Starburst (originally known as Opal Fruits) is the brand name of a box-shaped, fruit-flavored 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. The original flavours include: strawberry, lemon, orange, and cherry (changed from the initial lime). However, the UK original flavours are black currant, lemon and lime, orange and strawberry. The tropical flavours include: strawberry banana, pineapple, mango melon, cherry and kiwi.
|Produced by||The Wrigley Company|
The brand was introduced by Mars in the UK in 1960, named Opal Fruits by Peter Phillips (known as Peter Pfeffer at the time), the winner of a competition that won him £5. The four original flavours were strawberry, lemon, orange, and lime. Opal Fruits were introduced in the United States in 1967 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 flavor at each bite, and draw attention while space interest was at it peaks during the Space Race. Originally, Starburst came in the same flavours as Opal Fruits. Subsequently, its first variant, "Sunshine Flavors", was released and was later renamed "Tropical Opal Fruits". In Europe, lemon and lime were combined to become "Lemon and lime" to make room for a blackcurrant flavour.
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. 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. On 6 October 2008, Mars acquired Wrigley and it transferred Mars' non-chocolate candy brands, including Starburst, to the Wrigley subsidiary. 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 vegan, its packaging and website clearly stating "Suitable for Vegetarians", and also does not contain any artificial colours or flavours. In the US, Starburst contains non-vegetarian 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.
As of August 2016, the advertising slogan for Starburst is "Unexplainably Juicy".
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). 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. 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. The commercial received praise for its style from Advertising Age. In an interview with Adweek Ferver commented that the commercial took over 12 hours to film and that he had to wear the full costume in 80 degree weather.
Starburst also exists in the form of candy corn, popsicles, gum, candy canes, jelly beans, lip gloss (in a partnership with Lip Smackers), and yogurt (by Yoplait in 2019 as a flavour).
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