Warheads (trademarked as WARHEADS) is a brand of sour or tart candy manufactured by Impact Confections. They are marketed as an 'extreme' candy with an intense sour flavor. They have proven to be very popular, especially with children; in 1999, Warheads were referred to as a "$40 million brand" (USD).
The candy was invented in Taiwan in 1975 and was first imported to the United States in 1993 by The Foreign Candy Company of Hull, Iowa in the early 1990s. Impact Confections acquired the brand in 2004. They are currently manufactured and distributed in the United States by Impact Confections and in Australia by Funtastic Limited.
The name "Warheads" comes from the notion that the sour taste of the candies is akin to a real warhead going off in one's mouth, and the brand's mascot, Wally Warheads, is depicted as a boy with puckered lips and a small mushroom cloud emanating from the top of his head. Their 'extreme' sour flavor can produce visibly strong reactions from people experiencing them for the first time.
A driving force behind the candy's early popularity were informal competitions among schoolchildren to determine who could withstand eating the largest number of Warheads at once.
Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy derive their strong sour flavor primarily from malic acid, which is applied as a coating to the outside of the small, hard candies. The intense sour flavor fades after about 5 to 10 seconds, leaving a fairly mild candy that contains the much less sour ascorbic acid and citric acid.
The pH levels of some Warheads products are low (indicating high acidity) when compared to other sour candies. Warheads Sour Spray was shown to have a pH level of 1.6, approaching the pH level of battery acid at 1.0. High acidity in sour candies such as Warheads can accelerate the erosion of tooth enamel.
A warning is now included on Warheads packaging, as follows:
|“||CAUTION: Eating multiple pieces at the same time or within a short time of each other may cause an irritation to sensitive tongues and mouth. This may vary from a slight irritation to a severe reaction depending on the individual.||”|
Varieties and Flavors
In addition to the Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy, the Warheads brand encompasses several other types of candy — Warheads Extreme Sour Hard Candy Mini Size (previously known as "Juniors"), Warheads SuperSour Spray, Warheads SuperSour DoubleDrops, Warheads Sour Chewy Cubes, Warheads Sour Dippers, Warheads Sour Coolers, and Warheads Sour Twists. For a while, special "HOT" versions of the candy were also available but proved to be less popular. Warheads also distributed a fizzy version of their signature Warheads.[when?]
- Current flavors
- Blue Raspberry
- Black Cherry
- Green Apple
- Available in Europe
- Blue Raspberry
- Past versions
Warheads distributed a hot version of their signature Warheads, "HOT" Torture Scorchers, in four flavours for a limited time.[when?]
- Lemon-Lime Lava
- Raspberry Rage
- Cherry Combustion
- Tangerine Torcher
- Frauenfelder, Mark. Gross National Product, Wired, June 1999.
- "Let It Rip: A New Building for Foreign Candy". Sioux County Index-Reporter. New Century Press. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
- Bernie Pacyniak (November 14, 2013). "Impact Confections: Making a sweet n' sour Impact". Candyindustry.com. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- "South Korean Children Taste Warheads Candy for the First Time". People.com. August 20, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Buckley, J. Taylor. Warheads candy sets taste, sales explosion, USA Today, June 11, 1997. pg. 03.B
- Carrie Taylor (October 16, 2013). "The science behind how Warheads are so sour". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Robyn, R. Loewen; Robert, J. Marolt; John, D. Ruby (Mar–Apr 2008). "Pucker up: the effects of sour candy on your patients' oral health. A review of the dental erosion literature and pH values for popular candies". Northwest Dentistry 87 (2): 20–21, 24–25, 28–29 passim. ISSN 0029-2915. PMID 18491469.
- "Sour Candy Is Almost As Bad for Your Teeth As Battery Acid". Gizmodo.com. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Warheads Juniors Extreme Sour, Australian packaging.