name but a judge ruled in favor of Sunline because the original company had not used the trademark for many years.
It is interesting to think that the candy which we all know and love might never have been named SweeTarts at all if the original company had used the trademark recently.
Shockers Flavors and Varieties
Shockers are sold in these flavors:
- Blue punch
- Green apple
Green apple replaced lime in 2002. Nestle ceased making lemon in 2013. The current roll flavors will include cherry, blue punch, grape, lemon, and green apple but lemon is not available in many of the other forms of this candy.
Limited-time flavors have included strawberry as well as watermelon and pink lemonade. These were seasonal flavors originally and were later added to the mix of flavors for SweeTart ropes and jelly beans.
The formats that you can get Shockers in are:
The original shapes are rounder than the larger lozenges that are chewy and the ropes can come in various sizes if you are getting seasonal variants. There are also Halloween candies that are made in unique shapes like skulls and bones. In addition, there is a Giant SweeTart or Shocker that is about the size of a silver dollar and is ¼ inch thick.
The rope varieties were originally known by the brand name Kazoozles but this was changed when the SweeTarts rebranding efforts were made. This name was delightful and is missed, but the consistency of the name change makes more sense for the company’s branding efforts in the long run. You will still be eating the same candies when you buy a soft rope or the rope bites, but they will no longer be sold in packaging calling them Kazoozles.
Various Names of This Candy
Shockers were not the original name of these candies, and you already know that they were originally renamed from the classic SweeTarts name. This change was done in 2010 when concerted efforts were made to rebrand the candy and refresh its image. The Wonka labeling and an increased intensity of flavor were part of the process of the rebranding.
Shockers were fully as shockingly sour and sweet as advertised and the colorful labels and wrappers were given a new look. The new colorful candy with its new name was an instant hit. No one cared that they were now called “Shockers” or “Shock-Tarts”. Everyone was just happy that this classic candy was back and was selling in so many different varieties.
The original candies and the chewy version are still sold under the SweeTarts name. There has been a clear definition between the strongly-flavored version of the candy and the original candy. This definition was made clear in some of the ads which showed both varieties of candy side-by-side.
Packaging for Shockers
The original packaging was not that different from the current wrappers. However, the original treats were more pastel in color, as were the packaging colors. The current wrappers are bright purples, pinks, and blues, and the Wonka label with its curly script is on each package.
The SweeTarts name has been replaced with the new Shockers or Shock-Tarts on the wrappers. The new colors are cheerful, noticeable, and fully fitting with the new Shockers name. This has been a great rebranding effort for the candy and it has led to an uptick in sales that have taken place since.
Difference Between SweeTarts and Shockers
The shocker variety is made to be far more sour and is usually sold in the harder disc format of the candy that is like the original candy format. The SweeTarts version of the candy is pastel in color and often much chewier than Shockers. The sour ropes and jelly beans are both soft and chewy but are bright and colorful when compared with the original candies as well.
This is a really fun brand that offers up a lot of taste variety as well as different textures. This is part of what makes the brand so fun to try and share with others. If very sour is not your favorite, you can still get the SweeTarts version of the candy and enjoy the classic sweet and slightly sour candy that made the brand so popular in the first place.
Where are Shockers Sold?
Shockers are available online through sellers like Amazon. You can also buy them at Walmart and many grocery stores. This is a candy that has been sold all over the US for many years. You can also buy your favorite Wonka candies directly from Wonka candy company themselves.
This is not a hard candy to track down, although the rope varieties and some of the limited-run flavors might be harder to find. These are not sold year-round and are sometimes very seasonal. This is very true of Halloween versions of the candy and Jelly Bean varieties. You might have to wait until the holidays they are associated with to get these varieties.
The company also makes and sells Sprees, Fun Dip, Runts, Bottle Caps, Nerds, Gobstoppers, and more. You will be able to get lots of great candies when you shop for Wonka branded candies. This has always been one of the best candy line-ups on the market and shopping directly with them will allow you to get theater size boxes and bigger boxes of your favorites.
Buy Shockers Online
This ad from 1999 shows the Wonka branding in full effect:
Here is an older ad that shows the SweeTarts as well as the Shocker labels clearly in it:
Taste-testing video of the chewy ropes version of SweeTarts, still branded as Kazoozles: