Thursday, April 19, 2007


Starbursts were one of those candies that simply appeared from nowhere and filled an aching void in my being that I never knew existed. They were chews, like Now & Laters, only they were actually chewy.


I didn’t know that they were road tested in Europe as Opal Fruits since 1960. They were introduced in the US in 1976, just as I was getting a regular allowance and permission to walk down to the convenience store with my sister. Though vaguely similar in format to Now & Laters, the soft chew and salivary-gland tingling tartness set them apart.

imageStarbursts are great for kids, I can say this authoritatively because that’s what I thought when I was one. They’re individually wrapped, have an array of flavors and the long narrow package looks like it has a lot of candy in it. It promotes sharing and portion control. And they’re brightly colored. The bright wax wrappers can also be folded into chains. (I never went this far though.)

The original flavors were orange, lemon, lime and strawberry but at some point lime was out and cherry was in. I wasn’t that fond of lime, but my dislike for cherry is well-known. The packages contain 12 chews.

Orange - super tangy and then mellows into a pleasant zesty chew.
Lemon - always reminds me of those little cups of Italian ice we’d eat in the summer. Sour and juicy and then sweet and chewy.
Strawberry - tart and sweet, it really doesn’t taste much like real strawberries, but it’s one of the few “red” candies that I actually enjoy.
Cherry - a pretty cherry tasting cherry chew, sharp and with that woodsy cherry flavor in there. I always got points with my friends because this would be the first Starburst I would offer out.

As I was preparing this review and photographing the candies I was surprised that there were three of each flavor. I could have sworn that they were random and sometimes I was getting far too many cherries.

Starburst actually have real fruit juice in them as well as 50% of your RDA of Vitamin C. They also (in the States) have gelatin in them, so they’re not suitable for vegetarians and not certified Kosher. I’ve heard that the European versions of Starburst don’t have gelatin, so I’m curious if the texture is any different.

Other Starburst varieties:
Starburst Sours
Starburst Icy Bursts (Limited Edition)
Starburst Fruit & Creme
Starburst Berries & Creme
Starburst Tropical
Starburst Baja California
Starburst Retro (I haven’t found these yet)

Other Starburst products: Starburst Jelly Beans and Starburst Chew Pops

Name: Starburst
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Mars
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (3rd & Fairfax)
Price: $.69
Size: 2.07 ounces
Calories per ounce: 120
Categories: Chew, United States, Mars, Starburst

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:28 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. starburst are definitely in my top 10 all time favorite candies. the fruit and cream ones are good, but the originals are the best in my book

    Comment by mel on 4/19/07 at 6:38 am #
  2. Ah, I too love Starbursts! Who doesn’t? I didn’t know about the gelatin and not being kosher, that’s kinda bad for me. Well… I’ll decide if I want to have some again, but I’ll reminisce about them now. I like to mostly let them dissolve in my mouth, but I also like to slowly squish them between my teeth, then quickly pull my teeth apart. An excellent way to pull out fillings.

    Comment by Kai on 4/19/07 at 7:34 am #
  3. Berries and cream!  Berries and cream!  I’m a little lad who loves berries and cream!

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.  That commercial makes me laugh every time I see it.  smile

    And I just had to look up the flavors for Starburst Baja California.  Aztec Punch, Limon, Strawberry/Watermelon, and Dragonfruit.  Punch, lemon, strawberry…why did they bother, really?

    Comment by Lesley on 4/19/07 at 7:57 am #
  4. I don’t like Starburst much, but then again there’s probably a difference between the UK and US flavours. I thought I’d get a mention from you here, Cybele, for shame!

    Comment by Terry on 4/19/07 at 8:53 am #
  5. Also I think it’s a little unfair to say they were road tested in Europe. They were a staple confectionary (and still are) at that point for 16 years, that’s hardly a road test.

    Comment by Terry on 4/19/07 at 8:54 am #
  6. In EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES, the best-selling grammar book, the author talks about her regret that Starburst dropped the original name of her favorite candy, which was “Opal Fruits.” It’s possible that they were in Europe much longer than 16 years, unless I’m mistaken.

