Turn on the dial-up and crank the volume on your boom box, because the ‘90s are here!
We’ve been spending the last few weeks talking about our favorite decades and all the sweet delicacies that came to life during them. We’ve already covered the wild ‘70s, funky ‘80s, and now it’s time to talk ‘90s.
This generation was introduced to some serious culture shock in the ‘90s with events like Y2K and the development of the internet, and with those came some seriously interesting sweets.
When you study the lineage of candy like us, (we call this confectionary anthropology) you learn to recognize patterns in sweets and treats that mark each decade as different from the one prior to it.
In the ‘70s...
Candy makers stepped into a new era of production with better technology that enabled them to crank out larger quantities of small items like Laffy Taffy, Zotz, and Pop Rocks.
In the ‘80s...
Candy made a transition back to some of the deep cut classics, but added new items to complement the original—think Reese’s Pieces, Almond Joy, and Bottle Caps.
In the '90s...
There’s one massive trend that sticks out about as much as the cell phone your mom and dad kept in the car back in 1995. Can you guess what it is?
Now, when we say hard candy, we’re not talking about some boring Atomic Fireballs or Wherther’s original that you find in your grandma’s candy jar, we’re talking about big, bold, and bodacious candy you couldn’t keep your eyes off of in the store.
One could say some of the sweets produced in this era had the same visual appeal as the iconic visual patterns that you found printed across most paper cups. See what we’re talking about?!
While we could give you the rundown on why candy companies started to transition into different types of sweets, the real fact is that most of them were eager to test out a new target market—one that was taking care of their Tomagachi in school, watching MTV on the weekends, and hoping for one of the cast members from Saved By The Bell to ask them to prom.
In doing so, these confectionery producers found an entire category of candy that never really existed before and eventually became a staple in shops around the country.
So without further ado, turn up that boombox playing Smells Like Teen Spirit, double down on your denim, and check out these ‘90s hard candies that will take you straight back to one of the raddest decades of all time.
Topps has been around since the late 1800’s, originally as a tobacco producer, but when they started to dabble in collectables and sports memorabilia, they quickly realized they were onto something.
By the 1950s, Topps was the producer of MLB player cards (the first ever) and were quickly climbing the ladder in popularity with young culture, especially around sports. With such a deep connection to baseball, they started producing gum, eventually dominating the scene with their Bazooka bubble gum, which we can all remember from our days in little league.
When the ‘90s rolled around, they decided to dabble in additional desserts, focusing their effort on a lollipop that would stand out on store shelves. After some deep research and development (and a serious amount of sugar overload) they came out with the Baby Bottle Pop.
It’s slogan, “you can lick it, shake it, and dunk it” and boy were they right! You couldn’t walk through a checkout line at the grocery store without wanting to get your hands on one—even though it was literally a baby bottle with sugar in it.
Though they were a wild success back in the day, Topps stopped pursuing hard candy as an avenue for sales, focusing their effort more on their sports cards and collectables.
Today, you can still find Baby Bottle Pops in stores, and right here on our site—go ahead, send yourself to the moon with all that sugar by getting one here.
Again, the ‘90s was a weird time for a lot of people. While some of us were struggling to find out which color of denim we wanted to wear with the rest of our denim, others were trying to cure a sweet tooth that would only be satisfied by gummy candy.
Which leads us to a ‘90s candy staple that nobody will ever forget—the gummy grilling set!
If you don’t remember these, do yourself a favor, and go buy some right now. They are one of the most recognized, and somewhat underwhelming sweets from the ‘90s, but you can't help but want to taste them.
If you’re still unfamiliar with what we’re talking about check them out below.
These little guys might be one of the best marketing ploys of all time. Take an American staple (the burger and hot dog) and make a gummy version of it for all those kids who won’t eat the real thing at dinner, but will glady stuff their face full of ten of the gummy versions—we know this from personal experience.
They really are simple, but there’s just something about holding a little burger or hot dog in your hand and finishing it in one bite that makes you feel like a powerful giant with an insatiable sweet tooth.
Grab yourself a few for the Labor Day weekend by clicking right here.
The name alone says everything you need to know about Reese’s first “real” candy bar. Though it’s not a “hard candy” we had to throw it in because this bar was absolutely banging back in the day.
Developed in 1994, this was the first time Reese’s stepped into the candy bar game, slinging a peanut butter bar that was covered in peanuts and caramel, then coated with a layer of delicate milk chocolate.
Originally named the Acclaim, Reese’s rebranded the name to Nutrageous as it stuck better with the consumer market (kids, of course) and quickly became a hit on store shelves across the country.
Maybe it was the name, which was only fitting for this era that coined plenty of it’s own terms—like “talk to the hand” and “boo ya”.
Maybe it was Reese’s way of staying relevant at a time when other candy brands were starting to fall off—not saying any names (Mars).
Or maybe, it was a stroke of ‘90s genius wrapped up into a single chocolate bar and served to the right candy lovers.
Whatever it is, best believer you can still find this sweet in grocery stores, gas stations, and right here in our candy aisles.
If you didn’t try to stuff your face full of Warheads and see what happens, you’re probably not a ‘90s kid.
This was the marker of a true sweet fiend—trying to overcome the tartness that tarnished your mouth when you packed it full of the sour candy that every mom and dad said was “evil” and would rot your teeth.
Though it would take quite a bit of Warhead snacking to rot those teeth, it only took a few to rot your tastebuds, leaving you a little more bitter than before you ate them. But nonetheless, most of us couldn’t help but have a few when offered.
The Warhead was created in Taiwan in 1973 and imported into the U.S. in 1993, where Impact Confections took over the production of the sour candy. The product itself was rightfully named the Warhead as it created an explosion inside your mouth similar to that of a military warhead.
Where Warheads really made an impact was the youth culture. I mean, who doesn’t want to torture their tongue with an endless amount of sour candy—just watch this famous YouTuber try to take down 150 of them at once.
If you feel like taking the Warhead challenge on for yourself, head over to our ‘90s aisle and grab yourself a few—tread lightly, these things will take your taste buds to another level.
A guarantee in every ‘90s kid’s Halloween haul, the SweetTart has been around for quite some time (1963 to be exact). But didn’t catch popularity until the mid ‘90s when they took the penny-sized sweet and turned it into a silver-dollar shaped treat that was tangy and chewable.
Made by the same confectionery company as Pixy Stix and Fun Dip, the SweetTart was targeted right at the ‘90s kid, with a blend of sweet and sour, it caught the attention of youth with its color variety and convenience.
When the brand launched the oversized and over-sweet SweetTart Giant Chewy, adults and kids alike flocked to the stores to grab some and indulge in the sugary goodness.
Like the rest of the hard candy that was created in the ‘90s, SweetTarts focused heavily on delivering a sweet and sugary flavor that was unmatched by the decades before it. It quickly became a staple for candy celebrations like Halloween and Valentines Day, as well as a movie theatre classic that kid’s grabbed before seeing the premier of Forrest Gump and other ‘90s films.
Get your hands on some SweetTarts and remember the good old days by clicking right here.
May the ‘90s never die…
We could sit here all day and chat about the ‘90s–which movies were breaking the box office, whether Nirvana was the best rock band of all time, why denim and fanny packs were so popular—but we’ll leave the reminiscing to you.
While you do it, give those tastebuds a tribute to the ‘90s by scrolling through our aisles and finding your favorites from that time.