Monday, August 7, 2006


Back in the eighties Nabisco had a candy called Bonkers, which were fruit chews similar to Starbursts ... except they were layered. It was a fruity chew with a fruitier chewier center. If you need a reminder of what they were, watch this commercial from the eighties I found on YouTube.

I didn’t know if they’d stopped making them but that’s what I thought I was buying when I picked these up.


First, these are made by Joyco. Second, there are no flavor layers. Third, the flavors are all wrong. Fourth, the label says they’re citrus fruits, but there’s a strawberry in there and last time I checked those don’t even grow on trees. Fifth, the package says there’s real honey in there. Real honey? And egg whites? What the heck are these, nougats? Sixth, well, none of that matters because these were positively awful.

Most of them were very hard, but some were only kind of hard. All were rather unpleasant in a way that I’m not quite able to put my finger on.

Strawberry: slightly floral and slightly putrid tasting. A little tangy but with sort of moldy/mossy note.

Lemon: tastes like a moist and ripe citrus burp.

Orange: tangy but with a rather uneven flavor that alternates between bile and tang.

imageI tried several times to taste these (waiting a couple of weeks in between, thinking it was me). It’s not me. They’re bad. I’ve debated long and hard about what to give these. I sat there with the wads of half chewed Bonkers in their wrappers in front of me and a foul feeling in my stomach and it’s clear I’m gonna have to give these a bad rating. (Believe me, I never set out to buy candy that I’m going to hate.) But I wanted to give them one last opportunity, so I offered them to the neighbors (and Amy always seems game for the worst of the worst but Robin conveniently reminds me when I try to get her to try things like this that she only likes chocolate). Amy spat it out on the sidewalk and then kicked it into the street. She described it as at first tasting like the plastic shelf it must have been sitting on in the store and then most decidedly vomit.

Yes, these get my first 1 out of 10. (Amy asked if there was a 0 rating.)

Name: Bonkers
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Joyco
Place Purchased: Candy Station (Burbank)
Price: $1.00
Size: 2.11 ounces
Calories per ounce: 139
Categories: Chew, United States

POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:52 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. yay! i’ve been waiting for this day!

    ha ha. they clearly deserve a 1. don’t feel bad. tee hee!

    Comment by Pam on 8/07/06 at 6:24 am #
  2. awww, i was so excited when i saw the review title….i lovvved Bonkers as a kid and really wished they would bring them back. why can’t they just make them the same as the original? So disappointing.

    Comment by cheryl on 8/07/06 at 7:08 am #
  3. You just can’t make a bad fruit chew, it’s not worth it. With monsters like Starburst and Jolly Rancher, if your chew isn’t up to scratch, people will know.

    Shame on you, Joyco.

    Comment by GTO on 8/07/06 at 7:59 am #
  4. Oh man, I’d totally forgotten about Bonkers until seeing that commercial!

    Comment by Grace on 8/07/06 at 11:01 am #
  5. Wow, and you got to pay a whole dollar for them too!

    Comment by Alex on 8/07/06 at 12:18 pm #
  6. “tastes like a moist and ripe citrus burp.”

    Cybele, you DO have a way with words!

    Comment by Bruce Anderson on 8/07/06 at 2:24 pm #
  7. fwiw…

    from what i recall about Bonkers from my childhood (other than that they RULED), was that they were NOT like Starburst chews whatsoever…

    think more closer to a Now & Later, in that they were a bit harder and you chewed them for a bit compared to a Starburst.

    the Grape & Strawberry were my favorites, these don’t look/sound remotely similiar

    Comment by solace on 8/07/06 at 6:46 pm #
  8. Cybele's avatar

    Pam - yeah, I thought that something that deserved a 1 would be way uglier though, for some reason.

    cheryl - I wonder if Joyco is using the original name for that reason. Evil!

    GTO - I’ve gotta wonder why they bothered to get in the game, too.

    Alex - there was another flavor set there too, I think Wild Berry or Tropical or something, so at least they didn’t ding me twice!