    Comment by DanielK on 4/19/07 at 11:28 am #
  7. Starburst have come evenly distributed for at least as far back as I can remember (mid-80s-ish). Being an obsessive color-sorting eater, I paid attention to this, because not only are they evenly divided in flavors, they always go in the exact same order (at least within a given bar).

    Things like this matter when you eat the orange only so you can look forward to the cherry in exactly three candies.

    Comment by Fluffernutter on 4/19/07 at 12:02 pm #
  8. Ah yes, the gelatin. Luckily I ate a huge bag of these before I read the ingredients. Well, one can only hope they take it out.

    Comment by B.J. on 4/19/07 at 12:18 pm #
  9. Strawberry Starburst are among the finest candies ever created.  I’m more than willing to share any of the other candies, though I will eat lemon and orange if I’m desperate enough.  I refuse to eat cherry Starburst as they taste exactly like Robitussin.  I think my dislike of all things cherry may come from these horrid little red things.  I’ve been known to pick every single strawberry Starburst out of a bulk bin at mall candy stores.  I’ve never found them to be evenly distributed in the packages.  You’re right about there always being far too many cherry.

    Comment by Erin on 4/19/07 at 12:55 pm #
  10. I LOVE Starburst! It was favorite candy (still is) of mine as a kid. I always got friendship points for taking everyone’s lemon pieces, the least popular flavor in my social circle.

    I also love the Baja California and Tropical flavors. Yum! I wonder what “Reto” flavors are? Hmmm.

    Comment by Sera on 4/19/07 at 5:11 pm #
  11. I’m pretty sure they used to be randomized, too… they standardized the number of colors a few years back.  More recently, they’ve made the actual candies smaller, but they still have the same number.  I’m still sore about it.  Starburst have been one of my favorite candies for as long as I can remember, I definitely didn’t like the “baja california” flavour set, though!  The blue ones were nasty.

    Comment by Sara on 4/19/07 at 9:16 pm #
  12. Am I crazy or didn’t the original at one point also contain grape and pineapple? Because I remember them being REALLY good.

    Comment by Jamie on 4/20/07 at 5:30 am #
  13. Wow…all the hate on the Baja ones. I think it might be my favorite!

    Comment by Mrs. Jones on 4/20/07 at 7:07 am #
  14. Cybele's avatar

    mel - I’m in complete agreement (well, so far, I haven’t had the Baja yet).

    Mrs. Jones - I’m reserving judgement on Baja ... limon sounds right up my alley.

    Terry - I’m not done with my series yet.

    Jamie - You might be thinking of Laffy Taffy or possibly Mambas (which definitely used to come in Pineapple, but I don’t think Grape).

    Sara - I’ll have to check on the shrinking of the candies. It seems that way to me too.

    Sera - Retro goes like this: melon, mango, berry & lime ... sounds earth shattering, eh?

    Erin - I should just follow after you at the bulk bins! Then I’d only have to pick out the cherry ones!

    BJ - I don’t think there’s much as it’s after the oil, which the package lists as 0 grams of fat.

    Fluffernutter - I never noticed the ordering! I always knew how it worked with Lifesavers though.

    DanielK - I’ll have to dig out my copy of the book!

    Lesley - see today’s review with youtube links and everything for the Berries & Creme!

    Kai - I’ll check on the UK versions to see if they’re Kosher (no gelatin the last time I heard though).

    Comment by Cybele on 4/20/07 at 11:51 am #
  15. The UK ones have the same texture as the US ones but the flavours are subtly different (the ones that cross over). I prefer the uk selection for the standard flavours but the US has the cooler alt. versions.

    Comment by newmiyamoto on 4/21/07 at 12:39 pm #
  16. For those loving Starburst but disturbed by the gelatin for religious or vegetarian reasons (or anything else), there’s hope: if you buy the candy in Europe (I’ve only seen it in the UK so far) it has no gelatin (and also features Blackcurrant flavor). The same goes for Skittles and Mentos (both of which I believe had gelatin in them in America last I checked), though those are available everywhere.

