Fun Dip and Lik-M-Aid – A powdery-sugar-filled retrospective.

I am excited to finally be getting to today’s post, as I’ve wanted to cover the subject of Fun Dip for a long time.  It’s good that I waited, as the last couple of months have provided key pieces of information on the background of the brand.

Fun Dip is such a unique confectionery treat that it leaves a tasty sugary residue in the consciousness of anyone who has ever tried it.  It certainly did for me, and I absolutely recall the first time I found this at my local Woolworth’s store, and how amazed I was at the unique experience of consumption that it provided.   At least in the United States, there’s never been anything quite like Fun Dip that stuck around for any amount of time.

What might surprise readers is that one of the key components in Fun Dip, that Lik-m-Aid powder, has been around at least 60 years.  Today, I will cover the earliest versions of that product, and track its development all the way to today.

Fun Dip was created in 1973 when Sunline came up with a new way to enjoy Lik-m-Aid, by adding the Lik-a-Stix.  But Lik-m-Aid had already been around for at least two decades before that.

Although the Wikipedia entry lists Lik-m-Aid as being introduced in 1942, I could find no corroborating evidence to support that, and the trademark info leads me to believe that 1952 is a more likely year for its introduction.  Featuring the elf mascot that would eventually be well-known as the mascot for Pixy Stix, Lik-m-Aid was originally produced by the Fruzola company, and sold in single flavor packets:

Fruzola - Lik-M-Aid - cherry and orange - candy packets - 1950's - Courtesy Dan Goodsell

It’s unclear exactly when it occurred, but by the early 1960′s, the Fruzola name was gone and Sunline was now the company behind Lik-m-Aid, as you can see by these illustrated trade ads:

Lik-m-Aid trade ad - 1963

Lik-m-Aid trade ad - 1963

Based on what I’ve been able to piece together, it appears as if the transition to full-color packaging for Lik-m-Aid occurred in 1963, or maybe a little bit earlier.  The new full-color packages would still feature the Elf mascot from the previous monochromatic versions, but would now include images of children in costumes of various professions:

Sunline - New Lik-m-Aid overwrap trade clipping - April 1963

Take note of these unused proof packaging examples.  These would have been folded in half, allowing for horizontal or vertical stocking.  Each child illustration features a different profession, and from what I’ve seen there were many versions produced.   Also take the time to check out what they recommended putting the Lik-m-Aid on;  corn flakes, gum, cracker snacks and ice cream – Pee Wee Herman would be proud:

Sunline - Lik-M-Aid candy packages unused proofs - early 1960's

Lik-m-Aid Pixy Stix 1963 trade ad

Sunline - Lik-m-Aid trade ad - May 1963

By the mid-to-late 1960′s, the color packs with costumed children were replaced with a more graphic approach, which almost seemed to be targeting an older consumer.  Each 1-cent package featured a fun mail-away offer on the back.   Here’s what they looked like:

Sunline - Lik-m-Aid display box - 1-cent packs - late 1960's - Courtesy Dan Goodsell

Lik-M-Aid candy packages - late 60's to early 70's - Courtesy Dan Goodsell

I’ve attempted to track how long that style of packaging lasted, but it’s been difficult.  My best guess is that they were used until the time when Fun Dip was introduced.  I had hoped to find these included in late 60′s or early 70′s trade advertisements, but Sunline was focusing all of their promotional efforts during those years to their new hit, Sweettarts.

So, those Lik-m-Aid pack styles likely made it into the early 1970′s, though I cannot be 100% certain.  The next evolution of Lik-m-Aid that I can confirm was when the brand transformed into the now-classic Fun Dip.

When I first set out to research Fun Dip, I had guessed, based on the trademark registration information and my own personal recollections, that it was first put on sale in 1977 or 1978.  That’s the time-period I seem to remember first having it.

I would eventually find that Fun Dip was first mentioned all the way back in April of 1973, and likely on store shelves later that year or by early 1974.  Here’s a trade clipping mentioning its introduction. [Because I spend hours researching this material, and because I am passionate about it - finding this trade clipping was an exciting discovery for me.]:

Sunline - Fun Dip introduction trade clipping - April 1973

So Fun Dip was discussed as early as April 1973.  In December of 1973, Sunline published the following trade ad, which is where today’s title image of Fun Dip was pulled from.  It’s the earliest image of Fun Dip that I have uncovered:

Sunline - Profit-Pak trade ad - December 1973

Although Fun Dip would eventually contain three flavors of Lik-m-Aid and two Lik-A-Stix, this wasn’t the case when it was introduced.  During those early years, Fun Dip included only two flavors and one stick.  Here’s the earliest pack I’ve come across, dating to 1976:

Sunline - Triple-Pack Fun Dip Lik-m-Aid - two-flavor candy package - 1976

The design and graphics found on those first Fun Dip packages would be used throughout the 1970′s, and well into the 1980′s.