    Bruce - well, when life gives you lemons!

    Solace - yes, I think you’re right about their hardness of the original Bonkers - but they didn’t quite have that “shatter if you drop them thing” ... which these did.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/09/06 at 6:12 am #
  9. I SOO remember that comercial LOL It was even STILL funny. I remember liking these..but maybe I am getting them confused with Mambas….

    Comment by Amy on 8/09/06 at 6:51 am #
  10. Like bile and Tang?!!  Oh, Cybele, the things you do for us!

    Comment by Julilla on 8/09/06 at 12:19 pm #
  11. I’m sorry you had to put these in your mouth.  Thank you for all the sacrifices you make in putting together the CandyBlog, Cybele.

    Comment by :: jozjozjoz :: on 8/09/06 at 6:53 pm #
  12. Maybe these were leftovers from the 80s, and that’s why they tasted so bad! :^o

    Comment by Tricia on 8/10/06 at 6:25 am #
  13. I’m glad that there’s finally a 1.  Hilarious review, great phrases.

    Comment by Dave on 8/11/06 at 1:48 am #
  14. Bonkers actually got discontinued completely about two years ago.  Sorry you had to find out the hard way =(

    Comment by mike on 8/18/06 at 7:10 pm #
  15. Alas, I purchased this same product a few years ago expecting to find the old Bonkers! candy I knew from when I was a kid. Unfortunately, it was immediately obvious that this candy was a fake. As you said, there was no second layer in the center and the flavors were bland at best. If you ever find the genuine Bonkers! please let us know!

    Comment by Kelly Smith on 9/25/06 at 6:43 pm #
  16. I have been looking for bonkers for the longest time.  My favorite was the grape kind.  I found them to be so much better the starbursts.  Now I find out that they discontinued them.  That really sucks.  I wish I could find them.

    Comment by Fletch on 10/19/06 at 4:24 pm #
  17. My favorites back in the day was the grape and chocolate.Yeah they will never be the same…loved the commercials.They still make me laugh.

    Comment by Imaras Mom on 11/01/06 at 8:52 pm #
  18. I loved the commerical as a young kid. I loved the candy as well. They were so good. It’s sad to see that some new company tried to impersonate Bonkers with candy not at all similar to the originals. The new generation of kids should give this candy a try if Nabisco were only to bring them back. I could imagine if they did, and air that same commercial these days for the advertisement.

    Does anyone know who that lady’s name was in that commercial and does anyone know if she is still alive and well?

    Comment by Bonkers Lover on 3/03/07 at 12:16 pm #
  19. How Do I get some of these.  You have to remember that these are the absoloute best fruit chews ever.

    Comment by Rich D on 4/27/07 at 11:03 am #
  20. Cybele's avatar

    Rich - these are NOT the fruit chews you remember. These are sad, sad knock-offs.

    The real Bonkers are long gone, just remember to not be taken in my these horrible imitators.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/27/07 at 11:09 am #
  21. Where and how do I get the real Bonkers again?

    Comment by Kate on 6/15/07 at 3:53 pm #
  22. That really sucks I was wanting some bonkers.
    I used to love those, they were my favorite.
    I remember eating them and jumping up and down and yelling bonkers.
    Well it sucks that the origanl bonkers are discontinued.

    Comment by amy on 7/03/07 at 1:58 pm #
  23. Man, bonkers where my favorite, i wish they would come back…To me they tasted great.. the only candy i would buy as a kid was bonkers… i give them a 10!

    Comment by Jason on 7/31/07 at 5:10 pm #
  24. I bought a pack today and there was only 1 strawberry and all the rest were lemon and orange. WTF! Same thing happended to my bro!

    Comment by Marc on 8/21/07 at 10:45 am #
  25. where do they sell bonkers candy ..  love to get osme   send me link htanks

    Comment by carl on 9/25/07 at 3:26 pm #
  26. Cybele's avatar

    Carl - the original Bonkers are discontinued as is this knockoff product. If you’re buying these, they’re at least 2 years old.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/25/07 at 3:42 pm #
  27. Cybele- where did you get that information that this knock-off was discontinued?

