Astro Pop® History
In case you’re curious why Astro Pops® fell off the planet for a while, here’s the story:
In the beginning, Man Created Rockets!
Astro Pops® were first made in 1963 after two Rocket Scientists working on the space program in El Segundo, CA decided to quit their jobs at Rocketdyne and create the Astro Pop®, modeling the pop after a three-stage rocket. Being actual Rocket Scientists they custom-built special equipment including a high-speed cone-wrapping machine along with other equipment all made by hand. Astro Pops® are very unusual to manufacture because the cone-wrapper is the actual mold for the candy. The hot candy is poured directly into the wrapper, then a paper stick is added and capped off with a layer of wax to keep the stick in-place as the candy cools. Astro Pops® were created at the perfect time in history when the ‘Space Race’ was in full force. Kids were drinking Tang®, eating Astro Pops® and dreaming of going into space. Millions and millions of Astro Pops® were sold!
In 1987, Spangler Candy (the makers of Dum Dum® lollipops, Circus Peanuts® and Safe-T Pops®) acquired the Astro Pops® Brand from the Nellson Candy Company of Los Angeles California. Astro Pops®, rocket-shaped lollipops, were reputed to be the “longest lasting lollipop on earth.”
During the period from 1987 to 2004, Spangler expanded the Astro Pop® line of suckers to include:
- Astro Sour Pop™: (sour grape, lemon and cherry)
- Rappin Raspberry™: (blue Raspberry, red raspberry, blueberry)
- Banana Split Astro Pop™: (banana, cherry and vanilla)
- Caramel Apple: (caramel and green apple)
- Astro Confetti Pop™: (lemonade with confetti candy)
- Halloween Astro Pop™: (orange, vanilla and chocolate)
- Citrus Sensation™: (orange, cherry, lemon)
- Easter Astro Pop: (grape, vanilla, lemon)
- Astro Pop, Awesome Hot™: (hot cinnamon flavor)
- Astro Sundae Pop™: (chocolate, vanilla and cherry)
- Astro Patriot Pop™: (cherry, vanilla and blueberry)
Around 1999, Spangler Candy updated the Astro Pop® Logo and packaging, using really cool graphics and creating a more, “cosmic” look to the product.
At the beginning of 2000, Spangler decided to reverse the shape of the Astro Pop®, placing the stick at the tip of the pop, rather than the base. They felt it would give the consumer more surface area to lick. Unfortunately, consumers weren’t too happy with the change.
In 2001, Astro Pops® were featured on the Food Network show, Unwrapped
In September of 2004, Spangler discontinued the product line because they felt it was no longer part of their “corporate strategy.”
"Ok, I know They’re Here Somewhere…"
After continued frustration because he couldn’t find his favorite candy Astro Pop® anywhere, Ellia Kassoff, the CEO of Leaf Brands called Spangler Candy and asked, “Where can I buy Astro Pops?” To his dismay, he was told by customer service Spangler stopped making them. Ellia finally spoke to the President of the company and asked if they would sell the rights to Astro Pops® since he just couldn’t see such an iconic candy go to the Candy Graveyard. After years of negotiating, in May of 2010 Leaf Brands acquired the rights to Astro Pops® and set-out to make the famous conical-shaped lollipops again.
Patience is a Virtue:
Unfortunately by the time the rights were purchased from Spangler, the company had dismantled the custom-made equipment and sold it all off as scrap metal..yep..scrap metal. Undeterred, Leaf Brands® worked tirelessly to bring back the iconic pop, even though they knew it might take a while. Now millions of people around the globe can [once again] enjoy the “longest lasting lollipop in the world.” The next goal of Leaf Brands is expanding the Astro Pop® brand name with new products to complement the original Astro Pop®.
We Now Have:
- 1oz. Original Astro Pop® (larger chain stores)
- 1.5oz Astro Pop® (specialty/candy stores)
- Astro Pop® Sodas: The original three flavors of Cherry, Passion Fruit and Pineapple made with the exact flavors of an Astro Pop® with real sugar or 100% natural zero-calorie sweetener.
- Giant Astro Pops®
- Astro Pop® Asteroids
- Astro Pop® frozen treats!
- Astro Pop® Jelly Beans
- All the old Astro Pop® flavors
Here are some of the old versions of Astro Pops® over the years: