This article brings you into the world of Mike and Ike candies. Here we explore the details of this candy brand that came out during World War II and has become a mainstay down candy aisles in the U.S.
Beyond the fantastic flavors that make it a favorite, we’ll take a closer look at the candy’s interesting history, the quirky commercials that caught our attention, and the fascinating process of how these iconic treats are made, among other topics.
Be sure to vote for your favorite Mike and Ike flavor in our poll! Let’s get into the details of this classic candy brand.
Appearance & Taste
Original Mike and Ikes
Let’s briefly discuss the appearance and taste of Mike and Ikes for the people who are new to this candy.
The candies feature a pill or bullet-like shape that are designed to be chewed. Each piece is a bit over 3/4 of an inch long and colors vary by flavor.
They are sometimes compared to jelly beans due to their similar soft chewiness and bright colors. However, we think their fruity flavor is much better than your typical jelly bean. Overall, they provide a noticeable sweet fruity flavor that lingers in the mouth as you chew.
The intriguing history of Mike and Ike candy traces back to its roots in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where it was introduced in 1940 by the candy company, Just Born.
Nobody knows for certain the origin of the Mike and Ike name. However, multiple theories have emerged through the years.
Some people speculate that there is a connection to a newspaper comic called “Mike and Ike (They Look Alike)” that was first published in 1907 but likely faded into obscurity by the 1940s when Mike and Ikes were being introduced.
Others propose a link to the Matina Brothers, circus dwarfs called “Mike” and “Ike,” who rose to fame as Munchkins in the iconic 1939 mega-classic film, The Wizard of Oz.
Other possibilities include a vaudeville song titled “Mike and Ike”, a company-wide contest that named the candy, or a nod to Dwight D. Eisenhower’s nickname “Ike”.
What does the manufacturer say? They essentially state that there are many theories but no one knows for certain where the brand name came from.
Since not even Just Born can produce the origins of the Mike and Ike name, the mystery will likely remain a mystery.
Mike and Ike Products
These are the various Mike and Ike products available for purchase.
Flavors: Cherry, Lemon, Lime, Orange, and Strawberry.
Flavors: Sour Zappin’ Apple, Sour Slammin’ Strawberry, Sour Screamin’ Cherry, Sour Juicy Lemon, Sour Green Limeade, Sour Pucker Punch, Sour Power Pineapple, Sour Watermelon Wipeout, Sour Grape Soda and Sour Shockin’ Raspberry.
- Berry Blast (image coming soon) – Wild Berry, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Blueberry, and Peach Berry.
- Tropical Typhoon (image coming soon) – Paradise Punch, Kiwi-Banana, Caribbean Punch, Strawberry-Banana and Mango
- Mega Mix (image coming soon) – Caribbean Punch, Strawberry-Banana, Paradise Punch, Grape Soda, Kiwi Banana, Mango Delight, Watermelon, Pineapple Banana, and, Peach Berry.
- Mega Mix Sour (image coming soon) – Sour Zappin’ Apple, Sour Slammin’ Strawberry, Sour Screamin’ Cherry, Sour Juicy Lemon, Sour Green Limeade, Sour Pucker Punch, Sour Power Pineapple, Sour Watermelon Wipeout, Sour Grape Soda and Sour Shockin’ Raspberry.
- Sour Lemon (image coming soon) – Sour Lemon
- Orange (image coming soon) – Orange
- Sour Watermelon (image coming soon) – Sour Watermelon
- Cherry (image coming soon) – Cherry
- Jolly Joes (image coming soon) – Grape
- Red Rageous (image coming soon) – Strawberry, Raspberry, Watermelon, Fruit Punch, Cherry
Best Mike and Ike Flavor
What do you think is the best Mike and Ike flavor? Vote for it in the poll below! We curious to see what you guys thinks is the best!
These are the ingredients for Original Mike and Ike candies with a brief explanation of each ingredient.
- Sugar: Commonly used as a sweetener in food products.
- Corn syrup: A sweet syrup made from corn starch, often used to sweeten and add moisture to foods.
- Modified food starch: Starch that has been chemically or physically altered to improve its performance in certain applications, often used as a thickening agent.
- Contains less than 0.5% of the following:
- Citric acid: A natural acid found in citrus fruits, used in food and beverages for its sour flavor and as a preservative.
- Malic acid: An acid found in many fruits, contributes to the sour taste and is used as a flavor enhancer.
- Fumaric acid: An acid that adds a sour flavor and is often used in food and beverage applications.
