The yin and yang of sweet and sour has always had amble representation in the candy aisle. In the 40s, Lik-M-Aid Fun Dip was all the rage. In the next decade, the powdery goodness of Pixy Sticks prevailed. The 60s brought a less-messy, but equally flavorful tablet alternative called SweeTarts.

Parents weren’t always so keen on giving their children those messy packets or tubes of sugary powder. So much so that some of them even banded together to request that the manufacturer offer a similar candy that didn’t require a vacuum cleaner to clean up. And so, Sunline Inc. answered their pleas in 1962 with SweeTarts. Luckily for parents, they were an instant hit with the youngsters.

Since Sunline already produced two candies that kids loved, they simply duplicated the flavors in their new product, which consisted of hard disks of candy, a little smaller in diameter than a quarter. Like their Pixy Stix predecessors, SweeTarts come in five flavors – lemon, lime, cherry, grape and orange. They are packaged in foil-wrapped tubes that are about twice the length of a roll of Life Savers. In movie theaters, however, they are often sold in boxes, which contain just over two rolls worth of candy.

Over the years, SweeTarts have attempted to keep up with their formidable sour-flavored competition by upping the pucker power of their candies, and have revised the flavor roster to include pickled punch and green apple (which replaced lemon and lime.) Now produced by the Willie Wonka Candy Co. (owned by Nestle) a variety of products bearing the SweeTarts name have also surfaced over the years, including a chewy (and much larger) version, a flavored gum, tiny SweeTarts and, ahem, a squeezable version in a tube.

Sweet and sour candies continue to come and go, but SweeTarts remain a mainstay of the candy aisle, maintaining their legacy for over fifty years, and pleasing parents who would prefer that their carpets remain powder-free.

If you purchased a few rolls of SweeTarts back in the day, we’d love to hear thoughts on this deliciously sour confection in our comments section below.

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