Milk Duds’ Exotic Brand Extensions – Saga of the Fruit-Flavored Duds and More!


Yesterday I covered a pretty big swath of Milk Duds history through the lens of the vintage packaging in my collection.  Today, I’m going to look at a very specific niche of Milk Duds history – the exotic and little-known area of Milk Duds’ brand extensions.

These brand extensions include the oft-discussed, mythical “flavored Duds” of the 1970’s, plus two others that I’ve never  seen mentioned anywhere else before.  As this is one of my favorite sub-genres of candy collecting, I can’t wait to kick it off — so make the jump and join me for an awesome piece of Milk Duds history!

I’d first read about fruit-flavored Duds on the CandyWrapperMuseum site of my pal and fellow collector, Darlene Lacey.  She shares a colorful story of encountering an array of flavored Duds at a store one afternoon, but only picking up the grape flavor, expecting to find the rest later on.  The only problem is she never sees them again.

I think it’s safe to say that Darlene’s tale and the image of her Grape Duds box inspired my initial appreciation for the oddball Milk Duds offshoots.  It’s an appreciation that has only grown as I’ve uncovered more information about them.

At the time I found Darlene’s story, the only image of a flavored Duds box that you could find anywhere online was that of her Grape Duds box.   Though it took a few years to find, I now have a Grape Duds box in my own collection, and it’s similar to the one Darlene found so many years ago.  Here it is:

Beatrice - Holloway - Grape Duds - Milk Duds - 1 1/4 oz candy box - 1977

Beatrice – Holloway – Grape Duds – Milk Duds – 1 1/4 oz candy box – 1977

Though the Grape Duds was the first flavored Duds box I encountered, the first one to join my collection was a different flavor – Strawberry Duds.

The origins of how this box came into my collection are a bit unusual:  A fellow cereal box collector was redoing a bathroom and during the demolition phase, found the Strawberry Duds box tucked behind the wall – having rested there safe through the decades.  I’d imagine it was a snack for one of the original builders, finished and set upon a beam – sealed in for unintentional preservation.

Although it took a bit of friendly coercion, I’d eventually add that box to my own collection, and here it is:

Holloway's - Strawberry Duds - candy box - 1970's

Holloway’s – Strawberry Duds – 1 1/8 oz candy box – 1970’s

So it was that for the past several years, my collected knowledge of flavored Duds came down to two boxes – Grape and Strawberry.

But back in June, I had my first blurry glimpse at other Duds flavors when I stumbled across this spy-photo-like image in an old trade magazine.  I posted about it in my Photo Hunt 1975 article, but here’s the image in question:

A blurry look at fruit-flavored Duds from 1975.

A blurry look at fruit-flavored Duds, circa 1975.

The mystery of flavored Duds had continued to build for me over the years.  I’d hear others recall faded memories of encountering Banana, Cherry, Apple, and even Maple Duds – though it was hard to say what was real and what was pure imagination.

Fortunately for me, I had a break in the case earlier this year when I uncovered a candy industry trade ad from 1973 that showcased the original three flavored Dud offerings:  Grape, Cherry, and Banana.

Milk Duds - Flavored Duds - Candy Trade Ad - January 1973

Milk Duds – Flavored Duds – Candy Trade Ad – January 1973

That ad ALSO features a pre-“The Gambler” Kenny Rogers – how cool is that?

With that ad uncovered, I now possess concrete evidence of what the original flavored Duds assortment was.  But since I also know that Strawberry Duds were made at some point, the possibility remains of there having been additional variety of fruit-flavored Duds than just the four I’ve found solid evidence of thus far.

So that’s that’s a pretty big discovery – but I still have more cool things to share with you today.

First up, a flavored Duds box that has never been shown anywhere else on the internet before today.  It’s one of today’s four Exclusive Premiers – Holloway’s Cherry Duds!

Beatrice - Holloway - Cherry Duds - Milk Duds - 1 1/4 oz candy box - 1977

Beatrice – Holloway – Cherry Duds – Milk Duds – 1 1/4 oz candy box – 1977

And since today is also the first time any image of a Banana Duds box has been shared online, I created this close-up clipping (and amateur coloring job) for the flavor:

Holloway - Banana Duds - First Image Ever - 1973

Holloway – Banana Duds – First Image Ever – 1973

Beyond just trying to suss out what flavors of Duds there were, I’ve also been keen on determining when and where these exotic Duds were available, and I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve determined that fruit-flavored Duds were around during a greater period than I had initially guessed, and apparently were a nationwide product at least part of the time (I’d speculated they were a test-market item only).  Based on evidence I’ve gathered, I can state that fruit flavored Duds were first introduced in the late-1972-to-early-1973 period, and were on shelves in 1977 as well.

