I’m often delighted by the surprises that my interest in confection brings. From learning about vintage products that I never knew existed to looking on a current store shelf and being shocked at what I’m seeing. It was a wonderful case of the latter when I recently learned that Life Savers had produced a new holiday seasonal flavor, Candy Cane Peppermint!
I’ve been a fan of Life Savers for years and one of my favorite vintage roll wrappers was always the candy cane flavor, which back in the day was called Stick-O-Pep.
The Life Savers Stick-O-Pep flavor was introduced in 1949, but it’s worth bringing up that Beech-Nut beat them to market nearly a decade earlier with a similar roll candy they called Spirals [Note: Beech-Nut would merge with the Life Savers company in 1956.]:
Life Savers’ own entry into the candy cane-flavored confectionery world would come a decade later, highlighted by a series of fanciful ads:
Here are my vintage Stick-O-Pep wrapper examples:
Here’s a Canadian version wrapper for Stick-O-Pep:
By the late 1960’s, the design had changed with the gold highlights on the wrapper changing to red:
As Stick-O-Pep has long been a favorite of mine, I picked up this sealed display box of them a number of years ago. At half-a-century old, it’s remarkable that it has never been opened:
The wrapper around the box is a wax paper type of material, keeping it sealed and resistant to moisture. I have an unused example of one of these wrappers with a slightly different design – I believe this may have been an earlier version of the wrap:
The Stick-O-Pep flavor of Life Savers continued at least into the 1970’s, as I have found this foil wrapper example of them that dates to the later 1970’s:
My best guess is that by the time 1980 rolled around, Stick-O-Pep had been retired from the standard Life Saver roll assortment. [Correction: It turns out that Stick-O-Pep lasted until around 1990, as further digging into my archives turned up a much later wrapper design - pictured below.]
So it was quite a surprise when, last month, my brother sent me a photo of a new roll his wife had found. It was for a new edition of Stick-O-Pep, now called Life Savers Candy Cane Peppermint.
After she had found that single roll, it was quite a bit of hunting before I was able to turn up any more. I was only able to find the Candy Cane Life Savers at Walgreens. I thought they might be an exclusive flavor though my contact inside the Walgreens corporation explained that they are not. Thus far however, I’ve not heard of anyone finding these at any other retailer.
Here’s a look at one of the rolls:
And here’s an unrolled wrapper:
Aren’t those great?
It’s awfully cool to see that candy cane design again on a Life Savers wrapper long after it had been retired. These are likely a Christmas seasonal item so they may not be available much longer, but if they are seasonal they’ll probably be back next year.
That’s everything on the wonderful return of this classic Life Savers flavor and my eleventh entry in our Twelve Days of Christmas. See you next time!