The Unexpected Country Warheads Originated In

Growing up in the '90s was an adventure all its own. One of the most exciting activities was browsing the colorful candy aisle of the grocery store or digging through the displays at the local Blockbuster for a treat to enjoy. The decade that brought us Tamagotchis, Beanie Babies, and Furbies also bore a treasure trove of sweet indulgences like Dunkaroos, Ring Pops, Fun Dip, and of course, the popular sour candies called Warheads. Warheads were all the rage with kids and adults alike, especially those who sought thrill via sour foods that made their mouths pucker and goosebumps rise. Admit it: You can sense the invigorating, tart sting that makes your taste buds hurt from your youth while reading this.

Even after all these years, Warheads have remained a classic. The hard candy — with its OG flavors of black cherry, blue raspberry, lemon, green apple, and watermelon — became a phenomenon in the U.S. seemingly overnight. They were a must-have at playgrounds, roller rinks, and sleepovers. However, these sour gems originated in a totally different part of the world in the mid-'70s.

Warheads were invented in Taiwan

The fruity candies that caused a tongue-tingling frenzy in the U.S. nearly 30 years ago were first created in Taiwan in 1975. According to The Candy Encyclopedia, the Taiwanese confection was imported to America almost two decades later in 1993. When Warheads made their stateside debut at the Foreign Candy Company in small town Hull, Iowa, their success was imminent. By 1999, the brand was valued at $40 million, likely due to consumers buying them in bulk. Warheads were even featured in an episode of Food Network's "Unwrapped," which explains their "dare factor", as children would hold contests to challenge each other to see how long they could withstand the sour candies.

Today, Warheads are manufactured by Impact Confections in Janesville, Wisconsin, which acquired the brand in 2004, and Universal Candy in Australia, per The Candy Encyclopedia. The product line has since expanded to include jelly beans, chewy cubes, gummy worms, soda, energy drinks, and more — all of which still make eyes water. So, where did the brand name come from in the first place? Old Time Candy describes that the name "Warheads" comes from the explosive heads of missiles. Malic acid, the ingredient responsible for creating a highly charged sensation in the eater's mouth that naturally occurs in some wines and fruits, is used as the coating for the candies.