An Array of New Soda-Flavored Confections! Plus Some History on the Love of Cola Candy!

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I’ve always enjoyed when confection crosses over with another category of product and even when the mix doesn’t quite work, it can still be a notable experience.   This is definitely true when soft drinks lend their flavors and branding to candy.

Today I’m going to take a look at a few new releases that fall into this territory while also digging back into some historical packaging that shows how soft drinks and candy have long been connected and how taste preferences both here and abroad have shaped the flavors that companies are willing to market to various regions.

I’ve got lots of fun packaging to share, so make the jump to check it out!

Over the years I’ve covered a few of the more iconic soda pop-flavored candy and gum releases, starting with my look back at A&W Root Beer flavored candy and gum from the 1980’s.  I soon followed that up with the exciting news that Hubba Bubba had released new Dr Pepper (and Orange Crush) flavored varieties.  Finally, last year I covered Hubba Bubba’s latest soft-drink branded flavors, A&W Root Beer and Hawaiian Punch.

Wrigley - Hubba Bubba - Soda Flavors - Dr Pepper, Orange Crush, A&W Root Beer, Hawaiian Punch - bubble gum wrappers - 2012-2014

Wrigley – Hubba Bubba – Soda Flavors – Dr Pepper, Orange Crush, A&W Root Beer, Hawaiian Punch – bubble gum wrappers – 2012-2014

So it’s been an exciting time for those who enjoy their candy with a soda pop or soft drink flare, and that trend has only been continuing.

I’d like to showcase a few of these new soft drink flavored confectionery releases first, and then I’m going to round out today’s post with some related historical packaging and discussion.

First up is an assortment of soft-drink flavored candy chews from Healthy Food Brands, the same folks behind Angry Birds Gummies.  Here they are:

Healthy Food Brands - Dr Pepper - soft chewy twisted candy bites - 3oz candy box - December 2014

Healthy Food Brands – Dr Pepper – soft chewy twisted candy bites – 3oz candy box – December 2014

Healthy Food Brands - A&W Root Beer - soft chewy twisted candy bites - 3oz candy box - December 2014

Healthy Food Brands – A&W Root Beer – soft chewy twisted candy bites – 3oz candy box – December 2014

Healthy Food Brands - Crush Orange - soft chewy twisted candy bites - 3oz candy box - December 2014

Healthy Food Brands – Crush Orange – soft chewy twisted candy bites – 3oz candy box – December 2014

Healthy Food Brands - Crush Grape - soft chewy twisted candy bites - 3oz candy box - December 2014

Healthy Food Brands – Crush Grape – soft chewy twisted candy bites – 3oz candy box – December 2014

Healthy Food Brands - Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red - soft chewy twisted candy bites - 3oz candy box - December 2014

Healthy Food Brands – Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red – soft chewy twisted candy bites – 3oz candy box – December 2014

The same five brands from that release are also represented in a line of licorice candy twists from KLN/Kenny’s Candy Company:

KLN - Kenny's Candy Company - Dr Pepper - licorice twists - 5oz candy package - 2014

KLN – Kenny’s Candy Company – Dr Pepper – licorice twists – 5oz candy package – 2014

KLN - Kenny's Candy Company - A&W Root Beer - licorice twists - 5oz candy package - 2014

KLN – Kenny’s Candy Company – A&W Root Beer – licorice twists – 5oz candy package – 2014

KLN - Kenny's Candy Company - Crush Orange - licorice twists - 5oz candy package - 2014

KLN – Kenny’s Candy Company – Crush Orange – licorice twists – 5oz candy package – 2014

KLN - Kenny's Candy Company - Crush Grape - licorice twists - 5oz candy package - 2014

KLN – Kenny’s Candy Company – Crush Grape – licorice twists – 5oz candy package – 2014

KLN - Kenny's Candy Company - Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red - licorice twists - 5oz candy package - 2014

KLN – Kenny’s Candy Company – Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red – licorice twists – 5oz candy package – 2014

I’ve also come across these soda flavored freeze pops:

Jel Sert - Soda Pops freeze pops - A&W Root Beer, Dr Pepper, Strawberry & Grape Crush - 10 oz frozen treat snack box - 2014

Jel Sert – Soda Pops freeze pops – A&W Root Beer, Dr Pepper, Strawberry & Grape Crush – 10 oz frozen treat snack box – 2014

Jelly Belly has gotten in on the soda-candy game in recent years as well, though I first noted their un-branded soda pop approach.

