Friday, May 12, 2006

Giant Pixy Stix

This isn’t so much a review as a rewind. I’ve had Pixy Stix plenty of times before. I’ve been eating them for so long I don’t even remember when I first tried them.

Wonka Giant Pixy Stix

My earliest memory of the Giant Pixy Stix was at Little Buffalo State Park in Pennsylvania. We went up there for the day for swimming and general summer amusement with another family who lived in the area. They had an awesome array of swimming pools. At some point we were given quarters and allowed to go to the snack bar where I bought the most amazing thing I’d ever seen - a Pixy Stix that might have been as tall as me (I was probably about six at the time and a tiny thing at that). Okay, maybe it wasn’t that big, but it seemed huge to me. It was grape.

It seems that Giant Pixy Stix are sold at swimming pool snack bars, because later when we moved back to Mechanicsburg, we had summer passes at the public pool and they had them there too. There’s something about chlorine that makes me crave fake grape and pure sugar.

Here’s a little history of the Pixy Stix:

imagePixy Stix used to be made by Sunline which started in 1952 in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Pixy Stix started out as an accident really, with kids driving the development of the product. Originally it was a drink mix in the late 30s, sold as Frutola, but J. Fish Smith found that kids were eating the sweet & sour powder right from the package. He shifted the name to Fruzola and added a spoon. Later it was repackaged with a dipping candy stick as Lik-m-Aid and also sold in little straws ... Pixy Stix. It wasn’t until parents complained about the grainy, sticky powder that Sunline came up with a compressed tablet form, the SweeTart in 1963.

Sunline was sold to Roundtree Mackintosh of the UK, which was then bought by Nestle. Nestle maintained the Sunline brand for a while and only recently has rolled the SweeTarts, Pixy Stix and Lik-m-Aid into the Wonka brand, which already had a strong line of sugar candy, such as Tart ‘n Tiny, Nerds and Runts.

So, you’re wondering about the Giant Pixy Stix? I did my due-diligence research and can tell you that a Giant Pixy Stix has slightly more than three tablespoons of candy powder in it which weighs in at one ounce. The Giant Pixy Stix are approximately 21 inches tall. (They might have been taller when I was a kid.)

The most frustrating thing about them is that they’re hard to open. The traditional Pixy Stix is a paper straw and can be torn open, or unfolded. The Giant Pixy Stix are thick, flexible plastic and cannot be torn. I recall at the pool that they would snip it open for me, but there were times that I ended up just gnawing off the top.

Giant Pixy Stix currently come in four flavors: grape, Maui punch, cherry, and orange. The regular Pixy Stix also come in green apple (which used to be lime but was changed in 2001). The primary ingredient in Pixy Stix, not surprisingly, is dextrose. Dextrose is just a fancy way of saying glucose, which is a mono-saccharide. Dextrose is generally made from vegetable starches (corn syrup). Sucrose is what’s makes up cane and beet sugar - it’s a di-saccharide (it’s made up of two molecules - one of fructose and one of glucose). It has a slightly different mouth feel. Some folks can actually tell the difference between fructose, dextrose and sucrose. Often you can feel the “cool” feeling of dextrose on the tongue.

So how do they taste? Well, if you’ve never had a Pixy Stix (and I met someone on Tuesday night who hadn’t) it’s rather like eating unprepared Jell-O or drink mix. It’s sweet and cool on the tongue, with a tart bite and some flaky, grainy bits that seem to linger a little longer. There’s not much flavor, but enough to be able to tell the difference, especially if you inhale the dust (not like snorting it, you know what I mean).

I don’t eat Pixy Stix very often anymore; because of that dextrose thing they do go straight into the bloodstream and can cause pretty severe blood sugar crashes on an empty stomach to those of us who are sensitive to such things. But last night I responsibly had a nice, high protein dinner, and then ate my three tablespoons of Pixy dust out of the measuring cup. Yes, I just stuck my tongue in there. Yes, eventually my tongue had acid burns, but I kept eating. Yes, eventually I got a rather sour stomach, but I kept eating. I love my Pixy Stix. It’s a good thing I don’t buy them that often.

