What Are the Best Retro Sweets in the UK?

Retro sweets still dominate the world of pick and mix. Some classic old-fashioned sweets have been hanging out in pick and mix shops since the 1800s! But some are newer creations that were invented in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

What Are Retro Sweets?

So, what’s the difference between retro sweets and old-fashioned sweets? There aren’t any official cut off dates, but usually, retro sweets are considered to be over 20 years old.

Old fashioned sweets are usually considered to have been around during the generation of our grandparents. So opinions will differ between the generations! But often, sweets become so popular, they’re loved by each new generation that follows.

Here are 10 of the best retro sweets in the UK that are still available to buy — each sure to bring on sweet memories of our childhoods and simpler times!

1. Pineapple Cubes

Cute little cubes bursting with tropical flavour! Today we can buy exotic fruits in the middle of a cold, dark winter, but in ye olden days, tropical fruits were much less common. They spoiled quickly during transportation, so instead, tropical fruits were packed and preserved into tins, and also sweets! Pineapple cubes are one of the best retro sweets that are still loved today!

A close up view of a lots of light yellow pineapple cubes with a sugared coating.

Pineapple Cubes!


2. Candy Necklaces

Candy necklaces, bracelets and watches were considered the ultimate form of haute couture in our childhoods. Instead of Chanel earrings or Tiffany diamonds, we were all about the sweet pastel perfection of a Swizzels candy necklace.

A close up view of lots of candy necklaces. The individual sugared beads are in various pastel shades of pink, blue, green, yellow and orange.

Candy Necklaces

3. Flying Saucers

A guaranteed find on high streets and in village corner shops — the fizz of sherbet was hugely popular in the 60s and 70s, so Flying Saucers were always a firm favourite!

A close up photo showing the varied pastel colours of these circular flying saucers.

Flying Saucers

4. Black Jacks

With their bold aniseed flavouring, Barrat’s Black Jacks have been popular since their debut in the 1920s! And they’ve been loved through the decades as a classic retro sweet.

A photo showing a collection of Black Jacks with their signature grey and black wrappers.

Barratts Black Jacks

5. Jelly Babies

These sweet little chaps are a sweet shop staple. With a perfect bite that falls somewhere in-between Turkish delight and a Wine Gum. They had a series of notable name changes, as they were first called Unclaimed Babies”… before they were then renamed Peace Babies after the First World War. Their fruity flavours and long heritage make them one of the UK’s best retro sweets that are still hugely loved by children today.

6 jelly babies on a white table, each with their signature icing powder sugar coating.

Jelly Babies! | Photo by Sam Greenhalgh on Wikimedia Commons

6. Cola Bottles

Often named as one of Britains most popular sweets, this list had to contain the classic Cola Bottle. Any trip to a pick and mix counter had to include a sprinkling of Cola Bottles, it was practically an obligation. They first arrived in sweet shops in the 1930s, and have since been enjoyed in different sizes and flavour combinations, like the incredibly popular Cherry Cola Bottle!

A close up of lots of sugared cola bottles.

Fizzy Cola Bottles

7. Kola Cubes

We couldn’t reference Cola Bottles without looking to their cola cousin, the Kola Cube. Remember, that’s Kola with a ‘K’! Like the Pineapple Cube, the sweet crunchy Kola Cube was a staple find in village corner shops and old high street sweet shops. Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s they were often seen being measured on scales and sprinkled into paper bags, before being handed across the counter to eagerly awaiting hands!

A close up of lots of red little Kola Cubes.

Kola Cubes

8. Swizzels Fizzers & Parma Violets

A party bag favourite for 90s kids these mini packets of Fizzers and their notorious twin Parma Violets are one of the younger retro sweets that can still be found in retro pick and mix selections!

9. Sherbet Dips!

A 70s favourite that can still be found today! The Dip Dab was created by Barratt to rival the Swizzels Double Dip. Both have remained hugely popular and can still be bought today!

Bright yellow and red packaging of the dip dap.

Dip Dab packet!

10. Lemon Refresher Chews

Swizzels definitely had a big influence on our childhoods, as another huge Swizzels classic are Lemon Refresher Chews! They were also available in a chewy bar version too. They were invented in 1955, but have been loved through the generations ever since. The bold lemony taste, paired with the fizz of sherbet, created an absolute taste sensation!

What Are the Best Retro Sweets in the UK?

Lemon Refresher Chews

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