    Comment by Kelly on 9/25/07 at 4:08 pm #
  28. Cybele's avatar

    Kelly - when I put this review up last year I found a couple of webstores that had deactivated their order page for the candy saying it was “discontinued”. Of course I can’t find them now.

    Now that I’m poking around, I think these might have been an “authorized” product, as Joyco purchased rights back in 1992 from Nabisco.

    Joyco is now owned by Wrigley (I believe) but has no identity left in the US. They may still produce these for overseas markets. Even if they are still around, these are not the Bonkers you knew and loved.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/25/07 at 4:27 pm #
  29. My mother and I really Love the real Bonkers candy but we can’t seem to find them anywhere. so can someone please tell me how to find and get the real Bonkers. If someone could find out how to get some for us you would make us the happies people in the wold. I really would like to have them but not the knock-off kind. please if someone can let me know i would really appreciate it alot so thank you. email address is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

      from Kelly N Costley   10/11/07

    Comment by Kelly N C on 10/11/07 at 5:23 pm #
  30. Well, I guess telling people that there are NO MORE BONKERS EVER—-Bonkers are Goneeeeee—-HISTORY—-does no good whatsoever.  I’ll betcha the very next post after this one will be someone asking where they can get Bonkers now.  lol

    Comment by Gayla on 5/08/08 at 7:18 am #
  31. If you want the original bonkers to come back you have to continue to call Nabisco and request them. You have to create the demand. That’s what they said when I called them.

    Comment by Joe K on 6/04/08 at 5:09 am #
  32. If you want the old bonkers candy. Your going to have to build a time meachine to 1980 something.

    Comment by john on 7/25/08 at 3:44 pm #
  33. Contact Nabisco and beg them to go back to making Bonkers (WITH THE ORIGINAL RECIPE IN THE ORIGINAL FLAVORS):

    Comment by LL on 11/13/08 at 2:51 am #
  34. Use this form as well:

    Comment by LL on 11/13/08 at 2:54 am #
  35. Just for fun, I submitted my own comment to Nabisco.. Who knows, if we all do the same maybe we’ll get somewhere.

    <<As I’m sure you may already be aware, there is a great demand for the original Bonkers candy. Many of the original Bonkers fans, including myself, having searched tirelessly for this candy, to no avail. The closest we have been able to come is a disappointing knock-off from Joyco that lacked the 2 flavor combination that is the Bonkers trademark taste. I would LOVE to be able to purchase the Bonkers candy in its original 2-flavor form, the way it was meant to be.>>

    Comment by Kelly on 11/13/08 at 10:01 am #
  36. I miss Bonkers sooooo much, we need a petition to bring them back!

    Comment by Taylor Ellerbrock on 3/05/09 at 12:59 pm #
  37. LOL.  Too funny.  I thought the same thing when I saw these.  They are more like the Mambas.  Now, as for the REAL BONKERS…that’s some candy.  LOL.  I love them.  It’s been soooooo long since I have had one.  They were just the best.  I wish they would bring them back.  Glad to see other people remember them too.  Don’t remember who wrote it but we should start a petition, BRING OUR BONKERS BACK!!!!

    Comment by Chaz on 3/08/09 at 11:57 am #
  38. I really wish they would come back with Bonkers and make them.  I always would get them when I was a kid.. they were so good!

    Comment by Megan on 4/23/09 at 4:51 pm #
  39. I wrote to Nabisco. For some reason I had remembered them being a Wonka product. (perhaps they own wonka?)

    Is there a petition to bring back Bonkers? If not, we should start an online petition!

