If you were saddened to see Astro Pops disappear from the planet in 2004, guess what? They’re back at Candy.com. And the new rockets are WAY bigger than the originals. The modern-day Astro Pop is 2 pounds, the original was 1 ounce.
“It’s got the wow factor, but people can still eat it, not just look at it,” says Ellia Kassoff, CEO of Leaf Brands, LLC., the company that acquired the Astro Pop brand from Spangler Candy this past May.
When I talked with Ellia this past Friday, he said he was hugely disappointed when Astro Pops fell off radar in 2004 and decided to bring the rocket-shaped lollipops back to Mother Earth.
Ellia doesn’t have a candy background, so to revive the brand, he’s relying on his passion for the product, his marketing background, and his family tie to the Leaf Confectionery Company. (Leaf introduced Rainblo gum balls and reintroduced malted milk balls under the name Whoppers, among other things.)
“The whole Leaf family is excited to see candy back in the family,” says Ellia.
Back when Spangler owned the Astro Pop brand, it was touted as the “longest lasting lollipop on earth.” To bring the tagline up to today’s standards, Ellia has plans to roll out different sizes of Astro Pops based on how much time you’ve got. (Note to Ellia: I do hope you’ve carved out a good bit of time to figure out how many licks it takes to finish off a range of Astro Pop sizes.)
Ellia says the biggest size will probably be a 5-pound showpiece, which is based on the number of calls he’s getting from people interested in giant Astro Pops for wedding centerpieces. (I would think birthdays, graduations, and bar/bat mitzvahs might be a better fit for a rocket theme, but I certainly have been to my fair share of outer space weddings.)
The 2-pound Astro Pop, which is now available at Candy.com, has the same flavors as the original pop: pineapple (yellow), cherry (red), and passion fruit (green). It is pretty remarkable that passion fruit and pineapple were flavors used back in the M*A*S*H era.
If you’re one of the first 500 customers to buy an Astro Pop on Candy.com, you’ll receive a limited-edition version that’s numbered. And, if you place your order by Thurs., Dec. 17, you’ll have your rocket by Christmas.
Historical Note: In case you’re curious why Astro Pops fell off the planet for a while, here’s the story: This past May at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago, Astro Pop, LLC announced its acquisition of worldwide rights for Astro Pops from the Spangler Candy. (Spangler Candy is the company behind Dum Dum Pops, Candy Canes, Circus Peanuts, and Saf-T-Pops.) Spangler bought the brand from Los Angeles-based Nellson Candy Company (the original inventor of the Astro Pop) in 1987, but ended up discontinuing the line in 2004. Many cried. One guy did something about it.