UK Sweets and What They Used to be Called

UK Sweets and What They Used to be Called

Sweets have been an integral part of our lives, carrying with them a rich tapestry of history and tradition. From old fashioned sweets to those that make up our shelves today, the history of sweets in the UK goes far beyond the trendy vibrant packaging and the multi million pound industry we have become accustomed with.

Many of the retro sweets that you know and enjoy today used to be called something different. You may remember the sweet treats you loved as a child in their original form, or maybe the brand changes came way back in the day, and before you time. We are going to take a trip down memory lane and share some of our favourite candy name changes throughout the decades.

Jelly Babies

Jelly Babies

In 1864 an Australian confectioner set out to make a mould for Jelly bears but by mistake, he made a mould that looked more like babies. This lead to them being given the darker name of 'unclaimed babies'.

This name however, was short lived as Bassetts of Sheffield began producing them in 1918 where they were renamed 'peace babies'. This is said to have been to celebrate the end of World War One.

This sweet was them re branded as 'jelly babies' in 1953 and they are still old fashioned sweets that are enjoyed by both children and adults alike!


Opal fruits

In 1960, the beloved opal fruits were introduced to the UK and a widespread love affair with these sweets began. In 1967, they were introduced to the USA, however, this time with the brand name starburst.

By 1998, these retro sweets we knew and loved as opal fruits were known as starburst across the rest of the world. In an attempt to align the brand, Mars, who own them, designed a very expensive rebranding campaign, and opal fruits thereafter became known as starburst.

In 2020, Mars sold a limited edition version of opal fruits much loved lemon and lime flavour sweet, that got replaced by a blackcurrant flavour in starburst, meaning many people got to relive their childhood.


Candy Sticks

In 1930, a brand new sweet hit the shelves. This retro sweet was known as a 'candy cigarette'. This sweet was similar in design to a cigarette and was produced as part of a growth to make sweets and chocolate look similar to house hold objects.

These were re branded as 'candy sticks' as it was thought that creating a sweet that looked like a cigarette was encouraging kids to smoke.



The classic, snickers bar, made up of nuts and nougat was originally known as a 'marathon bar' in the UK. Across the globe, it was known as the snickers bar.

In an attempt to bring the UK up to speed, Mars decided to re brand the bar to 'snickers' in 1990 and it has stuck since then.

However, you may remember in 2019, the marathon bar had another short stint in the shops as it was brought back for a limited amount of time.

Turkish delight

In the 19th century, a British explorer brought back a sweet dish that was known as 'lokum' he renamed this dish to Turkish Delight and this what it has been known as ever since.

Star Bars

In 1976, Cadbury re-branded the star bar chocolate as a peanut boost so that it could join the boost family.

However, following the fall in popularity of the boost chocolate bars many years ago, Cadbury shuffled the deck and the peanut boost was renamed as the star bar once again!

Daim bar

This Norwegian chocolate had three different names across three countries reflecting the Norwegian pronunciation of the phonetic name and was known as the 'dime' in the UK.

It was changed to 'dame' to create a consistent name for the chocolate.


The rally bar, a creamy nougat and caramel chocolate bar, was renamed milky way in the UK in 1993 to align with the global branding.


The pace bar, which was a coconut and chocolate bar, underwent a name change to picnic in the 1970's.


Bazooka, was initially known as Topps chewing gum, and is a very famous bubble gum that grew to fame after the world war.

Discontinued retro sweets


The banjo was a biscuit with wafer and a flavour. There were two flavours to choose from: coconut or peanut and these were a much loved, delicious confectionery.

These retro sweets were sadly taken off of the shelves in the eighties.

Nestle toffo

The Nestle toffo was removed from their range worldwide in 2008 when they decided to discontinue this classic toffee flavoured sweet treat.