Airheads (candy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Product typeTaffy
OwnerPerfetti Van Melle
CountryUnited States
IntroducedAugust 7, 1985; 38 years ago (1985-08-07)
MarketsNorth America, United Kingdom
Previous ownersVan Melle NV
Tagline"Play more. Play delicious."
Airheads Xtreme Sweet Sour Belts Candy

Airheads is an American brand of the taffy candy owned by the Italian-Dutch company Perfetti Van Melle.[1] They were created on August 7, 1985, by Steve Bruner.[2] Airheads are available nationwide in the United States and Canada where the candy is available in 16 different flavors.


Perfetti Van Melle has been based in Erlanger, Kentucky since 1979; in 1982, the company started making candy-based products. It is a 120,000-square-foot factory that currently has 200 employees.[3]

In December 2015, an explosion occurred at the factory, causing it to catch fire. Nobody was harmed in the explosion, but production was halted periodically.[4]


The candy comes individually wrapped in long colored strips, in the flavors of:

  • Cherry (red)
  • Blue Raspberry (blue)
  • Watermelon (green)
  • Green Apple (light green)
  • Strawberry (pink)
  • White Mystery (white)
  • Orange (orange)
  • Grape (purple)
  • Lemon (yellow)
  • Pink Lemonade (light pink)
  • Strawberry-Watermelon (pink and green striped)
  • Mango-Chili (orange with red dots)
  • Blue Raspberry-Cherry (blue and red striped)
  • Double Mystery (2 random colors striped)
  • Maple (light brown, Canada only)
  • Pink Lemonade-Orange (light pink and orange striped)
  • Strawberry-Lime
  • Salted Watermelon
  • Birthday Cake (white with colored sprinkles)
  • Special Edition White Mystery (white)
  • Cotton Candy Bubble Gum (light pink)
  • Fruit Punch (red)
  • Citrus Rush (yellow-green)

The above flavors are also available in mini-size. Special edition flavors, such as Superman, SpongeBob and Spider-Man, are sold as promotions. "Airheads Xtremes" a, spinoff version of the candy, are fruit rolls with a sour taste. Airheads Pops are lollipops available in the flavors of apple, blue raspberry, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, grape, strawberry kiwi and berry. In 2023, It was announced that Special edition flavors are coming back starting with Elemental and Trolls Band Together.

In 2007, a flavor called BerryHot was introduced that claims to "heat up in your mouth".

In 2008, "Chilling flavors" were released as another version of the candy. Airheads "Blue Mystery Blast bars" were distributed to travelers on JetBlue Airways on October 31, 2007, in celebration of Halloween.[5]

In June 2013, "Airheads bites" were released.[6] They are tiny Airheads flavored candy items in a candy shell. The flavors included in this version of the candy are "Cherry", "Orange", "Blue Raspberry", "Watermelon", and "Mystery". In the initial release, there was a "berry variety" but the flavor has since been discontinued.

Perfetti Van Melle partnered with Koldwave Foods LLC to create "Airheads ice cream" in August 2015. The ice-cream came in 8 different flavors: "blue raspberry", "cherry", "watermelon", "orange", "green apple", "pink lemonade", "grape", and "strawberry". Ice cream sandwiches and sundae cups were also produced with the same flavor options.[7] In November 2019, "Airheads Paradise Blends" were released, which contained a set of four tropical flavors: "Cherry Pineapple Blast" (red), "Raspberry Lemonade" (pink), "Citrus Rush" (green), and "Blue Hawaiian" (blue), along with "White Mystery" bars.[8]

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.[9]

A single 0.55 oz (16 g) Airheads is 60 calories, 11 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of saturated fat.


Airheads are made by creating long strips, similar to the method used to manufacture Play-Doh. The main ingredient is sugar.[10] Airheads uses taffy as one of its main ingredients which allows it to be quite malleable.[11] The candy is manufactured on a conveyor belt, where the taffy goes through sugars and sweeteners leading to a thinning, forming, and packaging process. The machines stir about 3,000 pounds of taffy.[12]

All Airheads for the United States are made in Erlanger, Kentucky.[13]


Airheads were originally sold across Canada and the United States but an expansion into the United Kingdom was announced in 2015.[14] "Airheads Xtremes" and "Bars" are manufactured in the US and "Airheads Pops" are manufactured and sold in Mexico and Spain.[10]


It was reported that Perfetti Van Melle spent $2.5 million on media exposure in 1999.[citation needed]

In 2000, Perfetti Van Melle started a partnership with Mattel to use targeted advertising against children in USA. The advertisements ran on children's programming networks like Fox Kids and Nickelodeon to continue Airheads' 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".[15]

In 2003, commercials started airing on Nickelodeon. held a poll, advertising the green flavor, a trademark of the network.[16]


  1. ^ "". Archived from the original on October 3, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  2. ^ "Perfetti Van Melle FAQ".
  3. ^ Tenkotte, Paul A.; Claypool, James C. (January 13, 2015). The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 978-0-8131-5996-6.
  4. ^ "Explosion, fire at Erlanger candy factory". WLWT. December 4, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Happy News - No Trick! JetBlue Treated Customers to Halloween Candy". Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  6. ^ "Airheads Bites - Candy Blog". Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Melle, Perfetti Van. "Perfetti Van Melle Brings Airheads Branded Ice Cream and Cream-Based Frozen Novelties to the Freezer Aisle". Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  8. ^ "JunkFoodOnTheGo on Instagram: "NEW Airheads Paradise Blends Bites & Mini Bars coming out November! @airheadscandy @sweets_and_snacks_expo @perfettivanmelle ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀…"". Instagram. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  9. ^ "BIG: Movie Theaters Fill Buckets...and Bellies | Center for Science in the Public Interest". Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". AirHeads. Archived from the original on July 17, 2013. Retrieved January 8, 2013.
  11. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2012). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8.
  12. ^ "Inside the Airheads Candy Factory". YouTube. December 1, 2014. Archived from the original on December 13, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  13. ^ "Airheads celebrates 30th anniversary" – via
  14. ^ Loveday, Samantha (May 18, 2015). "Tallia Storm to be face of new Chupa Chups Airheads launch". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2015.
  15. ^ "Cut to the Chase". December 13, 2004. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Mazzarella, Sharon R. (2007). 20 Questions about Youth & the Media. Peter Lang. ISBN 978-0-8204-6334-6.