Last Updated on July 29, 2022 by Jim Edwards
Pop Rocks really revolutionized the candy industry in the 1970’s when they put a really unique and fun and exciting candy on the market. They sold 500 MILLION PACKAGES…in 18 months!
That made it the hottest selling candy in history. And from that point onward, it has become part of American culture.
Pop Rocks are small pieces of hard candy that resemble cut up glass. When you put them in your mouth they make cracking and fizzing sounds and they make a popping sensation. Kids and adults have long loved these innovative candies. The candies have been gasified with carbon dioxide under super-atmospheric pressure.
When the candy granules come into contact with moisture in someone’s mouth (from saliva) or in liquid, the gas inside the carbon dioxide bubbles is released and that chemical reaction is what causes the fixing, cracking and popping sounds.
Random, unbelievable fact – The inventor of pop rocks was also the genius behind Tang, Jello and Cool-Whip!
Pop Rocks History
Pop Rocks were invented by accident in 1975. William Mitchell, a food scientist at General Foods, made the discovery while he was experimenting and trying to create an instant soft drink. He put a sugar flavoring and carbon dioxide in his mouth at the same time and noted the exploding sensation and the snapping and cracking sounds.
The exploding candies were quite fun for children as there was a novelty to them and they were a bit rebellious. In short time, these exploding candy’s became a phenomenon.
The Mikey Rumor (see below) actually led to the candy being removed from the market for some time. That fueled the truth that the candies were actually dangerous. Kraft Foods brought Pop Rocks back in 1985 under the name of “Action Candy” for a period of time, but they are now marketed under their original name.
Pop Rocks Flavors
Pop Rocks come in a range of flavors, including new limited editions:
Pop Rocks Standard Flavors
- Blue Razz
- Original Cherry
- Cotton Candy
- Strawberry Sugar Free are available
- POP ROCKS® Bubble Gum (this is unique because it starts like regular pop rocks but turns into chewing gum after it pops!)
- POP ROCKS® DIPS (Basically a Pop rocks version of Fun Dip – comes with Popping Candy AND a Lollipop!)
- These come in several flavors:
- Sour Strawberrry
- Blue Raspberry
- Sour Apple
- These come in several flavors:
Pop Rocks Limited Edition Flavors
There are also some limited edition flavors that come out for special holidays or parts of the year too.
- Pumpkin Patch
- Candy Cane
Video: Poprocks Commercial from the 1970’s
This video is a hoot and will take you back to the 1970’s
Pop Rocks Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What gas is used in Pop Rocks?
Carbon dioxide is in pop rocks. This is the the same thing used to carbonate your favorite sodas for example. A pouch of Pop Rocks contains
If you really love pop rocks and read this far, be sure to see the company’s website.
Did Mikey Really DIE from eating Pop Rocks?
In the 1960’s LIFE cereal was one of the most popular cereals on the market. The kid in the commercial was named Mikey and everyone would run around saying “Mikey…he likes it!” just like in the commercial!
Fast forward to the 1970’s. After Pop Rocks came out, there was a frequent rumor that Mikey died form eating pop rocks.
Watch the commercial to remember who Mikey was.
Truth is that Mikey did NOT die from drinking soda and eating pop rocks.
The actor that played Mikey lives in NY and is very much still alive.
The rumor mill was crazy in the 1970’s that Pop Rocks would fizz up if you drank them with soda and then explode in your stomach. This rumor was so strong and prevalent that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) setup a hotline to dispel this rumor. And the hotline would assure parents that the candy was safe for children and also would NOT cause the stomach to explode if mixed with carbonated beverages.
Note: There was no internet then, so it was harder to quash rumors and they tended to spread more quickly and people didn’t get to hear the counterpoint or the debunking.
We did our research and found out. Very interesting topic!
Note: If you like Pop Rocks, be sure to see our review of Lik-m-aid/Fun Dip
Video: What Really Happens When You Mix Pop Rocks and Soda?
In this video, MythBusters show explores this issue about whether mixing pop rocks and soda can kill you. It is very much worth a watch as they take a fun, yet educational tone. And if you actually watch it you will find out what really happens!
Note: Pop Rocks is a trademarked term.
I’m Jim Edwards and I started this website to share my love of Junk Food. We cover new junk food, desserts, snack foods, fast food secret menus, candy (of course!) and other related news. We love trying “secret menus” at restaurants. And we love trying new products too. So, we are trying to have some fun with our hobby and share some useful information with you, our community. Please feel to send us your suggestions and feedback through the contact form. And if you have products you would like us to try, let us know…!