Easter Week 2014: Starburst Jellybeans! (They’ve been around longer than you think!)

CC_Starburst Jellybeans TITLE PLATE

If Halloween is the season of candy corn than Easter must certainly be the season of the jellybean.  It no doubt has to do with how well the colorful confections complement the look of traditionally dyed Easter Eggs.  These days, countless candy brands will release their own branded jellybeans during the lead-up to Easter.  One that has been doing so for longer than you might realize and has also carved out quite a successful niche for itself is Starburst, with its Starburst Jellybeans line!

I had long assumed that Starburst Jellybeans were a creation of the last decade and certainly no older than the 2000’s.   But as it turns out these have been around nearly 20 years and possibly longer, as you can see in the following candy trade magazine advertisement from 1995:

M&M-Mars - Starburst Jellybeans - Bound to Make Waves - candy trade magazine ad - 1995

M&M-Mars – Starburst Jellybeans – Bound to Make Waves – candy trade magazine ad – 1995

That ad refers to Starburst Jellybeans as being “NEW!” but also describes how they are now “available all year long.”  So perhaps these were an Easter season exclusive the previous year and for 1995 they went to an all-year-round distribution.   Here’s a close-up look at the Starburst Jellybeans package from 1995 seen in the ad:

M&M-Mars - Starburst Jellybeans package ad closeup - 1995

M&M-Mars – Starburst Jellybeans package ad closeup – 1995

Starburst Jellybeans would get the Fun Size treatment in the 1990’s, or at least a Fun Size was considered as is evidenced by this prototype mockup photo, complete with fun Starburst Jellybean mascot:

Mars - Starburst Jellybeans - Fun Size - packaging prototype mockup - 1990's

Mars – Starburst Jellybeans – Fun Size – packaging prototype mockup – 1990’s

The earliest Starburst Jellybeans piece that I have in my collection comes from a few years later – I’m guessing this one is from the late 1990’s or earlier 2000’s [Note that in the 1995 package, the jellybeans appear quite generic, but in this next pack it’s clear that each individual piece is stamped with the Starburst logo]:

Mars - Starburst Jellybeans - 14 oz candy pacakge - late 1990's early 2000's

Mars – Starburst Jellybeans – 14 oz candy pacakge – late 1990’s early 2000’s

As you can see, the design of the packaging had already evolved pretty significantly by that point.

Jumping ahead to the last few years and especially today, Starburst Jellybeans have become a pretty big area for the Starburst brand.  Perhaps the current variety of Starburst Jellybeans is why I assumed that they had only been introduced recently – you can’t miss them in the candy isle now.

I first picked them up as a typical retail size 2 oz candy pack a couple of years ago:

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Original - 2oz candy package - 2012

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Original – 2oz candy package – 2012

Incorporating the modern version of the Starburst logo and color scheme, the Starburst Jellybean line has expanded quite a bit in the last few years, at least where the larger bags are concerned.

I’ve found five different flavor variations in the current Starburst Jellybean lineup.  Some of them appear to be all-year-round offerings, while a pair of them definitely look to be Easter seasonal only.  Here they are:

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Original - 14oz candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Original – 14oz candy package – March 2014

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans FaveReds- 14oz candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans FaveReds- 14oz candy package – March 2014

Note the Easter basket and Easter egg graphics on these next two packs:

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Tropical - 14oz Easter candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Tropical – 14oz Easter candy package – March 2014

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Sour - 14oz Easter candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Sour – 14oz Easter candy package – March 2014

For the last of these flavors, I wanted to show you the packaging for Starburst’s “Crazy Beans”.   These are notable as they don’t actually refer to themselves as jellybeans, though that is certainly what they are.

I also have two different packaging versions for Starburst Crazy Beans, one from this year and one from a few years earlier.  At first glance these two packages appear identical but they are not.  I think it’s interesting to note the subtle design changes that were made and makes one realize that for some companies, packaging design is always undergoing evaluation and adjustments.  Here they are – and this might make for a fun game of “spot the differences”:

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Crazy Beans - 13oz candy package - Spring 2011

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Crazy Beans – 13oz candy package – Spring 2011

Wrigley - Starburst Jellybeans Crazy Beans - 13oz candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Jellybeans Crazy Beans – 13oz candy package – March 2014

That’s all of the Starburst Jellybean pieces I have to share today, but since this is Easter week, I also wanted to include a trio of Easter-themed Starburst packages I’ve picked up in the last few years:

First up is an Easter-themed box for Starburst FlavorMorph from 2012:

Wrigley - Starburst Fruit Chews Flavor Morph - 3.5 oz Easter candy box - 2012

Wrigley – Starburst Fruit Chews Flavor Morph – 3.5 oz Easter candy box – 2012

Here’s an Easter-themed box for Starburst Original that’s been on shelves the last couple of seasons:

Wrigley - Starburst Fruit Chews Original - 3.5 oz Easter candy box - 2013

Wrigley – Starburst Fruit Chews Original – 3.5 oz Easter candy box – 2013

And here’s the new Easter box design for Starburst Original, introduced in 2014:

Wrigley - Starburst Fruit Chews Original - 3.5 oz Easter candy box - 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Fruit Chews Original – 3.5 oz Easter candy box – 2014

Finally, another piece I picked up this year was the Easter packaging for Starburst Fun-Size.  The large package has got a great graphical look to it which matches the new style Easter box, and the individual wrappers are also worth checking out:

Wrigley - Starburst Original Fun Size - 7.3 oz Easter candy package - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Original Fun Size – 7.3 oz Easter candy package – March 2014

Wrigley - Starburst Original Fun Size Easter wrappers - March 2014

Wrigley – Starburst Original Fun Size Easter wrappers – March 2014

And that’s everything for our look at Starburst Jellybeans and their earlier-than-you-might-think origins.   See you next time!

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About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
This entry was posted in 1990's, Boxed, Easter, Holiday, Mars, Sour Candy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Easter Week 2014: Starburst Jellybeans! (They’ve been around longer than you think!)

  1. Brandon says:

    Lovely assortment. I didn’t realize they had been around so long either.

  2. Pete says:

    I developed this product for Mars in 1995 and still love to eat them.

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