    Comment by Adam on 4/24/07 at 12:09 am #
  17. thanks for the link! smile that made me happy.

    Comment by Sam on 5/06/07 at 7:48 am #
  18. what kind of gelatine do they use?

    Comment by maahnur on 8/24/07 at 5:10 pm #
  19. gelatin is pigbones….almost always.  even the kosher kind can be, b/c rabbinical regulations don’t consider the bone/marrow of the swine to actually be the same as the flesh.  sometimes it can be cow or fishbones, but there’s pretty much no way to tell, so you have to take a company’s word for it, & 9 times out the 10, they won’t even know what kind of gelatin they’re using.

    sorry to make it sound so ominous, but it’s true.  it’s a shame, cuz some of the best candies have gelatin.  for now though, i’ll be importing my starbursts, thanks.

    Comment by bup! on 10/04/07 at 11:51 am #
  20. all arabic people starburst is made out of galetin.

    Comment by maher alsawaf on 11/04/07 at 6:14 am #
  21. (ASA)—Bro. Maher Arabic people are not the only group of us that is concerned about the pork gelatin in Starbursts.  I am a Muslimah and I am very much concerned about any type of pig by products in my food.  I am just glad my daugher mentioned it me before I opened the candies to eat them.  There are other religious groups as well as vegetarians who are concerned about the gelatin.

    Now where can I purchase the ones from the UK with no gelatin here in the states??

    Comment by Zaafirah on 1/31/08 at 9:10 am #
  22. does anyone know what kind of gelatin starburst uses? vegetable or pork. i love the candy but i dont eat any pork products

    Comment by luis on 3/28/08 at 3:15 am #
  23. The source of gelatin according to the company is beef.  I called the number provided on the back of the packaging and a recorded message in their phone tree said all their products (including Skittles)containing gelatin are derived only from beef.  Call it yourself for verification.  My kids were buying Skittles at their school (which is an Islamic school) so I had hoped they weren’t made with pork gelatin.

    Comment by Jamil on 5/15/08 at 11:30 am #
  24. Jamil, while the gelatin contained in Starbursts maybe made from beef, I am still not totally satisfied.  You see I only eat halal meats.  So even though it is beef gelatin—if it is not halal I still choose not to eat it.  A word to the wise should be sufficient.

    Comment by Zaafirah on 5/15/08 at 7:25 pm #
  25. Hey guys,  I have a question.  I have been trying to find out if starburst sells bags of just one flavor at a time.  I’m tired of being left with nothing but yellow and a couple of oranges after my bro gets done picking out his favorites!  Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Comment by sam on 5/23/08 at 10:29 am #
  26. Cybele's avatar

    Sam - no, though you can buy Starburst in bulk bins sometimes, you can’t just buy a single flavor. (Which is odd, because you can buy single color M&Ms;... and they don’t even taste different!)

    Comment by Cybele on 5/23/08 at 10:33 am #
  27. i love starbursts yummmm

    Comment by Briley on 5/26/08 at 3:29 pm #
  28. im talking about like what can you make it out of for an example a candy train what can you do with starburst.

    Comment by someone on 7/16/08 at 7:43 am #
  29. but is da beef gelatin kosher????????????

    Comment by Anne on 7/22/08 at 2:15 pm #
  30. Cybele's avatar

    Anne - no, Starburst aren’t Kosher as I mentioned at the end of the review. (I have a tagging system here on Candy Blog and if a candy is certified kosher, I’ll tell you.)

    Comment by Cybele on 7/22/08 at 2:24 pm #
  31. wow u guys dont have a life im doin this for a project

    Comment by sad on 11/17/08 at 4:03 pm #
  32. My wife swears that there was an elusive “all strawberry” pack of Starburst in the early eighties. Can anyone confirm or deny this rumor?