Although Fun Dip launched with just two flavors, a three-flavor pack would be introduced when lime was added, probably in the late 70′s.  I assume that single flavor packs were introduced around that same time.  I have a pair of the singles from 1982:

Sunline Brands - Cherry Lik-m-aid Fun Dip & Lik-a-Stix - candy package - 1982

Sunline Brands - Grape Lik-m-aid Fun Dip & Lik-a-Stix - candy package - 1982

The package style I most fondly remember is the three flavor pack with two sticks, and it was still being used in 1986, with little alteration from the early 70′s package, as you can see here:

Sunline Brands - Lik-m-aid Fun Dip - 3-flavor candy package - 1986

The classic Fun Dip design lasted quite a while – over a decade, though it would eventually be replaced, probably in the late 80′s.  With that redesign, the lime flavor would also be retired and replaced by blue raspberry.  Here’s what the redesigned packaging looked like:

Sunline-Sunmark - Lik-m-Aid Fun Dip - candy package - 1993 - Courtesy CandyWrapperMuseum.com

Sunline tried something a little different in the early 1990′s – releasing a product based entirely around the idea of the flavored versions of the edible Lik-a-Stix.  They called it Yummy Mummies:

Sunline-Sunmark - Lik-a-Stix Yummy Mummies - candy package - early 1990's

Fun Dip would get another major packaging update on January 1st, 1996:

Sunline - Fun Dip candy trade new clipping - November 1995

Sunline-Sunmark - Lik-m-Aid Fun Dip - candy package - 1996 - Courtesy Brad Kent

The mid-1990′s also saw what I am confident was the first holiday-themed edition with Ghoulish Fun Dip:

Sunline - Lik-m-aid Ghoulish Fun Dip package - Late 1990's

In the year 2000, Fun Dip would once again receive a major design overhaul.  For the first time, packages would receive the Wonka branding and join their confectionery family, which they remain a part of today.  The year 2000 overhaul also saw the introduction of sour apple as one of the three flavors of Lik-m-Aid:

Nestle - Wonka - Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - candy package - late 2000 - Courtesy Brad Kent

I really like that year-2000 blue packaging, with its heavy emphasis on the Oompa mascots.  Very fun.  In 2003 or 2004, that package style would be retired, replaced by the following version, which lasted several years:

Nestle - Wonka - Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - candy package - 2007 - Courtesy Brandon Coker

While the US market had the Cherry, Grape and RazzApple flavors, Canadian packages of Fun dip swapped out the RazzApple for Tangerine – I picked this up for the bi-lingual nature of it just a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the flavor difference:

Canada - Nestle - Wonka - Fun Dip - Tangerine Grape Cherry - candy package - 2011

The 2000′s also saw a short-lived introduction of a Fun Dip Sour edition:

Nestle - Wonka - Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip Sour - candy package - 2003 - Courtesy Brad Kent

The other major brand-extension in the 2000′s came in the form of Tropical Fun Dip.  The Tropical packs also featured an interesting innovation – a lime-flavored Lik-a-Stix:

Nestle - Wonka - Fun Dip Tropical - 2007

Here are a few other late 2000′s pack size and holiday variations:

Wonka - Fun dip Valentine's packs - 2009 - Courtesy Todd Franklin & Neato Coolville

Wonka Fun Dip Fun Book - X-Mas box cover - 2009 - Courtesy Todd Franklin & Neato Coolville

Fun Dip Toad Dust - Halloween Holiday version - late 2000's - Courtesy Branded In The 80's

In 2010, Wonka saw a major line-wide packaging redesign.  The new designs were bold and seemingly inspired by the Tim Burton Wonka film.  In my opinion, it represents the most dramatic line-wide redesign since the Wonka brand was launched in the early 1970′s.  This was the new look for Fun Dip, and the design remains today:

Nestle - Wonka - Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip - candy package - 2012

Fun Dip has continued to see new seasonal versions and variations built around the new design – here are a few:

Wonka - Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip Valentine's candy package - 2011 - Courtesy Todd Franklin & Neato Coolville

Nestle - Wonka - Fun Dip - Springtime - 16 pack box - Easter - 2012

Nestle - Wonka - Fun Dip - Springtime - single packs - Easter - 2012

That’s everything I’ve got to share today on the topic of Fun Dip and its colorful packaging history.  It’s a classic confectionery treat, and one that I am confident will be around for generations to come.

