AirHeads

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This article is about the candy. For the film, see Airheads.
Bag of mini AirHeads
AirHeads Extreme Sweet Sour Belts Candy

AirHeads are a tangy, taffy-like, chewy candy manufactured by Dutch-Italian company Perfetti Van Melle in Erlanger, Kentucky, USA.[1] They were created August 7, 1985 by Steve Bruner.[2] AirHeads is available nationwide in the United States. The candy is available in over 12 different flavors.

Company[edit]

Perfetti Van Melle has resided in Erlanger, Kentucky since 1979, manufacturing candy-based products since 1982. It is a 120,000-square-foot plant, employing 200 workers to create, produce, and distribute candy, like AirHeads, each and every day.[3]

In December 2015, an explosion occurred inside the factory, causing it to catch on fire. This prevented production to occur for a period of time. Nobody was harmed in the explosion.[4]

Flavors[edit]

The candy comes individually wrapped in long colored strips, in a variety of flavors including:

  • Cherry
  • Watermelon
  • White Mystery
  • Green Apple
  • Strawberry
  • Blue Raspberry
  • Orange
  • Pink Lemonade
  • Grape
  • Birthday Cake
  • "Lemon" (upcoming 2018!)
  • "Tangerine" (upcoming 2019!)

It is also available in mini-size. Special edition flavors, such as Superman, SpongeBob and Spider-Man, are sold as promotions. "AirHeads Xtremes" are fruit rolls with a sour taste. AirHeads Pops are lollipops available in apple, blue raspberry, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, grape, strawberry kiwi and berry. In 2007, a new BerryHot flavor was introduced that claims to "heat up in your mouth." In 2008, "Chillin" flavors were released that have a minty "cold" feeling.

AirHeads Blue Mystery Blast bars were distributed to all travellers on JetBlue Airways on October 31, 2007, in honor of Halloween.[5]

Perfetti Van Melle partnered with Koldwave Foods LLC to create AirHeads ice cream in August 2015. It comes in 8 different flavors: blue raspberry, cherry, watermelon, orange, green apple, pink lemonade, grape, and strawberry. Other frozen treats like ice cream sandwiches and sundae cups are included as well.[6]

Nutritional facts[edit]

A normal 3.3 oz (94 g) pack of AirHeads is 360 calories, 51 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of saturated fat. AirHeads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts (3 oz, 85 g) is 300 calories, 45 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of saturated fat.[7]

Taffy poses a health-risk, especially towards AirHeads's main audience, children. Dr. Timothy Chase, Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) from Boston University, reported that bacteria can feed in the mouth the longer sticky food, like taffy, gets stuck in your teeth. It is best advised to keep the sticky and chewy candy at a minimum, and remember to floss when needed.[8]

Production[edit]

Airheads are made in a machine very similar to the toys used to create long strips of Playdoh. The main ingredient is sugar.[9]

AirHeads prides itself for being one of the few candy that uses taffy, allowing it to be shaped in various ways. Other taffy-like candy include Bit-O-Honey, Abba-Zaba, and Laffy Taffy.[10]

It is run on a conveyor belt style, where the taffy goes through sugars and sweeteners leading up to the thinning, forming, and eventual packaging process. The machines stir about 3,000 pounds of taffy.[11]

Distribution[edit]

Airheads were originally sold across Canada and the United States but an expansion into the United Kingdom was announced in 2015.[12] Airheads Xtremes and Bars are manufactured in the US and Airheads Pops in Mexico and Spain.[9]

Advertising[edit]

It was reported that Perfetti Van Melle spent $2.5 million for media exposure in 1999.

In 2000, Perfetti Van Melle started a partnership with Mattel to reach out the children all over the country. The advertisements ran on children's programming networks like Fox Kids and Nickelodeon to continue AirHeads's already existing "Out of Control" campaign. The advertisements offered sweepstakes to Disneyland, as well as coupons on the back of AirHead packets for Mattel's X-V Xtreme Skateboarders.[13]

In 2003, commercials started airing on Nickelodeon. Airheads.nick.com held a poll, advertising the Green Slime flavor, a trademark to the network.[14]

References[edit]