When you think about Sour Patch Kids, you probably don’t ruminate on the candy’s history — you most likely think about those genius “sour then sweet” commercials, and probably about how delicious the treats are (seriously, why are they so good?). But these colorful little guys have been around for a long time, and how they came about is actually a pretty interesting story. In fact, Sour Patch Kids used to have a completely different name, and you know what? We actually like it better than the current choice.
Sour Patch Kids were created back in the 1970s to capitalize on the space enthusiasm that was running rampant at the time. When Sour Patch Kids were initially produced, they were shaped like martians, not tiny, slightly strange children. They were first created and sold in Ontario, Canada, by candy conglomerate Jaret International, and the candies had a fun name that reflected their origin.
They were called Mars Men. How cute is that?!
Now, you have to remember, these candies were created back when UFO sightings and space travel to Mars were exciting the population. A company spokesperson said the old name was used “because they looked similar to alien creatures from Mars.” Makes sense!
Back then, these “Mars Men” came in lemon, lime, orange, and raspberry — there were none of those fancy flavors we have today (blue raspberry, peach, or watermelon, anyone?).
As trends changed, so did the candies. When Mars Men were brought to the United States in 1985, Jaret found that Americans were not as enthralled with aliens and were more obsessed with Cabbage Patch Kids. And so Mars Men became Sour Patch Kids, transforming into little “sour then sweet” children.
While we love Sour Patch Kids and the awesome marketing that has come with them (those commercials are gold), we can’t say we’re not a little disappointed that we’ll never experience the authentic Mars Men.