- Sodium citrate: A salt of citric acid, used as a buffering agent and emulsifier in food.
- Natural and artificial flavors: Blend of natural and synthetic flavor compounds to enhance the taste of the product.
- Dextrin: A carbohydrate often used as a thickening or crispness agent in food products.
- Confectioners glaze: A glossy coating used to add shine to candies and confections.
- Carnauba wax: A natural wax obtained from the leaves of the Brazilian palm tree, used as a glazing agent in food.
- Medium-chain triglycerides: Fatty acids that are partially man-made fats, often used as a dietary supplement or in food processing.
- Red #40: A synthetic red food dye used to give a vibrant red color to food products.
- Yellow #6: A synthetic yellow food dye used to add a yellow color to foods.
- Yellow #5 (Tartrazine): Another synthetic yellow food dye, also known as tartrazine.
- Blue #1: A synthetic blue food dye used to add a blue color to foods and beverages.
Do Mike and Ikes have allergens?
Just Born lists the major allergens on the product label. They also indicate on the label if there is a risk for cross contamination. Reference the product label for the most accurate allergen information.
The nutrition facts below are for 16 pieces of Original Mike and Ike candies. While 110 calories might not seem like a lot of calories for 16 pieces, this candy’s two primary ingredients are sugar and corn syrup. It offers little to no beneficial nutrients as most people expect with candy.
- Amount Per ServingCalories110
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 0g 0%
- Trans Fat 0g
- Cholesterol 0mg 0%
- Sodium 10mg 1%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Sugars 18g
- Protein 0g 0%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
In April 2012, the company launched an advertising campaign centered around the idea that Mike and Ike were going through a “breakup”. The cited reason? For “creative differences”.
This concept was visually represented on the packaging, with one of the names scratched out. The goal of this campaign was to engage the curiosity of a younger consumer audience.
In 2013, the company made an announcement that Mike and Ike were set to reunite. This reunion came with a revamped packaging design, featuring a more flavorful candy. Additionally, a movie trailer titled “The Return of Mike and Ike” was released as part of the promotional efforts.
The ad campaign was a major success. According to ABC News, the campaign “tripled the company’s social media traffic, gaining almost 1 million Facebook followers.”, as of March 21, 2013.
Mike and Ike – The Split
Mike and Ike – Break Up Commercial
Mike and Ike Break up – A Case Study
Mike and Ike – The Reunion
How Mike and Ikes Are Made
Alfonso Ribeiro, known for his role as Carlton Banks on the The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and recently as a Dancing with the Stars co-host, walks us through the making of Mike and Ikes.
Where To Buy Mike and Ike Candies?
The Mike and Ikes you see in the featured image at the top of this webpage were purchased at Kroger. However, you can find them at most major grocery stores such as Target, Walmart, Dollar Tree, Publix, and more.
Mike and Ike: FAQ
When do Mike and Ikes expire?
Mike and Ike only prints a “Best By” date on the packaging. You should eat the candy by this date for the freshest tasting product. The company states that the product can turn stale before this date if not stored in ideal condition. What are these ideal conditions? Between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit with relative humidity of about 45% to 50%. Taste of Home indicates that unopened jelly beans and similar jelly candies can last up to a year.
Have Mike and Ikes been discontinued?
No, Mike and Ikes are still being made by Just Born. Products include Original Fruits, Tropical Typhoon, Berry Blast, Mega Mix, and others.
Does Mike and Ike make Hot Tamales?
Hot Tamales & Mike and Ike are both made by Just Born. Other candies made by Just Born include Peeps, Just Born Jelly Beans, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews.
Are Mike and Ikes good for you?
No, they are candy primarily made of sugar and corn syrup. While they are fruit flavored, they provide no meaningful nutrients to the body. You should eat them sparingly as a treat.
Do Mike and Ikes have artificial dyes?
Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 1 are the primary artificial dyes used to color Mike and Ike candies. The list of ingredients on the candy’s packaging will indicate the specific dyes used.
Are Mike and Ikes jelly beans?
They are extremely similar but we would not consider them jelly beans. A major difference is in the shape of each candy. Mike and Ikes are longer and more pill-shaped compared to the plumper jelly beans. The manufacturer, Just Born, does make jelly beans so the formulations are likely pretty close.
Why was Mike and Ike crossed out?
It was a part of an ad campaign where Mike and Ike split. Either the Mike or Ike name was crossed off to represent break up. They eventually reunited. See the commercials section above.