The Discontinued Gummy Candy That Infuriated The SPCA

Have you ever eaten a candy that downright offended you? Maybe it was expired, too hard to bite down on, or contained a flavor you simply can't stand. Admittedly, we all have that one candy that just isn't our favorite — even a certified candy lover has one or two sweet treats that don't sit right on their taste buds. But one candy in particular was rather off-putting to consumers not because of its flavor, but because of its shape.

In the early 2000s, Trolli candy company came out with a bag of fruity gummy candies called Road Kill. As the name suggests, the gummy candies depicted multiple animals, including chickens, snakes, and squirrels, with tire tracks over their abdomens. The candy was officially discontinued in 2005 after animal advocates at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) raised concerns about the candy's theme. Although the gummy candy may have seemed harmless enough, animal rights activists felt it was inappropriate to make light of a real problem for wild animals. Turns out candy can be offensive in more ways than one.

Trolli's Road Kill gummies 'sent the wrong message'

In 2005, Trolli Road Kill was added to the long list of discontinued candies we will probably never see again, because of an outcry from the SPCA. According to NBC News, the society's spokesperson Matthew Stanton claimed that the candy "...sends the wrong message to children, that it's okay to harm animals." Trolli's parent company Kraft Foods quickly responded to concerns by halting production in Februrary 20005. Kraft spokesperson Larry Baumann told NBC News that "in hindsight, we understand that this product could be misunderstood."

Not everyone agreed with the SPCA's reaction to the candy. One Reddit user responded to the candy's discontinuation, posting "They aren't made from actual animals or anything." Another commented, "It would only be disturbing if you bit into it and red juice came out it." Other users, however, agreed that the theme was rather messed up, and understood why Kraft decided to stop production after less than one year on the market.

Whether it's because of the controversial theme or its limited run on shelves, Trolli's Road Kill isn't likely ranked among the best gummy candies for most people. There are a certain few who have inquired about finding the gummy candy over the years. Kraft halted production in 2005, but vintage candy sellers online have recovered vintage bags of the nearly 20-year-old sweet treat. While we don't encourage eating expired candy, buyers may find enjoyment in owning the discontinued candy that caused such a stir.

Road Kill gummies weren't the first controversial candy

Children are the main demographic for most candy companies: Bright colors, fun theming, and silly mascots encourage children to ask for sweet treats that catch their eye. With this in mind, manufacturers are typically careful about what they produce and how it's marketed to kids because sometimes, even something as sweet as candy can send the wrong message.

If there was any type of candy with an inappropriate theme, it was surely the candy cigarettes that were formed and packaged to exactly resemble cigarettes, and playfully encourage the use of tobacco products. The chalky, slim white sugar candies arrived on the scene in the 1930s. Kids would hold the candy in between their fingers and pretend to take long drags of imaginary smoke. Surprisingly, this iconic, yet rather controversial, candy still exists in the United States. However, other countries such as Brazil, Ireland, and Norway removed candy cigs from shelves because of their overt promotion of tobacco consumption. 

Colorful bubble gum cigars were also popular and commonly used as a fun way to commemorate births after the "no smoking" laws went into effect in hospitals. In 1999, Oklahoma lawmakers attempted to ban bubble gum cigars, The Oklahoman reported at the time. Unfortunately for concerned parents, bubble gum cigars and candy cigarettes are still available online and at certain candy vendors in the U.S., but at least kids can't ask you to buy them Road Kill gummies anymore.