Tootsie Pop

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An orange-flavored Tootsie Roll Pop. Tootsie-Roll-Pop-Orange.jpg
An orange-flavored Tootsie Roll Pop.

A Tootsie Pop [1] (known as Tutsi Chupa Pop in Latin America [2] ) is a hard candy lollipop filled with the chocolate-flavored chewy Tootsie Roll candy. They were invented in 1931 by an employee of The Sweets Company of America. The company changed its name to Tootsie Roll Industries in 1969.


The candy debuted in 1931 and various flavors have been introduced ever since.

In 2002, 60 million Tootsie Rolls and 20 million Tootsie Pops were produced every day. [3]


Various wrapped Tootsie Roll Pops State Fair of Virginia - Tootsie Pop.jpg
Various wrapped Tootsie Roll Pops

Tootsie Pops are known for the catch phrase "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?". The phrase was first introduced in an animated commercial which debuted on US television in 1970. [4] In the original television ad, a questioning boy (Buddy Foster) poses the question to a cow (Frank Nelson), a fox (Paul Frees), a turtle (Ralph James) and an owl (Paul Winchell). Each one of the first three animals tells the kid to ask someone else, explaining that they would bite a Tootsie Pop every time they lick one. Eventually, he asks the owl, appearing wise, who offers to investigate. He starts licking the orange Tootsie Pop, but bites into it after only three licks. The child walks away, saying to himself, "If there's anything I can't stand, it's a smart owl." The commercial ends the same way, with various flavored Tootsie Pops unwrapped and being "licked away" until being crunched in the center with a narrator asking, "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie pop? The world may never know." [5]

While the original commercial is 60 seconds long, an edited 30-second version and 15-second version of this commercial are the ones that have aired innumerable times over the years.

In the shorter 30-second ad, Mr. Owl returns the spent candy stick, and the boy's final line is replaced with a reaction shot and a beat of silence. [5] [6]

The 15-second commercial (which still is broadcast) only shows the boy with Mr. Owl, and a different narrator (Frank Leslie) speaks the same concluding line, but without the scene showing the Tootsie Roll pops slowly disappearing with an APM Music track "Crepe Suzette" (composed by Cyril Watters) playing in the background. The question still stands unanswered. [7]

In the 1990s, a new commercial was made featuring a boy asking a robot and a dragon how many licks it takes to get to the center, with the Tootsie Pops known for the catch phrase "How many licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop?", rather than "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?". [8]

Rumors and set attempts

Redeemable wrappers

At some point, a rumor began that the lollipop wrappers which bore three unbroken circles were redeemable for free candy or even free items like shirts and other items. The rumor was untrue, but some shops have honored the wrapper offer over the years, allowing people to "win" a free pop.

Some stores redeemed lollipop wrappers with the "shooting star" (bearing an image of a child dressed as a Native American aiming a bow and arrow at a star) for a free sucker. This was clearly up to the store owner and not driven by the lollipop manufacturer. [9] One convenience store[ citation needed ] in Iowa City, Iowa, for example, gave candy away when the children asked. Also, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Osco Drug used to give children free suckers for star wrappers. In 1994, the owner of Dan's Shortstop told a reporter that when he first opened children came by often, but after a while, he said he had to stop giving things away. Giveaways also occurred in Chico, California, where a 7-Eleven store manager in the Pleasant Valley area, said she had to stop because it had become too expensive. [10] Since 1982, Tootsie Roll Industries has been distributing a "consolation prize", the short story, The Legend of the Indian Wrapper, to children who mail in their Indian star wrappers. [11]

Lick tests

A student study by Purdue University concluded that it took an average of 364 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop using a "licking machine", while it took an average of 252 licks when tried by 20 students. [12] [13] Yet another study by the University of Michigan concluded that it takes 411 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. A 1996 study by undergraduate students at Swarthmore College concluded that it takes a median of 144 licks (range 70–222) to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. [14]

In 2014, the Tribology Laboratory at the University of Florida published a study examining the coupled effects of biology, corrosion, and mechanical agitation on the wear of Tootsie Roll Pops. Self-reported wear data from 58 participants was used in conjunction with statistical analysis of actual lollipop cross-sectional information in a numerical simulation to compute the average number of licks required to reach the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. The number of licks required to reach the center, based on equatorial cross-section data, was found to be nearly independent of the licking style with the one-sided approach requiring 195±18 licks and the full-surface approach requiring 184±33. Detailed examination of the lollipops indicates that the minimum candy shell thickness is rarely (if ever) located along the equator. Using the global minimum distance resulted in a calculated 130±29 licks to reach the center, independent of licking style. [15]


Original assortment

Lemon was an early flavor, as well; it disappeared in the mid-1980’s, and returned to the assortment after 2016. All assortment flavors can also be purchased in single-flavor bulk. In 2004, and again in 2011 with different flavors, Tootsie Pops would have a random, rotating sixth flavor.

Tropical Stormz

"Wild Berry" assortment


Non-standard flavors can be now purchased in single-flavor bulk.

Additional flavors: Strawberry-Vanilla, Cherry (Valentine's Day), Tangerine, Pineapple, Tropical Punch, Wild Blackberry and Strawberry Watermelon.


"Sweet & Sour Bunch" pops

The "Sweet & Sour Bunch" flavors came in a package of eight Assortment pops, at .50 oz. / 14.8 grams each.

Tootsie Fruit Chews Pops

Hard candy matched with a complementary Tootsie Fruit Chew flavor core. [16]

Sister products

See also

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