Starburst (candy)

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Starburst Logo.png
Produced byThe Wrigley Company
CountryUnited Kingdom
Introduced1960; 62 years ago (1960)
TaglineUnexplainably Juicy

Starburst (originally known as Opal Fruits) is the brand name of a box-shaped, fruit-flavoured soft taffy candy manufactured by The Wrigley Company, which today is a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated, after Mars transferred the brand's production to it. Starburst has many different varieties, such as Tropical, Sour, FaveREDs, Watermelon, Very Berry, Superfruit, Summer Blast, and Original.

Introduced in the UK in 1960, the original flavours are blackcurrant, lemon and lime, orange, and strawberry.[1][2] The tropical flavours include: strawberry banana, pineapple, mango melon, cherry and kiwi.


The brand was introduced by Mars in the United Kingdom in 1960, named Opal Fruits by Peter Phillips (known as Peter Pfeffer at the time), the winner of a competition that won him £5.[3] Produced at their factory in Slough, Berkshire, the four original flavours were strawberry, lemon, orange, and lime. Opal Fruits were introduced in the United States in 1967[3] as M&M's Fruit Chewies and later, in the late 1960s, Starburst. While the etymology of the name Starburst isn't certain, it was probably an attempt to express the burst of flavour at each bite, and draw attention while space interest was at its peak during the Space Race.[4] Originally, Starburst came in the same flavours as Opal Fruits, though the lime flavour was replaced by cherry in the US in the early 1980s.[5] Subsequently, its first variant, "Sunshine Flavors", was released and was later renamed "Tropical Opal Fruits". In Europe, the lemon and lime flavours were combined to become a singular "Lemon and lime" flavour to make room for a blackcurrant flavour.

The UK 'Twenty-one Fruits' limited edition original Opal Fruits branding

The brand name Opal Fruits was phased out in the UK, followed by Ireland in 1998 in order to standardise the product in a globalised marketplace.[6] In 2008, however, the supermarket chain Asda revived the original Opal Fruits in the UK for a period of 12 weeks starting 10 May 2008.[7] On 6 October 2008, Mars acquired Wrigley[8] and it transferred Mars' non-chocolate candy brands, including Starburst, to the Wrigley subsidiary.[9] The original flavours are now branded "Original Fruits", and Starburst now comes in several assortments: FaveREDs, Limited Edition Retro Fruits, Tropical, Baja California, Sour, Strawberry Mix, Berries and Creme, Very Berry and Fruity Slushies. Among the additional flavours are Strawberry Lemonade, Strawberry-Banana, Blue Raspberry, Blue Raspberry Rush, Cherry Splash, Citrus Slush, Kiwi, Banana, Plum, Passion Fruit, Mango, Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Melon, Watermelon, Tropical Punch, Green Apple, Orange Cream, Mixed Berries and Cream, Peaches and Cream, and Strawberry and Cream. Europe and the United States also has the "Sour" assortment, which includes Apple, Cherry, Pineapple and Raspberry, as well as Strawberry Mix.

Starburst in the UK is vegetarian, its packaging and website clearly stating "Suitable for Vegetarians", and also does not contain any artificial colours or flavours.[10] In the US, Starburst contains non-vegan gelatin in its ingredients.

Lime Starburst made a comeback in 2007 as a limited-edition "retro" flavour in packages of the "Baja" version, while the range in the UK was further extended with a version named Starburst Choozers. These lozenge shaped chews have a liquid fruit juice centre, and come packaged with the tag line "The chews that ooze." Each packet contains three flavours; Orange & Mango, Raspberry & Orange, and Pineapple & Orange.

Unwrapped original Opal Fruits brought back in 2021 as a limited edition

As of August 2016, the advertising slogan for Starburst is "Unexplainably Juicy".[3]

During March 2020, the Opal Fruits name was revived again for a limited period in the UK with a 152g bag available in Poundland and Dealz stores initially, which included the four original flavours (lemon, strawberry, orange, lime).[11]


In the 1970s, Opal Fruits were well known in the UK for their advertising tag line "Opal Fruits—made to make your mouth water!" (slogan coined by Murray Walker[12]). The full advertising jingle was "Opal Fruits—made to make your mouth water/Fresh with the tang of citrus/four refreshing fruit flavours/orange, lemon, strawberry, lime/Opal Fruits—made to make your mouth water!"

Starburst has been marketed in several ways, including a marketing tie-in for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest where they replaced Kiwi Banana and Tropical Punch with Royal Berry Punch.

In 2007, a commercial for Starburst's Berries and Creme flavour went viral.[13] The commercial, referred to as "Berries and Creme" or as "The Little Lad Dance", stars Jack Ferver as a man dressed in Victorian/Georgian clothing expressing his excitement for the candy's flavour by performing an impromptu song and dance routine.[14] The commercial received praise for its style from Advertising Age.[15][16] In an interview with Adweek Ferver commented that the commercial took over 12 hours to film and that they had to wear the full costume in 80 °F (27 °C) weather.[17]

In the second half of 2021, the Berries and Creme commercial went viral for a second time, with a number of videos on TikTok using the audio and the "Little Lad Dance".[18]

Other varieties[edit]

Starburst also exists in the form of candy corn, popsicles, gum, candy canes, jelly beans, fruit roll ups, gelatin, Energy Drink (in partnership with C4 Energy) lip gloss (in a partnership with Lip Smackers), and yogurt (by Yoplait in 2019 as a flavour).[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Starburst: Original".
  2. ^ "Starburst: Facts and History".
  3. ^ a b c "Starburst". Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  4. ^ Hartel, Richard W.; Hartel, AnnaKate (2014). Candy bites : the science of sweets. New York, NY: Copernicus. p. 207. ISBN 978-1-4614-9382-2.
  5. ^ UK Starburst Flavors And American Starburst Flavors: A Comparison
  6. ^ "Global branding chews up Opal Fruits". BBC News. 27 April 1998. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  7. ^ Mercer, Charles (2008-05-01). "Opal Fruits return to British playgrounds". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  8. ^ "Wrigley Completes Merger with Mars". (Press release). Chicago. PRNewswire-FirstCall. October 6, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  9. ^ "Mars-Wrigley merger creates world's largest confectionery player". Confectionary News. April 29, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "Wrigley UK's Starburst Profile". Retrieved January 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Opal Fruits are making a comeback 22 years after changing to Starburst".
  12. ^ Owen, Oliver (1 July 2007). "Interview: Murray Walker". The Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on 2 October 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  13. ^ "Updated: The Best Ad Jingles Ever". IGN. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  14. ^ "Watch some of the worst commercials on-air". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  15. ^ "We Are All Little Lads". Advertising Age. April 27, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2016.
  16. ^ "Little Lad Produces Big Laughs in Genius Masterfoods Spot". Advertising Age. 7 May 2007. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Brief interviews with commercial actors: Jack Ferver on being Starburst's Little Lad". Adweek. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  18. ^ "DeepTok is taking over TikTok with berries and cream videos". Mashable. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 20 September 2021.

External links[edit]