Jelly Belly - Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles - 3oz candy box - 2013

Jelly Belly – Soda Pop Shoppe Gummi Bottles – 3oz candy box – 2013

The year following those gummies, Jelly Belly brought out fully-licensed soda-flavored jelly bean offerings:

Jelly Belly - Dr Pepper flavor jelly beans - 3.5 oz candy package - 2014

Jelly Belly – Dr Pepper flavor jelly beans – 3.5 oz candy package – 2014

Jelly Belly - Soda Pop Shoppe flavor jelly beans - Orange & Grape Crush, A&W Root Beer & Cream Soda, 7-Up, Dr Pepper - 3.5 oz candy package - 2014

Jelly Belly – Soda Pop Shoppe flavor jelly beans – Orange & Grape Crush, A&W Root Beer & Cream Soda, 7-Up, Dr Pepper – 3.5 oz candy package – 2014

Beyond all of those, there’s also a current release that mixes soda pop flavors with chocolate.  So far I’ve found two offerings of these from the Turin Chocolate company.

Turin Chocolates - Dr Pepper dark chocolate with flavored filling - 3-piece 1oz candy wrapper - January 2015

Turin Chocolates – Dr Pepper dark chocolate with flavored filling – 3-piece 1 oz candy wrapper – January 2015

Turin Chocolates - Orange Crush dark chocolate with flavored filling - 3-piece 1oz candy wrapper - January 2015

Turin Chocolates – Orange Crush dark chocolate with flavored filling – 3-piece 1 oz candy wrapper – January 2015

Gathering all of those recent soda and soft drink flavor confections together for today’s post had me wondering about the relationship between the two categories, so I looked back over my archives to see where and how they crossed over.

The first thing I noted was that the flavor of cola, which is typically paired with soda pop here in the United States, has a much closer relationship to the confection category abroad and is considered a typical candy flavor.  I’ve got a selection of international candy packaging featuring cola as its main flavor that I’d like to share next.

Whereas in the United States we are typically greeted by flavors like orange and even pink lemonade (as with these 1980’s Topps carton gums,) the UK got a cola flavor, too:

USA Topps - Juice Carton Bubble Gum candy box packages - 1980's

USA Topps – Juice Carton Bubble Gum candy box packages – 1980’s

Ireland - Topps - Bazooka Cola Bubble Gum carton package - 1980's 1990's

Ireland – Topps – Bazooka Cola Bubble Gum carton package – 1980’s 1990’s

Topps Ireland even has a cola-flavored Ring Pop in their assortment for consumers there:

Ireland - Topps - Ring Pop Lollipops - Cola Rage - 10g candy package - 2012

Ireland – Topps – Ring Pop Lollipops – Cola Rage – 10g candy package – 2012

Cola was one of the flavors featured in this UK Woolworth store exclusive Nerds offering:

UK - Willy Wonka's - Nerds Double Dipped - Strawberry & Cola - Green Apple and Punch - Orange and Lime - Woolworths Exclusive candy box - 1996

UK – Willy Wonka’s – Nerds Double Dipped – Strawberry & Cola – Green Apple and Punch – Orange and Lime – Woolworths Exclusive candy box – 1996

I’ve even encountered cola-flavored Pop Rocks, created for the Australian market:

Australia - Zeta Especial - Pop Rocks - 2-pack - Strawberry & Cola - candy package - 2011

Australia – Zeta Especial – Pop Rocks – 2-pack – Strawberry & Cola – candy package – 2011

Here’s a cola-flavored offering of the popular UK Chewits brand:

UK - Leaf - Chewits - Cola Flavour - candy package wrapper - 2010

UK – Leaf – Chewits – Cola Flavour – candy package wrapper – 2010

But perhaps most common of all the cola-flavored confections I’ve encountered from overseas, the one that stands out is bubblegum:

Europe - Cadbury Switzerland - Bubblicious - Cola - 5-piece bubble gum candy wrapper - 2011

Europe – Cadbury Switzerland – Bubblicious – Cola – 5-piece bubble gum candy wrapper – 2011

Japan - Cadbury - Bubblicious Cola - October 2009

Japan – Cadbury – Bubblicious Cola – October 2009

UK - Wrigley - Hubba Bubba - Cool Cola flavor - 5-piece bubble gum candy wrapper - 2012

UK – Wrigley – Hubba Bubba – Cool Cola flavor – 5-piece bubble gum candy wrapper – 2012

Russia - Wrigley - Hubba Bubba - Cola - bubblegum candy wrapper - 2014

Russia – Wrigley – Hubba Bubba – Cola – bubblegum candy wrapper – 2014

In contrast, here in the United States, cola-flavored candy is more of a shooting star that only shows up once and a while.