In the future, I think I’ll stick to the regular paper straw ones. A little easier on the portion control. But I loved it when Pixy Stix were bigger than life.

(Pixy Stix Box photo from

Name: Giant Pixy Stix (Grape)
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Wonka (Nestle)
Place Purchased: sample from CandyWarehouse
Price: $.50 each when purchasing box
Size: 1 ounce
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: United States, Nestle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:46 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. wait, pixie stix and sweetarts are the exact same thing in different forms??!!

    Comment by Rachel B. on 5/12/06 at 8:42 am #
  2. yeah I didn’t know that either…I always thought they were all different candy as kid. ...They are such a strong reminder of my childhood…love the grape ones still. Thanks Cybelle!!

    Comment by Amy on 5/12/06 at 9:28 am #
  3. Our pool snack bar also sold Ferrara Pan Jawbreakers and Boston Baked Beans.  I’m laughing picturing a little girl gnawing through plastic to get to candy.

    Comment by Julilla on 5/12/06 at 9:36 am #
  4. beautiful! thanks for reviewing that. smile i loooove pixy stix. mmmm. and the pool thing is funny. when i was on the swim team as a kid, they had us eat jello powder out of the box for energy at the swim meets. so weird sugar powder reminds me of being at the pool too!

    at my wedding, we had a candy buffet with pixy stix, among other candies we love (hot tamales, sour cherry balls, smarties, etc. mmmmm!)

    Comment by Pam on 5/12/06 at 9:39 am #
  5. I, too, remember the Pixie sticks from the pool. I seem to recall that we managed to melt the plastic in the charcoal BBQ. First the sugar, then the fumes, not a healthy food. But, tasty!

    Comment by Amy on 5/12/06 at 9:50 am #
  6. You’re a glutton for punishment, dear Cybele!

    Mmmmmm. Sucking on the paper straw when the candy was all gone….. Mmmm. I can’t imagine Pixy Stix without the taste of the paper.

    Mmmmmm. Eatin’ at the pool snack bar. Summer!

    Remember those dotted candies that were lined up on strips of wax paper? What were they called? Are they still made?

    Can you review rootbeer Fizzies next?

    Comment by desertwind on 5/12/06 at 11:19 am #
  7. I’ve had a few pixie sticks, but never heard of the Giant ones until now.

    Comment by Russ on 5/12/06 at 11:33 am #
  8. ooh.. they’re yummy~ i used to have them as a kid but i stayed away from the giant ones.. i don’t think i’ll be able to handle it.. haha~:)

    Comment by Eunice on 5/12/06 at 1:17 pm #
  9. I love pixie sticks… or at least I did as a kid. Once I drove to NYC and had pixie sticks and mountain dew for nourishment during the drive. Good times.

    Comment by g on 5/12/06 at 2:06 pm #
  10. man, this was a great rewind post… I totally remember eating the paper straw pixie sticks.  I seem to actually remember a trick to get the pixie dust out of the paper. You bite down gently with your front teeth about an inch up the stick, but don’t let any part of your mouth that is wet touch the paper.  Then pull the stick outwards and the dust goes into your mouth. Tear off the inch of empty paper and repeat…

    Comment by Bryan on 5/12/06 at 2:23 pm #
  11. My first Pixie Sticks came from the canteen at a family camp that we went to when I was about 4.  We would buy them and… go to the POOL!  Pixies and swimming.  It makes such sense - a perfect candy for eating in the sun.  LOVE them - but had no idea of the Sweet Tart/Lik-em-Aid,etc. connection.
    Oh, the tangy tart sugar filling the gap between my cheek and gum.  Oh, the canker sores.  Delicious, sweet sugar.  Orange was my favorite. 

    Another all-time favorite that I didn’t even realize was a favorite until your great review.  Thanks!

