The Dangerous Reason Life Savers Holes Were Ultimately Discontinued

For over 100 years, Life Savers has provided delicious candy in a wide range of beloved flavors and forms — from chewy gummies to hard sweets. Life Savers was famously derived from the hard donut-shaped candy resembling a life preserver and was first invented as an alternative to chocolate that wouldn't melt as quickly. While you are most likely familiar with this ring-shaped variety, one line you might not recognize is Life Savers Holes, and there's a reasonably shocking reason it's no longer gracing the store aisle. 

Brightly calling with every color of the rainbow, Life Savers Holes were available in several catchy flavors like tangerine, sunshine fruits, outrageously fruity, and island fruits. There really was a taste to match any sweet mood. So what happened? It's unfortunately made the list of discontinued candies and gums, which could be attributed to several choking incidents with the packaging that led to a recall of the entire product line. There was an attempt to revive the line but to no avail, which led to its ultimate discontinuation.

Life Savers to life chokers

Although Life Saver Holes had only been released in 1990, by January 1991, the packaging for the candy had received four complaints, with toddlers and teenagers having choked on part of it. The packaging in question was cylinder shaped with a thick plastic top that flipped open and closed. This topper caused the incidents, quickly turning a little treat into a dangerous bite. No serious injuries were reported, but the potential for one could not be more obvious.

While the line had sold over 40 million products, all Life Savers Holes candies were recalled after the choking complaints. RJR Nabisco (the then-owners of Life Savers) announced the line's return to stores in June 1991 with a warning sign for children under three and varied packaging. It was discussed that the recall incident might heighten the candy's re-release and improve profits; the opposite was true. In an email statement provided to Daily Meal, a representative for Life Savers revealed that the product failed to regain its previous success due to a "decrease in demand."

The future of Life Savers

Life Savers Holes were available to the general public for less than a year, but they made an impact. You will be familiar with the animators for its first commercials: Pixar. The commercial anthropomorphizes the candy pieces playing at the beach, building sand castles, and running from the tide. Unlike their ring-shaped counterpart, it's somewhat symbolic and ironic that the Holes line could not stay afloat. Unfortunately, Life Savers Holes can be found in the graveyard of discontinued wonders, joining the likes of various Coca-Cola flavors.

Perhaps you're sighing in relief, considering how long ago this candy was available. Yet if you keep an ear close to the ground, you'll remember only last year the big recall for Life Savers Gummies (along with Skittles Gummies and Starburst Gummies) due to a possible piece of metal inside the packaging. A product can only take so many health incidents before its popularity dwindles beyond recovery. While Life Savers Holes's cheery colors and flavors turn into legend, the memories of unsafe packaging struggle to fade away.