Jun 10, 2018

Life Savers candy - A RETROspect

Many varieties of Life Saver candies have come and gone over the years.   This article isn't a comprehensive history on the candy line, so much as it is about the Life Savers candies that I most fondly remember during my childhood and adult life.

I often find myself reminiscing about Life Savers.  It all started a couple of weeks ago, when I was complaining to a friend about how tough it can be to find an honest to goodness roll of Life Savers these days.  You can get bags of individually wrapped Life Savers everywhere, but the rolls of candy are a real pain to track down sometimes.

Many restaurants and eating establishments used to sell mints and gum by their cash registers, and I always remember CERTS, and Wint-O-Green Life Savers being available for purchase.  They were certainly available in every store's candy section, and were ever present by the gum and mints at grocery checkout stands nationwide.

Yes, I truly miss the good old days when rolls of Life Savers used to be so easy to find, so it warms my heart every holiday season, when these start popping up in stores for gifts and stocking stuffers.

These seasonal Life Savers tins stand seven inches tall, and are available predominantly during the holidays.  As you can see.. Butter Rum, Five Flavor and Wild Cherry themed tins are available.  Each collectible holiday tin comes with a 7 roll assortment that includes 2 Butter Rum, 2 Wild Cherry and 3 Five Flavor rolls.  While these are considered a holiday item, the only thing with a holiday feel to them is the removable plastic seal atop the tins.  I usually end up buying all three tins, so as to have a nice winter cache of America's favorite "Candy with a hole".

My good friend Chris and I were huge fans of Life Savers as kids.  Our parents would allow us to sit together in church, but we had to sit in the row directly in front of them, so they could keep an eye on us.  Nodding off was a constant danger for us kids who after a long day of school, had to sit through two hours in church on Thursdays, and on Sunday mornings after a play packed weekend.  Therefore, we never left for church without a roll of Life Savers in our suit coat pockets.

Chris's favorite flavor was Wild Cherry, and mine was Butter Rum.  We'd mix it up from time to time and buy Pep-O-Mint or Wint-O-Green flavors as well.  We'd often consult each other before church to make sure we didn't bring the same flavor.  Then, during church.. we'd cautiously eat our Life Savers, sharing them with one another.  The candy kept us awake, and the constant danger of getting caught by our parents, finished the job of keeping us alert.  Devising a method to stay awake was a necessity, as dozing off and letting your head bob, would most certainly bring retribution in the form of a pinch, or a thump to the back of the head.

We perfected our methods of exchanging the contraband, and each had our own techniques for passing the candy to one another.  My friend Chris would palm the roll of Life Savers and flick a piece of candy onto the pages of my bible or songbook.  I was a bit more cautious and would keep my roll tucked tightly in my shirt sleeve, just behind my palm.  My suit coat sleeve ensured the roll stayed invisible (to mortal eyes at least).  All I had to do to remove a piece of candy, was to push the roll upwards a bit into the base of my palm, and then reach down with my middle and ring finger to pull a Life Saver from the roll.  The secret exchanges we pulled off would have made the finest of spies envious.  We had many ways of passing the candy, but most commonly, we'd do so by acting like we were helping each other look up scriptures, or dropping a piece of candy into the others side suit coat pocket for them to pick up at a later time when the coast was clear.

What a Life Saver!
Fast forward to 1991.  I was now sitting in church on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings with a 15 month old child on my lap.  A restless toddler in church who has begun to make good use of his vocal chords can make for some uncomfortable stares from certain folks, so I drew from my old playbook.  When my son would act up, I'd give him a Life Saver to pacify him for awhile.  And no silly.. I didn't give my 15 month old a Life Saver, or even a broken up Life Saver for that matter.  No, there was a new Life Saver in town..

In the early 90's, Life Savers came out with a variety of candy called "Life Savers Holes".  They came in a real dandy plastic container, and the candies were roughly the size of, well.. a Life Savers hole!  After I had exhausted all other resources to keep my son happy and quiet, I would sneak a Life Saver Hole to my boy, and he would be calm and quiet for about ten minutes.  As good as this technique was, my plan eventually backfired when he got more teeth, and could chew the little pieces of candy as fast as I could dispense them.

More Varieties of Life Saving Candies..

I also remember there being Life Savers "mini rolls" that had about four Life Savers in them.  These usually were abundant around Halloween time, but I also remember teachers giving them out as rewards to the students all year round.  If I'm not mistaken, you could also buy them at candy stores for around 5 or 10 cents back in the early 80's.

While most kids went crazy for Tootsie Roll Pops, Blow-Pops, and Dum-Dums, my favorite variety of suckers were Life Savers Swirled Pops.  These 10 or 15 cent suckers basically looked like a big Life Saver on a stick.  The lollipops had smooth and creamy flavor combos like orange & vanilla, cherry & banana, and strawberry & vanilla.

I haven't seen Life Savers Swirled Pops for years, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that they are indeed still produced, and abundantly available for purchase online at Amazon, and countless other websites.

I can't exactly remember when gummi candy got so popular, but in the 70's, our choices were kind of limited.  Since the 80's however, you can find gummi candy in just about every imaginable flavor and shape.  In 1992 Life Savers released Gummi Savers which have since been renamed to "Life Savers Gummies".  They've came out with lots of great flavors over the years that my kids and I really enjoyed such as wild berries, island flavors, and sour varieties.

Over the course of the last few years, the Life Savers brand of candy I've bought the most, are Creme Savers.  These hard candies are swirled with real creme, and come in a few different flavors like tropical, orange & creme, and butter toffee & creme just to name a few.  My personal favorite are the Strawberries & Creme, although the Orange and Creme variety gives me flashbacks of eating Creamsicle's on a hot summer day.  These candies are creamy and smooth with their flavors paired perfectly.  It's what I consider to be more of an "adult candy" because I'm not so sure most kids can truly appreciate the decadence and creaminess this candy exudes.  You can occasionally find Creme Savers packaged in rolls, and whenever I come across them, I usually buy a roll or two.

Do you live in an area where rolls of Lifesavers are still abundant? Does anyone else remember Life Savers Holes? Do you hold fond memories about this or any other candy from your youth?  If so, I'd love to hear about them!

Display box full of classic Lifesavers!
Gawd I love Amazon


  1. where can you find the lifesaver swirl pops??? Ive been scouring the internet for an hour and cant find them.

    1. You know.. I haven't seen any this year.. and had the same results you had online. If I can find them, I will dedicate a quick post to it here and on my social media accounts.


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