For a brief time back in the 1940’s, Life Savers in the United States had a cola flavor as part of their roll candy family:

Life Savers Corp - Life Savers - Cola - roll candy wrapper -  1940s

Life Savers Corp – Life Savers – Cola – roll candy wrapper – 1940’s

Jumping ahead to the early 1970’s when Breaker Confections (eventually Willy Wonka Brands) introduced what would be the longest running USA brand to feature a cola-flavored candy, Bottle Caps:

Breaker Confections - Bottle Caps - 1 3_8 oz candy wrapper package - early 1970's

Breaker Confections – Bottle Caps – 1 3/8 oz candy wrapper package – early 1970’s

Wrigley tried the flavor in the early 1980’s as an extension of their successful Hubba Bubba brand, and while it didn’t last long here, it lived on overseas:

Wrigley - Hubba Bubba - Cola flavor - NEW - bubble gum candy wrapper - early 1980's

Wrigley – Hubba Bubba – Cola flavor – NEW – bubble gum candy wrapper – early 1980’s

Most recently Necco introduced its Pop Eggs for Easter 2014.  A new soda pop-flavored offering (that includes cola) to the candy marketplace, it remains to be seen if it will be embraced for the long-haul or not.

So cola as a confectionery flavor here in the USA has long been a challenge to market.  But the same can’t be said for that flavor with a twist; cherry cola.  Perhaps it is the evocative nostalgia of the 1950’s soda fountain culture that makes it work here but cherry cola seems to connect with consumers more successfully in the United States.  Because of that, you find more instances of confectionery products sporting the flavor.  Here are a few:

Warner-Lambert - Bubblicious - Cherry Cola - 5 piece bubble gum candy wrapper - 1980's

Warner-Lambert – Bubblicious – Cherry Cola – 5 piece bubble gum candy wrapper – 1980’s

Sunmark - Willy Wonka's - Nerds Cherry Cola -  try me size candy box - 1984

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Nerds Cherry Cola – try me size candy box – 1984

Wrigley-Amurol - Big League CHew - Cherry Cola - New Pull-Open Pouch - bubble gum package - 1986

Wrigley-Amurol – Big League Chew – Cherry Cola – New Pull-Open Pouch – bubble gum package – 1986

JustBorn - Mike and Ike Featured Flavor Cherry Cola - 8oz candy box - 2003

JustBorn – Mike and Ike Featured Flavor Cherry Cola – 8oz candy box – 2003

And finally, the most recent example in my collection – a limited edition for Summer 2014 from Twizzlers:

Hershey - Twizzlers - Pull 'n' Peel - Cherry Cola - licorice candy package - maybe Target exclusive - Summer 2014

Hershey – Twizzlers – Pull ‘n’ Peel – Cherry Cola – licorice candy package – maybe Target exclusive – Summer 2014

It’s a fascinating thing to look at what confectionery flavors are preferred around the world and to wonder why certain regions embrace a flavor while others seem to reject it.  How about you?  Do you love cola flavored candy and gum, or cherry cola?  Is there a soda or soft drink that you think deserves the confectionery treatment that has never gotten it?  I’d love to hear what you think.

For now, that’s everything I’ve got to share on the latest soft drink-flavored confections and my look at the taste for cola candy.

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+
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5 Responses to An Array of New Soda-Flavored Confections! Plus Some History on the Love of Cola Candy!

  1. David S. says:

    Some great, great packaging, Jason…from other parts of the world, even. Really cool stuff. My mouth is watering! :o)

  2. Brandon says:

    Wow, that’s quite an assortment! Nice to see all of that put together as you did.

  3. dig sandy says:

    “Healthy Food Brands”? Yeah, right…lol. Awesome post–cola-flavored treats are rare indeed.

  4. Jamie says:

    You forgot to mention the Haribo gummi colas, both “Happy Cola” and “Fizzy Cola”!
    two of my favorites!

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