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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.]:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 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:
Fun Dip would get another major packaging update on January 1st, 1996:
The mid-1990’s also saw what I am confident was the first holiday-themed edition with Ghoulish Fun Dip:
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:
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:
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:
The 2000’s also saw a short-lived introduction of a Fun Dip Sour edition:
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:
Here are a few other late 2000’s pack size and holiday variations:
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:
Fun Dip has continued to see new seasonal versions and variations built around the new design – here are a few:
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:
This is a very fun into history that you’ve put together!
Great work on the timeline!
That packaging artwork certainly goes from glorious to gawd-awful, doesn’t it. Still neat to see the evolution. Good job, Jas!
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.
Funny they didn’t run into copyright issues with ‘Yummy Mummies.’
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.
Jason, great article, and a lot of fun!
I LOVE fun dip! I wish you could just buy the sticks tho I LOVE the sticks lol
I wish they would sell just the stick’s also. I am glad I’m not the only one.
I too love the sticks and was super happy as a kid with the “Yummy Mummies” sticks, but the white ones are the best.
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…
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.
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.
I was 5 when the Fun Dip version came out. I was so excited to introduce it to my daughter years later. Even though she’s married now, we still share a pack whenever one of us finds it at the store. We still love it.
Caroline, I remember that same four-flavored pack as well. At least we had it here in Southeast Texas. I was in the Flag Corps in Band during high school (early to mid 80s). I remember the girls in the corps would laugh at me because I would try to trade the Orange pouch for any other flavor because I hated the Orange. When it was the other girls turn to supply the candy for our Friday night football games… I swear some of my friends would buy the four-flavor packs just to watch me start my trading scheme. Still love those girls & still love Fun Dip!!!
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!
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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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.
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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I LOVE IT AND FuN Dip 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :-)! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :-)!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! :-)! 🙂 :-)! Caroline
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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At a gathering of old friends last night one person commented about how weird it was that we used to eat a candy called Lick-A-Maid. Of course a quick Google search corrected our memories and let us know the candy was called Lik-m-Aid. So how did the candy get it’s original name?
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I loved Fun Dip!!! The mid 80s packaging was my favorite. I never understood why they took the lime away and replaced it with the nasty blue raspberry. The lime was awesome. They should bring back the retro one with the lime. Maybe I should write them lol.
I couldn’t agree more. The raspberry doesn’t taste like raspberry. Not sure they even asked us.
I still love this candy! I want to know where I can buy just the Stix?
You can still find Fun Dip on sale, but thus far you cannot purchase “just the stix” by themselves.
I found a 48 count of single packs (half cherry, half razz-apple) at WalMart in the Halloween candy for less than $5 this year. Well worth the price for almost 50 of the sticks!
So true Ron! The original Stix alone are almost like gold… LOL!
You speculate that Lik-M-Aid was first introduced in 1952. I was eating Lik-M-Aid in 1952 when I was 4 years old, and I don’t remember it as being something new in the candy counter.
Dan, I have discovered new information that verifies your memory. Lik-M-Aid was introduced in 1942 in and around Salt Lake City. But it was actually even sold before that, starting around 1934, first called Frutola and then Fruzola, before getting the name change to Lik-M-Aid in 1942. A full decade before my earlier estimate (which if I recall, I based on the trademark filing for the brand). So thank you for your skepticism, as it prompted my continued research!
I grew up with the son of the guy who started this. All I can remember is that whenever he had birthday parties we got a whole lot of free Lik-M-Aid. Also, he could blow bubbles out of his mouth, just using his saliva. The son not the guy who owned Sunline. :o)
Hah! Terrific! Thanks for sharing your memory!
Someone else commented above about the sticks. When did they change to white?? I definitely remember the sticks being a very pale pink colour (this would have been in the 80’s and most likely 90’s). I hadn’t had any for years & years but then bought some for my kids and was quite disappointed when I opened the package and the stick was white. It doesn’t even taste the same… I do still like the white sticks but the pink sticks were soooooooo good and by far more yummy!! I have been googling trying to find info on the sticks being pink ever since I discovered they are now white but I’ve come up empty handed in my searches. This is what brought me to this article… Great article by the way!! Very informative!!
The standard Lik-A-Stix were always white. Over the years, there have been some variations on the sticks, as when there were the Yummy Mummies Lik-A-Stix package, which was just several mummy-themed sticks in different flavors, and Fun Dip Sour (and perhaps Tropical) releases occasionally had different flavor sticks. I believe the UK product from Swizzels-Matlow “Double Dip” and “Love Hearts Dip” came with pink and orange sticks.
I loved this stuff as a kid in the ’80s (my mother…not so much.) I would get it at summer day camp. Ah, the memories…
We were buying Lik m Aid in Raymond, Washington in 1949. It came several flavors, at least 6. I loved the chocolate one best — I think–or maybe it was root beer–long time ago. Never ate any of the later versions; they just weren’t the same.
Ugh I know im super late, but IDK if this was a dream or heck even an AU/ Mandela effect, but I seem to remember that there was a flavor that only came in the 3 pack of fundip, it was before the bluerasperry flavor, I can’t remember the name of the flavour but it had a picture of a fruit bowl on it, it was in the 90s so it was the packaging with the boy and the girl (not the one with the heads alone) perhaps tutti fruiti? Idk
Wow, what an amazing historical rundown of my favorite childhood candy!
But, and I cannot find any evidence of it anywhere, I remember there being TWO different two-packs in the 70s/80s with the green-shirted kid package. Those 4 flavors were grape, cherry, lime and I believe the elusive 4th was orange with the combos being cherry/lime and grape/orange. I’m French-Canadian, so maybe it was a more local version? Who knows.
I’d mix all 4 in a little cup and would thus have an extra stick for later consumption.