Warheads is a brand of sour or tart candy manufactured by Impact Confections located in Janesville, Wisconsin. 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. Impact Confections acquired the brand in 2004. They are currently manufactured and distributed in the United States by Impact Confections and in Australia by Universal Candy.
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 and more flavorful ascorbic and citric acids.
The pH levels of some Warheads products are lower when compared to other sour candies. Warheads Sour Spray was shown to have a pH level of 1.6 (similar to some rust removers). Candies with high acidity (low pH) can accelerate the erosion of tooth enamel.
A warning is included on Warheads packaging, as follows:
|“||Eating multiple pieces within a short time period may cause a temporary irritation to sensitive tongues and mouths.||”|
Varieties and flavors
Warheads hard candies are available in five flavors: blue raspberry, lemon, green apple, black cherry and watermelon. Five additional hard candy flavors are sold in the "Smashups Extreme Sour" assortment: cherry-lime, orange-pineapple, mango-melon, lemon-berry and strawberry-grape.
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 Sour Jelly, 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. The Warheads brand also distributed a fizzy version of their signature Warheads for a time.
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