    Comment by Danielle on 5/25/09 at 9:20 pm #
  40. Bonkers was my all time favorite candy! No other candy can out beat Bonkers! I really want some now.. LOL

    Comment by Brandi Long on 7/28/09 at 7:03 am #
  41. i still have some in box here lol same as pic at top pretty cool huh lol

    Comment by carl on 8/09/09 at 8:12 am #
  42. my dad owned a convenience store and years ago, when i heard they were being discontinued, i ordered a bunch from my supplier. to this day i still have unopened boxes of grape and strawberry (my faves) Bonkers. They are out of date, obviously, but i am sooooo tempted to taste one right now…i hope they bring them back. i sent an email to them. also, here is a little known fact….the pink floyd song, wish you were here, was actually written about the band’s loss of the Bonkers candy. lol

    Comment by jason h on 5/21/10 at 4:23 pm #
  43. wow awsome i love to have few packs of them to have just for keeps yaknow   email me let meknwo if u wouldnt mind selling me a few packs for keep sake ..  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Comment by carl on 5/21/10 at 4:32 pm #
  44. Does candy go bad? I’d love to buy a box of Strawberry if they don’t!

    Comment by Jason Webber on 6/10/10 at 7:44 am #
  45. Well yeah. It does. The. Sugar in it. Gets hard.. I have a few. Packs.  Rigt now unopened..  just for keep sake I like to collect. .. I. Sold 2. Packs. For 25. For just. Collector..  some candy is still soft. But I just save it. For. Looks

    Comment by carl on 6/10/10 at 8:12 am #
  46. Jason H, any chance I could buy a package from you? I would like to give one to my brother for his birthday. He would go crazy!

    Comment by Bryan on 10/13/10 at 12:59 pm #
  47. I’m trying to find this candy for my best friend… Can anyone PLZ Post a link where I can order some of it??? I’m not sure how find them!!!

    Comment by Damiona on 7/18/11 at 2:33 pm #
  48. well u cant its not sold anymore .hasnt sold i think since 4 years ago .. . its great to just save what i got and show people lol .. i have few packs left

    Comment by carl on 7/18/11 at 3:26 pm #
  49. DO you know where anymore are…I’m trying to buy some??? Damiona

    Comment by Damiona on 7/18/11 at 3:29 pm #
  50. no cause im sure if u found some it be for collection and not for eating casue all candy goes bad . but good luck on finding some .. i doubt u will find some tho i barley found whati got

    Comment by carl on 7/19/11 at 3:32 pm #
  51. Hi!

    Has anyone tasted candy that is similar to the original 80’s Bonkers?

    I have heard that Hi-Chew tastes similar, but would love any more suggestions, please!!

    Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jonalyn on 9/11/11 at 7:09 am #
  52. Just read - Leaf is bringing back Bonkers!

    Comment by Ken on 3/19/12 at 3:45 pm #
  53. That is the best news ever!

    Comment by Kevin Burr on 11/05/12 at 3:10 pm #
  54. I have GREAT news for everyone! A company called Leafbrand will be resurrecting the original Bonkers candy from the 80s sometime this year!

    Comment by Connie on 6/24/13 at 6:06 pm #
  55. I still have not seen them from leafbrand. Anyone know when they will be out?

    Comment by Adam on 2/23/14 at 5:10 pm #
  56. we want bonkers deadly please release them in bangalore

    Comment by Lucky on 6/13/14 at 4:04 am #

    Here is an email from the company…

    “We’re working on bringing back Bonkers! Fruit Chews.  Like any old product, it takes time to find the right machines, suppliers and flavors to make sure we produce the product exactly as you remember it. We’re at least about three months behind now.  We currently don’t have a timeframe for it’s release but we hope it will be soon”

    YAAAAAY! Can’t wait smile
    I’m so excited!!!!!!!

    Comment by Greek Princess on 9/16/14 at 10:52 am #
  58. I want to buy bonker candy. That is the best candy ever. I remember when I was young I ate them all the time. Please can I find some were to buy them. Thanks Jennifer

    Comment by Jennifer Winningham on 12/25/14 at 7:19 pm #
  59. I miss BONKERS! should I say it again? I am bonkers for BONKERS!!!! what I’d give for just one!!!! it was indeed the BEST candy by far!!!! and I hav tried many candies just hoping for that tast and texture to take me ... back.

    Comment by careyb on 3/21/15 at 6:29 pm #
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