I can’t say that they were produced and available across that whole span of years, but at least I know that they were around for two windows of time (my 1975 Photo Hunt image allows me to strongly speculate that they were sold throughout the entire 1973-1977 period).


Banana, Grape, Cherry, and Strawberry; that’s the story-so-far on fruit-flavored Duds.  But there are other obscure Duds that you haven’t heard of, so let’s get to talking about those.

First up is a product that could have been called “Peanut Butter Duds” but unfortunately wasn’t.  Even so, I’m calling it a Duds box.  It’s Milk Duds’ Peanut Butter Caramels, released in the mid-to-late 1970’s.  I’d never heard of nor seen anything on these before, and I could find no mention of them online, so this is another Exclusive Premier:

Beatrice - Holloway - Peanut Butter Caramels - Milk Duds - 7_8 oz candy box - late 1970's

Beatrice – Holloway – Peanut Butter Caramels – Milk Duds – 7/8 oz candy box – late 1970’s

As you can see, the Duds family had far more reach than you might ever guess.  But I’ve still not shown you everything I’ve got.

Next up is a Duds variety I’d never had an inkling of until this year.  It’s got a name that might have you chuckling, and it is today’s fourth Exclusive Premiere:  Nut Duds!

DL Clark - Nut Duds - NEW - chocolate-coated peanuts - candy box - Early 1980's

DL Clark – Nut Duds – NEW – chocolate-coated peanuts – 1.1 oz candy box – Early 1980’s

I gotta say, today’s post has been a lot of fun for me; getting to share four exclusive premieres is more than I’ve ever done in a single post.  And these aren’t ordinary exclusives; these are pieces that in some cases I’ve spent years hunting for.

But I’m still not done yet.  I’ve got one last exotic Duds to share.

This time, it’s a product that’s an extension of Holloway’s own Duds line, but also takes inspiration from another company’s iconic treat.  (I’ll leave it to you to decide which one.)

Here are Holloway’s Sugar Duds!

Holloway's - Sugar Duds 5-cent candy pack - Early 1970's

Holloway’s – Sugar Duds – 5-cent, 1 1/4 oz candy pack – Early 1970’s

So that’s everything I’ve got to share today on what is one of my all-time favorite confectionery topics:  Milk Duds’ brand extensions.

I’ve uncovered a lot about these in the past several years, which I’ve collected and am thrilled to be able to document here today.   And I plan to continue to uncover answers to the “exotic Duds” mysteries that still remain.  So this fun saga continues, and when I learn more, I’ll be reporting it here to you.  And that’s it for today.

See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s My Google Profile+
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23 Responses to Milk Duds’ Exotic Brand Extensions – Saga of the Fruit-Flavored Duds and More!

  1. azog says:

    Odd variants. Even tho you present a good case that they had a relatively long product life, I wonder how popular they actually were? My own first reaction was “eww”. Perhaps if they were under a different brand or product name, but there is definitely a brand association with “Duds” that fruit-flavored duds doesn’t fit. Sugar, nut and peanut duds easily fit my own mental association, so there wasn’t a much of a knee-jerk reaction to those. And the sugar duds triggered another memory, but maybe due to the similarity to “something else” (I caught that right away, but don’t wanna say anything for those who didn’t catch it)

  2. Dan says:

    I remember eating the Strawberry Duds and maybe the Grape. They were tasty. My memory is vague but I think they were around for a while. I am sure I ate them a few times.

  3. Hodge says:

    Great post today! I really want to try those fruit Duds. I had no idea those were ever around. Before my time, sadly.

  4. JON MANKUTA says:

    Another cool article bro…I’m lucky enough to own a Grape Duds box, but would love some of the others…

  5. Roger Kulp says:

    I remember all these,but thr banana.I also seem to recall eating Orange Milk Duds at the time.Tey were good.