    Comment by Aaron on 11/20/08 at 3:42 pm #
  33. Does anyone know where can I buy bags of ONLY cherry starbursts????

    Comment by Cherry me on 12/07/08 at 4:01 pm #
  34. Hello Aaron,

    Your wife is not making that up there was a all strawberry pack.  It was delicious.  I wish they still made it.


    Comment by Kim on 2/19/09 at 2:35 pm #
  35. does anyone remember the pack of starbursts that had the fruit punch and there was also like a light green one in there too? sorry im so vague i just barely remember them.

    Comment by amber on 4/22/09 at 4:01 pm #
  36. I agree that the original fruits are the best, but I’m an overall Starburst fan. I miss the hard candies, because they were the cheap alternative to getting a smooth hard candy with no air bubbles. I also miss the Starburst pops. I really wish they could bring those back.

    Growing up, Starburst always had that “coolness” factor to them. In my school, they were the things the “cool” kids ate - all throughout elementary school to high school. Though it sounds gross, people loved to try to remove the wrapper in their mouths, sort of like tying a cherry stem in your mouth (though the latter is more impressive in my opinion). Oh, and I admit that I was one of those chain makers. I think the sour and Baja (though Baja’s not my favorite) packs made the coolest looking chains.

    Comment by Rae on 4/26/09 at 2:08 pm #
  37. I like the tast of starburst but i want to know the gelatin is it from animal or plant

    Comment by amna on 5/22/09 at 11:45 pm #
  38. Cybele's avatar

    amna - there really isn’t such a thing as plant gelatin (it’s usually called something else like agar agar). Yes, Starburst use an animal gelatin and are unsuitable for vegetarians as I stated at the end of the review.

    Comment by Cybele on 5/23/09 at 10:59 am #
  39. hi guys i am a muslim and i just love starburst i stopped eating it cuz i heard it had gelatin my friend told me they use beef gelatin but when i called the company they told me they use a diff kind of gelatin im confused can anybody tell me whats going on im sooooo into starburst please tell me the truth.

    Comment by tasneem on 8/03/09 at 5:47 pm #
  40. Cybele's avatar

    tasneem - you owe it to yourself to find out straight from the source. Contact Mars and ask them for yourself.

    Contact Starburst.

    Just a note - Skittles are going gelatin-free, just be sure to read the label.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/03/09 at 6:35 pm #
  41. ok thx cybel!!!

    Comment by tasneem on 8/04/09 at 10:04 am #
  42. hi guys i’ve been eating mentos for years but somebody told me they have gelatin does anybody know what kind of gelatin they use i dont eat pork gelatin so somebody please tell me

    Comment by derek on 8/04/09 at 10:06 am #
  43. Cybele's avatar

    derek- as mentioned, please check with the company that makes them and the package to be sure of the origin of the ingredients. Mentos is a global brand. If you get Mentos made in Indonesia they are Halal, if you get Mentos made in Israel, they are Kosher. If you get Mentos made in the Netherlands, they do not state the source of the gelatin, so assume that they are pork-sourced. Lately, however, Mentos has been switching over to an alternate ingredient called “gellan gum” which is vegetarian and safe for all who are concerned with eating animals.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/04/09 at 12:01 pm #
  44. pls tell me wat the ingredience are because in kneed it 4 a skewl project that is jew on the 28th of august so pls tell me

    Comment by von on 8/11/09 at 9:58 pm #
  45. Anybody remember that totally cool commercial with (I think) Geoffrey Holder (the voodoo guy from Live and Let Die)?  He says, “Starburst, chilren, are made to make your mouth waterrrrr!”

    Best candy ever with the best commercials.

    Comment by John on 11/10/09 at 11:36 am #
  46. Starburst was one of my favorite candies-on top of not being vegetarian friendly, it also isn’t gluten free:(-modified food starch will get you every time-eat as many as possible for those of us who can’t any more!

