Sweets That Defined The 80s

5 minute read

Retro Sweets

Of all the decades, the 1980s were probably the most eclectic. Big hair, incredible movies and fantastic music are just some things that make the 80s stand out. But let’s not forget that the decade was huge for food too. 

In this post, we’ll look at sweets that defined the 1980s and see how many are still around today. 

Opal Fruits 

For those born before 1998, Opal Fruits were a favourite sweet choice at the local shop. The chewy sweets each had a distinct fruity flavour, and they were great for sharing with friends - if you could bring yourself to. 

Then, in 1998 for some unknown reason, the company announced that Opal Fruits would become Starburst. The manufacturers wanted to match the UK name with the USA, and while Starburst is still popular, we miss the retro appeal of Opal Fruits. 


Often thought of as Opal Fruits/Starburst competitors, Chewits have stood the test of time and are just as popular today as they were in the 80s. With more unique flavours than Starburst, it’s hard to forget them - especially the adverts with the Godzilla style monster! 


You might remember this chocolate bar, although it was discontinued in 1989. The chocolate bar had a lot going on with five distinct flavours, including milk chocolate, caramel, crispies, wafer and fondant. 

Surprisingly, it didn’t last past the 80s, but the unique flavour and catchy advert mean we can’t leave it off this list. 


Only the strong could manage to enjoy Toffo sweets because most of us had a fear that they’d pull our teeth out. There were so many flavours to choose from, including traditional toffee, mint toffee and even a selection of fruit chews. 

While you can still find Toffo sweets in some places, they’re no longer on the shelves of your local shop or supermarket. 

Fizz Wiz 

Fizz Wiz is one of those brands that you either know and love, or you’ve never heard of it. Surprisingly, the popping candy treat is still available now and comes in a range of flavours. 

The most popular is the strawberry, but there are plenty to choose from. Traditional Fizz Wiz sweets inspired many other brands to make their popping candy, so it seems their endless appeal will continue for years to come. 

Fruit Salad 

Fruit Salad sweets were so good, and they still are! One of the few sweets that everyone will remember, you’d usually combine fruit salads with drumsticks and blackjacks for a sleepover with your favourite friends. 

It’s impressive that Fruit Salad sweets are still so popular today, but they stand the test of time as one of the most delicious examples of confectionery we’ve had the pleasure of tasting. It’s easy to see why so many people still buy fruit salad sweets

Cadbury’s Taz 

Every kid born in the 1980s will remember the joys of choosing between a 10p Freddo or Taz bar after school. 

The caramel filled treats were a firm favourite, but then Cadbury decided to replace Taz with Freddo. 

The caramel Freddo bar tastes the same, but we still miss Taz! 

Jelly Tots

Who doesn’t remember the fruity flavour of Jelly Tots? The sweets have been around for years, and it’s no wonder why they’re still a favourite. Since the 1980s, there have been some distinct changes to Jelly Tots, including new packaging and larger size, but they’ve still retained their famous flavour. 

Whether you’re a child or an adult, nobody can deny that Jelly Tots are hard to resist. We think (and hope) they’ll be around for years to come. 


Refreshers are similar to Love Hearts, but they have a tangier flavour and no sentimental message, making them more popular. The fizzy, fruity sweets are a fan favourite, and while the packaging is different today, the flavour is still the same. 

Parma Violets 

Parma Violets are like the Marmite of the sweets world. You either love their flavour, or you hate it. They’re still popular today, partly due to the unique violet infused taste and also because of the low price. 

Candy Necklaces 

The elasticated string and the delicious sweets made these necklaces a favourite for girls. They were regularly seen in your local sweet shop, and a party bag wasn’t a party bag unless you had a candy necklace. 

Candy Necklaces are still around - but they don’t have the appeal they once did, perhaps because it was more straightforward in the 80s and 90s when they were most popular. 

Wham Bars 

Wham Bars were chewy bars with a sour filling that would often cause you to screw your face up. Most people snuck them into their school bags or made sure they had enough lunch money left over to buy a bar from their local shop, so, surprisingly, Wham Bars are no longer around. 

As Drumsticks, Fruit Salad, Refreshers and Black Jacks began to expand their range, people forgot about Wham Bars, but we have fond memories of them. 

Dib Dabs 

Another retro classic, Dib Dabs, combine a hard candy lolly with tangy sherbert for the ultimate treat. You might remember the old fashioned rectangular lolly, which is now a circle but Dib Dabs are still around. 

Sherbet Fountain 

It’s fantastic that Sherbet Fountains are still around -especially since they’re older than your grandparents! Yes, these delicious treats from Barratt made their way onto the shelves in 1925 - before the Second World War.

The tasty liquorice stick and tangy powder make Sherbet Fountains a favourite for children, and their low price only adds to the appeal. 

Candy Whistles 

We can’t forget candy whistles. Not only did they provide us with a tasty treat, but they were also fun to play with too. While candy whistles aren’t as popular as they once were, they’re still around. 

If you enjoyed our post on sweets that defined the 80s, stay tuned for more candy related tips, news and surprises. The Appleton Sweets blog is packed to the brim of great posts, so don’t miss out. Click here to see our latest posts.


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