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  7. John Peabody says:

    Banana Duds were FANTASTIC! -at least, when I was 15. I remember cherry and grape, but the banana duds were my favorite, by far.

  8. I REALLY want to thank you for this article. I am 45 years old and I have been telling people for years that my favorite candies as a child were Cherry flavored Milk Duds . I have been politely told I was mistaken, lying or crazy. With the recent re-release of Strawberry flavored Duds, I was told and almost convinced that maybe that was what I had. I recognized the Cherry Dud box immediately!! It would have been around the mid 70s and I only remember being able to get them at the Cooper Theater in downtown Colorado Springs. Thank you for confirming and returning a small but special piece of my childhoood!

  9. Richard Barrows says:

    I remember all those dud flavors – banana, cherry, and grape…I also recall that the original Black Cow (similar to the Sugar Daddy, but covered in something passing for chocolate) was also offered in at least a banana version, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was also grape and cherry.

    • Jason Liebig says:


      Thanks for the comment. Actually, I can confirm that the following fruit-flavored versions of Black Cow: Banana Cow, Purple Cow, Pink Cow and Orange Cow. Pretty neat!


  10. Laura says:

    I worked at a burger joint/restaurant/horse stable (don’t laugh, it’s true) in Pacifica, ca called Coastside Corral in the early 70’s as a teenager. We had all kind of candy and all the flavored ‘duds’. I tried all three we had, the banana, grape and cherry. The cherry duds blew my mind. I’m 58 now and I won’t say what I would do to taste those again… Self-incrimination and all. But DAMN, I can only hope that they will remake them again someday before I kick. They were of course chewy in the center and the coating was similar to a yogurt cherry coating, but not at the same time. BEST CANDY EVER!’

  11. Jim McVay says:

    The banana duds are my favorite candy of all time! The makers of milk duds must reproduce! I remember them at dear valley camp, and were the best, (had grape also). I am 45 and was just a toddler, but one of my most treasured memories of the camp. Like a previous poster said, banana was the best!

  12. Aaron B says:

    I am 45 and remember eating these fruit duds as a kid in the mid 70s.

    I found this website after googling “strawberry milk duds,” because today I had a candy called Goetze Strawberry Cow Tales, which reminded me almost exactly of the flavor of the Strawberry Milk Duds from 40 years ago.

  13. Gary L Walker says:

    I remember the Grape, Cherry, and the Banana ones used to get them at he Blue Ridge theater when I was a kid. God I wish they would bring them back along with a lot of other candies that were around back then.

  14. Clare says:

    Completely agree! Banana were the best! I’ve thought about these over the years & mentioned to my husband who had no memory of them. They were a favorite. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Daniel Bennett says:

    As a kid growing up in southern Colorado in the 1970s I remember how my brothers and I just loved the flavored Milk Duds! I don’t remember the strawberry ones, but I remember that one brother liked the Banana Duds, one liked the Grape Duds, and I liked the Cherry Duds. I think they were only around for a year or two. Over the years the only candy I have found that comes a bit close to the taste of the Grape Duds are the Grape Frooties that are still being made by Tootsie Roll. The grape flavor of that candy is awesome! I tried the Cherry Frooties once but they seemed kind of bland.

  16. Margaret Alvarez says:

    I have done many searches for cherry milk duds over the years, and only just found this. No one I know remembers these, at all. Cherry were the best! Thank you for this article.

  17. Lisa says:

    I loved the grape and cherry milk duds I would love to have them again and give to my children they think I made this up.

  18. Melanie Young says:

    I loved Cherry Duds, which were only available at the movie theater. I know that I was just a little kid, but I swear I felt woozy/drunk after eating a box. And it wasn’t the same as a sugar high, because I never felt like that with any other candy, ever. I always wondered if the cherries somehow fermented, and maybe that’s why they stopped making Cherry Duds?

  19. Sonya says:

    I knew it! I have been telling my siblings for years about the flavored milk duds. Oh my were they so good. Creamy, silky and just melted in your mouth. I was a child then and was literally wrecked when they were no longer for sale. I distinctly remember the grape, banana and strawberry. OMG ! Thank you, I have beeen vindicated. I have so many other questions about candies that I experienced as a child but seemingly no longer exist. A MILLION THANKS TO YOU and your friend for bringing back a weet milky piece of my childhood.

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