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Airheads logo.png
Product typeTaffy
OwnerPerfetti Van Melle
CountryUnited States
Introduced1985; 37 years ago (1985)
MarketsNorth America, United Kingdom
Previous ownersVan Melle
Tagline"Play more. Play delicious."
AirHeads Xtreme Sweet Sour Belts Candy

AirHeads are a taffy candy manufactured by Dutch-Italian company Perfetti Van Melle in Erlanger, Kentucky.[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 and in 1982 the company has 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 flavours of:

  • Cherry (red)
  • Blue Raspberry (blue)
  • Watermelon (green)
  • Green Apple (light green)
  • Strawberry (pink)
  • White Mystery (white)
  • Orange (orange)
  • Grape (purple)
  • 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 flavous 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 flavours of apple, blue raspberry, strawberry, cherry, watermelon, grape, strawberry kiwi and berry.

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

In 2008, "Chillin 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 inital release there was a "berry variety" but the flavour 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 flavour 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]


Airheads were originally sold across Canada and the United States but an expansion into the United Kingdom was announced in 2015.[13] "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.

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".[14]

In 2003, commercials started airing on Nickelodeon. held a poll, advertising the green flavor, a trademark of the network.[15]


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