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!
My name is Edward J. Noble, Jr. I was born on the 10th of August, 1949 to my father Edward J. Noble. My great uncle was Edward J. Noble and my grandfather was Robert P. Noble..founders of The Life Savers Company.
I have the original proof of the ad “Just born…” written by my father’s friend Dick Neff back then, and I have the note Dick Neff sent my father stating that the idea for the “Just born…” magazine ad that he wrote and that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post on the day I was born… was inspired by my upcoming birth!
Just for your information. Cordially, Ed Noble, Jr.
Hello,, its nice to see that someone thinks about the old candy vintage other than myself ,,, as you posted a comment on the stick/O/Pep sorry to correct you it was spelled Stik O Pep without the (L) I to was born in the that error ,, lol,, i have here before me the original candy and the wrapping as well,, never ever been open as a child i thought the wrapping was cool so i saved it, and the candy inside , and your right i was Christmas candy in my Christmas stocking as it hung on the fireplace , the wrappings is like new, and how id love to take a piece and taste it lol ,
This past Christmas I was thinking about this candy, and the annual Christmas gift box that we would always give for any school holiday event. I grew up in Lewistown, Pennsylvania and a local restaurant — Red’s Diner — had the biggest Life Savers display I ever saw. It was metal, three or four tiers, about a yard wide, and held, I believe, a full display box of every flavor of Life Saver. It sat right at the check out and I always had to have a pack. Now this was the late 50’s early 60’s and it was still a treat to get a pack.
At a nickel, it was no big deal for my dad, but I just loved making my selection. Thanks for the memories.
I miss this flavor of life savers. It was always my favorite.
Our father used to bring us a roll of these back when he went on TDY and it has always been my favorite flavor of Life Savers.