One last bit of fun – a visual timeline of major Lik-m-Aid and Fun Dip packaging versions:

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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22 Responses to Fun Dip and Lik-M-Aid – A powdery-sugar-filled retrospective.

  1. Brandon says:

    This is a very fun into history that you’ve put together!

  2. Todd says:

    Great work on the timeline!

  3. That packaging artwork certainly goes from glorious to gawd-awful, doesn’t it. Still neat to see the evolution. Good job, Jas!

  4. Honestly, Jason, this is a great article. I loved Fun Dip, but after the 80s packaging with the 2 dips and 1 stick, I wasn’t aware of anything else. If you asked me a few days ago about Fun Dip I would have thought it was cancelled in the late 80s.

    Great job.

    Pax

  5. JB says:

    Funny they didn’t run into copyright issues with ‘Yummy Mummies.’

  6. veg-o-matic says:

    Great article! It raises a couple of questions, though: Is there any difference between Pixy Stix and Lik-M-Aid? And is Lik pronounced with a short i, likc “lick”, or with a long i, as in “like”?
    That’s the kind of crap I think about…
    And Spree! I had forgotten all about Spree, but I loved it as a kid.

  7. Jason, great article, and a lot of fun!

  8. Valerie Burg says:

    I LOVE fun dip! I wish you could just buy the sticks tho I LOVE the sticks lol

  9. ZilogJones says:

    This sounds a very similar to “Double Dip” made by Swizzels Matlow in the UK. These were apparently introduced in 1976 and were always (AFAIK) sold with two flavours of “sherbet powder” and a “swizzelstick”. Maybe they were produced under licence? Current packaging is here: http://shop.lovehearts.com/retro/by-brand/36-double-dips

    There are a few other dipping-things-in-sherbet products, like Sherbet Fountain (liquorice stick) and Dip Dab (lollipop).

    Not sure if Lik-m-Aid would be considered sherbet though…

  10. azog says:

    The wrapper montage of the “late 60′s to early 70′s” wrappers triggers some vague memories. I miss those wacky 70s styles, so bright and colorful, and hand drawn. I don’t know why, but they remind me of the Jay Ward cartoons of the same era.

    But I know for sure I remember the Lik-a-Stix, cause I preferred eating the stick by itself, and then eating the candy by just dumping it into my mouth. Geez, I can feel my teeth cracking just thinking about it.

  11. Caroline Emily says:

    Man, I loved this stuff. Thanks for the visual memories. In case you weren’t aware, I distinctively remember there being a four flavor pack of Fun Dip in the late 70s (maybe early eighties). It seemed to be very rare and disappeared after a short time. It was similar to the three favor pack you have pictured except the pouches were squatter so not as big (almost like mini-pouches), but the entire package was longer as a result. The fourth flavor was orange incidentally and had the same smiling fruit face graphic as the two and three flavor packs of the same era.

  12. Tom says:

    Lik-M-Aid always baffled me and I was never a big fan. What do you do with the stick when you’re done? Are you supposed to eat it? It was bland white with no flavor!

    One of my favorite episodes of the show “Freaks & Geeks” features Lik-M-Aid where one girl asks another, “What the hell are you eating, kid? Kool-aid?!”

    I drive past Sunline every day driving to work. I never think about the contributions they have made to childhood. I will reflect on that the next time I pass it!

  13. steph says:

    Was the stick always white? I remember it being white with pink dots but my friends say it was pink.
    Nice article btw:)

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  15. SCOTT says:

    Long live FUN DIP.The package that I remember is the one with the kid in the green shirt on it.I think I’ll go to my local BJ’s and pick up a 16 pack box and think about the old days.Very good list about Fun Dip.

  16. Mark Elliott says:

    Fantastic history! Bravo! I’ve always wondered about this strangest of candies. I also first found them at Woolworth’s…and took them straight home and dumped them in water thinking they were a drink mix. Turns out 20 years earlier, the company had suggested doing just that! Who knew? Thanks for a fun and informative post.

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  21. Frank Wolf says:

    I LOVE IT AND FuN Dip :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)!! :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-) :-)! Caroline

  22. WILLIAM DAVID MCNAIR says:

    For some reason I woke up at 2 am thinking about Lik M Aid powder that I used to consume large quantities of back in the 1950s. I wondered if the candy was still made today. So I googled. Thanks for a great article. Now I can go back to sleep.

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