    Comment by Joanna on 5/13/06 at 7:51 am #
  12. we used to take red licorice, which is hollow, bite off the end and pour the pixy stix powder in it and eat it together.
    love your site,. oh how i miss bonomo’s turkish taffy, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana!

    Comment by devildoggie on 5/13/06 at 3:41 pm #
  13. My first experience with Giant Pixie Stix was on a bus ride home from West Virginia with my grandmother and sister some 27 or so years ago (I’m pretty sure).  The bus station had comics and candy fit for a little sugar freak like I was at the time.  I really don’t think I ever had another.  It was just too much.  Even for me.

    I swear they were almost 3 feet long back then.  At least that’s how my seven year old eyes saw it.

    Comment by william on 5/13/06 at 4:09 pm #
  14. Cybele's avatar

    devildoggie - you win the prize for most innovative candy mashup! (I guess those SweeTarts Rope are kind of like a prepackaged version of that, but yours sounds better.)

    william - I’m glad I’m not the only one to think that they were so big ... I doubt they were larger, but they certainly seemed that way.

    Joanna - seems that Pixies should come with some sort of label to warn against acid burns!

    Bryan - I never tried that but it makes so much sense!

    Russ - I can fix you up!

    g - holy moly! you must have been vibrating on an entirely diffrent wavelength than the rest of the world by the time you got there.

    Eunice - yeah, stick to the small ones, especially if you like variety.

    desertwind - Candy Buttons! They’re made by Necco now (and they make different color varieties for holidays).

    I should find some fizzies.

    Julilla - jawbreakers and gnawing through plastic, it’s a wonder I still have teeth!

    Amy #1- yeah, that grape smell just sends me back to when I was 9.

    Amy #2 - as if the carcinogens of the artificial dyes weren’t bad enough, we had to add burnt plastic to it. (For the record, the Amy in comment #5 is my sister)

    Comment by Cybele on 5/15/06 at 11:39 am #
  15. this is general praise for a really entertaining blog.  i place it in this location because of your reference to mechanicsburg, pa.  homegirl!! 
    anyway, due to your diligent research, i have been trying some of your reviewed candies that i might not have tasted before.  i disagree with some of your reviews, but not in an argumentative way.  different strokes…
    i, too, miss bonomo turkish taffy.
    didn’t it once feature “the archie gang” on the packaging?

    Comment by anne on 5/19/06 at 5:02 am #
  16. Wow I love these things and when I can’t find them(the giant ones that is),which is often,I head for the sweetarts and crush them up.  Do your remember the giant sweetart, similar to the giant double stuff oreos they used to make. 
    grin  Nostalgic candy brings back those memeories of summers when kids actually went outside to play until the street lights came on.  Do you remember the little wax bottles with the liquids inside and candy cigarettes?

    Comment by Ryssa on 7/20/06 at 5:35 am #
  17. I live in Australia. I used to LOVE the small pixy stix which I would buy from the big supermarket chains such as ‘Coles’ and ‘Safeway’. Sadly, those companies only want to sell stuff that rakes in profit, and the pixy stix were probably too cheap for them or something, so they stopped selling them.  I’m searching high and low, can anyone please refer me to a place I can buy any form of pixy stix?

    Thanks. wink

    Comment by Paul on 1/22/07 at 12:18 am #
  18. Thank you for your review.I have to say Ive been VERY dissapointed with all these candy companies that keep changing their lime flavors to green apple.Lime has always been my favorite flavor and I hate to see it disappearing.Skittles and Life Savers both tried it and went back to lime.I was happy about that but other companies are staying with the nasty green apple.I came here trying to find lime pixie stix and now I see they too have went with green apple.Thats just terrible.Thank you.At least I know now I can stop my lime search.LOL.Take care

    Comment by Beth on 2/22/07 at 6:30 am #
  19. How many pixy stix are eaten each day or year, for that matter? Any way to find out?

    Comment by Glenn on 9/10/07 at 8:35 am #
  20. Cybele's avatar

    Glenn - I think the best way to find out would be to contact Nestle?s directly.