    Comment by Samantha Nisula on 11/19/09 at 5:25 pm #
  47. Cybele's avatar

    Samantha - keep an eye on the packages. Starburst & Skittles went gluten free recently.

    Comment by Cybele on 11/20/09 at 8:15 am #
  48. I just read up on the subject of one of my favorite treats-your response was exciting.  I am now worried as to how old the candy I bought and gave out for Halloween was-suspicious of Costco and that bag of candy I bought days before hand.  The package didn’t say gluten free and it had the dangerous modified food starch in the ingredient list.  But this info is very exciting.  It was fascinating in my search about my favorite candy to find out that modified food starch is hotly debated in Celiac land-some say stay away and others say it is fine, hmmmm.  Candy an be a wonderful thing:)

    Comment by Samantha Nisula on 12/30/09 at 6:43 am #
  49. hi my name is Ellie and when i discover starburst it was when my sister pointed it out and it said free starburst i was like cool i want to taste it so i did i was the first one in the family to taste it so everyone started to to say how is or is it good and i am like it it it taste amazing that is the story how starburst became my favorite candy oh did i mention i was chewing a starburst while i was making this!!!!!!

    Comment by Ellie on 1/05/10 at 10:52 am #
  50. Does anyone remember there was a pack in the 90’s that had a blue wrapper and California flavors? it was NOT Baja California but I would kill to find out what it was and if I can still purchase them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by L on 4/26/10 at 12:50 am #
  51. Does anyone know remember the Starburst that was shaped like an Airhead that was individually wrapped and individually sold. Like a flattened Starburst. I only remember the cherry flavor, but there may have been all the flavors.. I’m not sure. If anyone could tell me what they were called that would be fantastic!!

    Comment by Sarah on 5/01/10 at 5:27 pm #
  52. Hello,
    I am so disapointed about how many strawberrys are put in the bags. It is the only flavor I like and the only reason I but them at all. I count how many are in there I counted 6 in one bag but many yellow and cherry Yuck!! Please be more generous with the pinks. Concerned consumer!!!!

    Comment by Terri Desmarais on 5/26/10 at 5:15 am #
  53. Someone PLEASE answer comment number 51!! I love those flattened “airhead style” starburst and would kill for a box of them!!

    Comment by Chris on 6/02/10 at 2:29 pm #
  54. i have myself a packet of the retro starbursts (I think) its a blu oceanlike cover with the flavors of Strawberry watermelon (red), Lemon Limeade (green), banana (yellow), and cherry blast (redder). Oddly enough cherry blast tastes better than cherry, i 2 hate cherry but this one is great GL finding it!

    Comment by Raffi on 9/06/10 at 8:22 pm #
  55. I eat my Starburst candies one at a time in this order:
    lemon, orange, strawberry, cherry smile

    Comment by horlchoo on 10/18/10 at 4:41 am #
  56. ... and I eat surplus supplies of each first until all are an even amount. I must always finish with Cherry though!

    Comment by horlchoo on 10/18/10 at 4:42 am #
  57. can any one give me the phone number that i can call to see if the Starburst have Beef Gelatin or Pork one plz

    Comment by Dark on 10/25/10 at 2:32 am #
  58. Does anyone remember them being called Tutie Fruties before changing to Starburst?

    Comment by JG on 11/05/10 at 10:26 am #
  59. I squish four (one of each color together) then munch on it. I remember the lime ones, and loved them. smile

    Comment by Laura on 2/23/11 at 12:43 pm #
  60. dose starburst gummies have gelitin pork in it????

    Comment by ana on 3/06/11 at 6:16 pm #
  61. Opal Fruits were introduced as Starburst into the US in 1967, not 1976 according to Wikipaedia.  As for the “road test”, 7 years is a long time for one of those.  I too, as an English citizen, take offence at that remark!

    Pity the original name wasn’t kept - but like a lot of names, sadly *silly* seems to have prevailed; another daft name change being “snickers”.

