Skip to Content

History of Mike and Ike Candy

History of Mike and Ike Candy

Mike and Ike Candy is a popular brand of fruit-flavored candies that have been enjoyed by people since 1940. The candy was first introduced by Just Born, Inc. and was originally all fruit-flavored. Over the years, several different varieties have been introduced, making Mike and Ike a beloved candy for many.

The origin of the candy’s name remains unknown, but there are many conjectures. Some people believe that the candy was named after the sons of the company’s founder, while others think that it was named after a popular vaudeville act from the 1930s. Despite the mystery surrounding its name, Mike and Ike Candy has become an iconic American candy that is widely recognized around the world.

In this article, we will explore the history of Mike and Ike Candy, from its humble beginnings to becoming a globally-recognized brand. We will delve into the story behind the classic candy, including its origins, how it became popular, and the different varieties that have been introduced over the years. Whether you are a fan of Mike and Ike Candy or just curious about its history, this article will provide you with an in-depth look at this beloved candy.

Origins of Mike and Ike


Mike and Ike candy was created by Sam Born, a Russian immigrant who moved to the United States in 1910. Born was a candy maker who owned a retail shop in New York City. He is also known for inventing the machine that allowed for the automatic insertion of lollipop sticks into lollipops. This achievement even won him a key to the city of San Francisco. Born is also the inventor of other popular candies such as Hot Tamales and Peeps.

Initial Production

Mike and Ike candy was first introduced in 1940 by Just Born, a family-owned candy manufacturer. The candy was named after a popular comic strip at the time called “Mike and Ike (They Look Alike).” However, the origins of the candy’s name are shrouded in mystery, with several theories but no definitive answer. Just Born started producing the candy in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where it is still headquartered today.

The original Mike and Ike candy flavors were cherry, orange, lemon, lime, and strawberry. The candy quickly became popular and has since become a classic American candy. Today, Mike and Ike candy comes in a variety of flavors and is sold in many countries around the world.

Evolution Over the Years

Flavors Evolution

Mike and Ike candy has come a long way since it was first introduced in 1940. Over the years, the brand has introduced new flavors and discontinued some old ones. In the early days, the candy came in just five flavors: lime, cherry, orange, lemon, and strawberry. Today, there are over ten different flavors of Mike and Ike candies, including tropical typhoon, berry blast, and sour-licious.

Packaging Changes

The packaging of Mike and Ike candies has also evolved over the years. The candy was first sold in a cardboard box with a wax paper lining. In the 1950s, the company introduced a new packaging design that featured a clear cellophane wrapper. In the 1980s, the brand introduced a new packaging design that featured a resealable bag, which made it easier to keep the candy fresh.

In recent years, the brand has introduced new packaging designs that feature bold colors and eye-catching graphics. For example, the Mike and Ike Mega Mix packaging features a bright yellow background with a mix of different fruit graphics. The brand has also introduced limited edition packaging designs for holidays and special occasions, such as the Valentine’s Day-themed packaging that features a red and pink heart design.

Overall, the evolution of Mike and Ike candies over the years has been a testament to the brand’s ability to adapt and change with the times. From its humble beginnings as a simple five-flavor candy to its current status as a beloved candy brand with a wide range of flavors and packaging options, Mike and Ike has remained a favorite among candy lovers of all ages.

Cultural Impact

Advertising Campaigns

Mike and Ike’s advertising campaigns have played a significant role in the brand’s cultural impact. In the 1980s, the candy was marketed as “The Original Fruits Chewy,” and the commercials featured the candy’s signature characters, Mike and Ike. The characters were portrayed as best friends who would do anything for each other, reinforcing the idea that Mike and Ike candy was the perfect treat to share with someone you care about.

In 2012, Mike and Ike launched a new advertising campaign that featured the characters breaking up and going their separate ways. The campaign was designed to generate buzz and increase sales, and it was a huge success.

The commercials were funny, irreverent, and appealed to a younger demographic. The campaign was so successful that it led to a sequel in 2013, which featured the characters getting back together.

In Popular Culture

Mike and Ike candy has made appearances in popular culture, further cementing its cultural impact. In the 2003 movie “School of Rock,” Jack Black’s character Dewey Finn offers Mike and Ike candy to his students as a reward for their hard work. The candy has also been referenced in TV shows such as “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

In addition to its appearances in TV and movies, Mike and Ike candy has also been referenced in music. Rapper Lil Wayne mentions the candy in his song “Lollipop,” and it has been referenced in songs by other artists such as Eminem and Ludacris.

Overall, Mike and Ike candy’s cultural impact can be seen in its advertising campaigns and its appearances in popular culture. The candy has become a beloved treat that is associated with friendship, fun, and good times.

Controversies and Criticisms

Despite the popularity of Mike and Ike candy, the brand has had its fair share of controversies and criticisms over the years. One of the most notable controversies occurred in 2012 when the brand launched a marketing campaign that “tore apart” the beloved duo, Mike and Ike, causing public outcry among fans. The campaign was seen as a divisive move by the brand and was met with mixed reactions from consumers.

Another controversy that has plagued the brand is the use of artificial colors and flavors in their candy. Some critics argue that these additives are harmful to one’s health and that the company should switch to natural ingredients instead. However, the company has defended its use of artificial ingredients, stating that they are safe for consumption and that they are necessary to achieve the unique flavors of Mike and Ike candy.

In addition to these controversies, the brand has also faced criticism over its marketing tactics, with some accusing the company of targeting children with its colorful packaging and catchy slogans. However, the company has maintained that its marketing is aimed at a general audience and that it does not specifically target children.

Despite these controversies and criticisms, Mike and Ike candy remains a beloved staple in the world of candy and continues to be enjoyed by millions of people around the world.

Current Status and Future Prospects

Mike and Ike candy continues to be a popular choice among candy enthusiasts. In 2021, Just Born announced the release of a new flavor, Blueberry Lemonade, which has already gained a loyal fan base. The company has also introduced a limited edition flavor, Root Beer Float, which has been well-received by consumers.

In addition to new flavors, Just Born has also expanded its product line to include Mike and Ike Mega Mix, which features a variety of fruit flavors in one package. The company has also introduced Mike and Ike Zours, a sour version of the classic candy.

Looking to the future, Just Born is committed to sustainability and has implemented several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact. The company has installed solar panels at its manufacturing facility and has reduced its water usage by 40% over the past decade.

Overall, the future looks bright for Mike and Ike candy. With new flavors and product lines, as well as a commitment to sustainability, Just Born is poised to continue its success in the candy industry.