    They can probably only tell you how many are produced, I?m not sure if they know if people actually consume them.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/10/07 at 8:37 am #
  21. Just thought I would let you know that I buy these giant pixy stix at Sam’s Club each year around halloween to pass out to the kids.  50 to a box for about 9.88….....that should be enough to send you into a sugar rush!!  Good luck!!

    Comment by Pam on 10/30/07 at 4:18 pm #
  22. omg thay are so good.

    Comment by heather on 11/19/07 at 5:14 am #
  23. I got some pixy stix.  They say 7208514424 on the side.  What does 7208514424 mean?

    Comment by Richard on 12/10/07 at 10:29 am #
  24. pixy stix are my all time favorite candy! the orange ones are the best!!!!

    Comment by candygirl on 7/24/08 at 2:12 pm #
  25. I forgot all about Pixy Stix until I saw them in Dollar Tree along side the Razzles candy gum. They taste the same as I remember, but the paper straws seem smaller, and where’s the green ones? I will have to head back to Dollar Tree because I just polished off the last few straws I had while sitting here at my computer reading everyone’s posts. Yes, I got some spilled on my keyboard and on my shirt!

    Comment by Diane D. on 9/30/08 at 9:32 am #
  26. Nestle laid off close to 400 workers n the affton-st. louis mo area. There are news articles about.
    Fun dip was also manufactured there as well as sprees and sweettarts. Some production went to the chicago area some to pissa mexico.

    Comment by laid off worker on 10/18/08 at 5:13 am #
  27. Oh my god, I love pixy stix (and Fund Dip for that matter) There is just something addictive about that brightly colored powder.
    And according to some sources (friends) it burns when snorted (though why one would want to snort it is anyone’s guess).

    Comment by Sara Em on 10/28/08 at 8:58 pm #
  28. We give these out every Halloween (like tonight!) and the kids LOVE them!  I’m not a Pixy Stix fan but I’ve figured out that kids love anything BIG.  It’s been funny, though, how many adults ask (or hint) that they’d like a Pixy Stick, too!  We always give them one.  I may have to find something else, though…some other woman is trying to steal my thunder by giving them out now, too (she needs to get her own idea- this really peeves me!) so I may switch.  Hmmm…the giant licorice ropes are 3 feet long!! smile

    Comment by Susie on 10/31/08 at 4:30 pm #
  29. i love your candy it is the beast candy i have ever tasted!

    Comment by cienna on 1/13/09 at 11:27 am #
  30. I’m usually not a big fan of grape, but Pixy Stix’s grape was very tart but in a pleasant way. My mother usually doesn’t let me get them because she says “they’re just sugar”, but she lets me get Sweet Tarts. XD Isn’t that ironic?
    So I just get my Pixy Stixes at school.

    Comment by Jen on 3/19/09 at 5:52 pm #
  31. Thank you for the advice cybele. It seems that 900 million pixy stix sell each year. Now, for Honeystix and Fantastix!!!

    Comment by glenn on 3/19/09 at 9:25 pm #
  32. I looooove pixy stix! [and yes, it DOES burn when snorted]
    I can’t seem to find any stores nearby that sell them though, the small OR the giant ones :[

    *tear* i wish i had one right now!

    Comment by megan on 5/06/09 at 4:01 pm #
  33. I worked for the Sunline Brands company when Menlo Smith owned the company. All 3 St. Louis divisions were like family. We hated it when he sold us-we missed his heart and concern for his employees. Pixy Stix were initially made buy pouring the Pixy Stix ‘dust’ into the straws by hand with spoons. That was before the machines took over! The GIANT PIXY STIX were made on a experimental piece of equipment that remained the only piece of equipment that ever made the straws till Nestles took the process to Mexico.

    Comment by sandy on 3/07/10 at 1:17 pm #
  34. omg i want one of those some one want to get me one i would really like that jk i really want one of those I NEED ONE OF THOSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by joann on 11/30/11 at 11:14 am #
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