    Comment by Lottie on 3/12/11 at 5:58 am #
  62. My favorite flavors in order are:

    Comment by Lee Scott on 9/05/11 at 1:04 am #
  63. John - Yes I do remember the TV ad with Geoffrey Holder in it.

    And yes, he was one of the henchmen in “Live and Let Die” and also was Punjab from the movie “Annie”.

    And yes, you can even watch the commercial now on YouTube.

    Annnd yes, I never liked the cherry flavored Starbursts either!

    Comment by Brian of Nazareth on 2/28/12 at 11:52 am #
  64. So I’m making a starburst dress and I’d really like to know a phone number for the Mars company. My prom is a little over a month away and I need thousands of more starburst wrappers.  :( If you know a way to help please let me know!

    Comment by Debbie on 3/04/12 at 11:54 am #
  65. Yah sorry about that by the way are starbursts gelatin????

    Comment by Poop on 3/19/12 at 5:55 pm #
  66. Sooo, they switched and no longer use gelatin, according to the updates kindly provided by Cybele. However, if you resist chewing one, and let it melt down, you’ll most often find a hard waxy small pellet in the middle of the fruit chew. Any idea as to what this is?? It’s the search for this that led me here…

    Comment by Zed the Dead on 8/23/12 at 1:47 pm #
  67. Bring back the lime and drop the cherry. I hate the cherry flavor starburst. Lime was far better than that.

    Starburst is my favorite candy and has been since they first came out in the US.

    Comment by Rook on 9/04/12 at 12:30 pm #
  68. Starburst candy was available in the US in the early 60’s when I was a kid. My grandmother had a floral shop and when we visited her we would walk down the street to a drugstore and buy it. Maybe it was imported but it was here in the US before 1976.

    Comment by M in California on 2/17/13 at 10:15 pm #
  69. Hi - I have some quick questions as I am writing a report for my marketing class on none other than starburst! (which by the way, I love, so this is not a hard project to have to work on!)

    Where are your sources for starburst having 50% of your Vitamin C intake (I think this is a great unique selling point and would love to use it in my ideas) and also, when did they become glutin free?

    Thanks for the help!

    Comment by Denise on 3/05/13 at 6:22 pm #
  70. I really hate their cherry flavor. Can starburst just leave their tropical alone without the cherry flavor? Tropical had been my favorite until recently they put the cherry in. so disappointed.

    Comment by susie altas on 3/30/13 at 4:07 pm #
  71. I remember when I was a kid (in the 60s) just LOVING Starburst - especially the lime flavor. Then they replaced it with Cherry. I do love the cherry flavor (sorry - I know a lot of people don’t) but I do wish they hadn’t dropped Lime. Its so difficult to find good lime-flavored chewy candy. (any tips anyone??) It would be great if Starburst offered more Lime. (the Baja California flavor had one called “Limon”) And thanks for the review on the Flavor Morph Starbursts - since there’s one that has a slight lime flavor. (too bad they don’t have any single-flavor packs - I’d buy a ton of Lime if they offered it)

    Comment by Ro on 6/23/13 at 1:15 am #
  72. My sister and I often talk about that all strawberry pack in the 80’s. sometimes we are curious if we are remembering incorrectly because we can find no evidence it existed and we were so young at the time. We definitely both remember it. They should offer that again even if it is just a once a year thing.

    Comment by Magpie142 on 7/11/13 at 6:56 am #
  73. I see lots of people asking where you can buy ONLY red starburst and such, if course! Check reviews before you buy! Here is a link for the reds!

    Comment by kimmi on 1/26/15 at 2:12 pm #
  74. I just got a pack of starburst and there are supposed to be 4 of each color and it only gave me 3 red….. this is BS!!!!! I hate all of you and I hope you all go to hell!

    Comment by BabyJesus23 on 12/12/16 at 5:10 am #
  75. @BabyJesus23 I’m telling Mary you were mean on the internet.

    Comment by Dante on 2/28/17 at 6:32 am #
  76. Can one eat two year old starburst?

    Comment by Bariah on 4/22/17 at 5:14 pm #
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