Does Life Savers still make sugar free?

Life Savers are a popular brand of hard candy produced by the Wrigley Company. They first debuted in 1912 and became well-known for their distinctive ring shape and variety of fruit flavors. Over the decades, Life Savers have expanded their lineup to include different formulations, including sugar-free options for consumers concerned about their sugar intake. This article will explore the history of Life Savers, the introduction of their sugar-free candies, and whether or not sugar-free Life Savers are still being produced today.

Brief History of Life Savers Candy

Life Savers were first created in 1912 by Clarence Crane, a Cleveland candy manufacturer. Crane was looking for a new candy product that could withstand the heat better than chocolate. He developed the iconic ring shape by pressing sugar together to make a molded cup, punching a hole in the middle, and filling it with fruit flavoring. This innovative approach produced a candy that was both hardy and portable.

The brand was named Life Savers to advertise the fact that its rings resembled miniature life preservers. The five original fruit flavors were lemon, orange, pineapple, cherry, and lime. Life Savers quickly became popular with consumers, and within a few years the brand expanded to offer pep-o-mint and wint-o-green flavors.

In 1913, Crane sold the Life Savers concept for $2,900 to Edward J. Noble. Noble formed the Life Savers Company and significantly expanded distribution of the candy. He also introduced several innovations, like aluminum foil wrapping to keep the mints fresh. Noble was instrumental in promoting Life Savers as an alternative to cigarettes, placing the mints near cash registers to encourage impulse buys.

Over the ensuing decades, Life Savers solidified itself as one of the most recognizable candies in America. The brand diversified its lineup with products like Life Saver hole pops, gummies, rolls, and peg bags. It also expanded globally into Canada, the UK, and Australia. Today, Life Savers produces billions of rolls per year featuring a wide array of flavors.

The Introduction of Sugar-Free Life Savers

In the 1960s and 70s, rising consumer health consciousness led Life Savers to explore alternative product formulations, including options for diabetics and dieters. This initial foray into sugar-free candies was called SweetLife candy, introduced in 1962. SweetLife came in three fruit flavors – orange, lemon, and lime – and contained fewer calories and carbohydrates than regular Life Savers.

The SweetLife line was rebranded as Sugar-Free Life Savers in 1981. This was part of a broader strategic shift towards lower-calorie products driven by changing attitudes about diet and nutrition. Initially, Sugar-Free Life Savers were available in peppermint and fruit flavors. They contained sorbitol and mannitol as sugar substitutes and provided about 8 calories per roll compared to 22 calories for regular Life Savers.

Sugar-Free Life Savers filled an important niche in the 1980s for diabetics and weight-conscious consumers. They were marketed as a way for people to reduce their sugar and calorie consumption without sacrificing the classic flavors and portability of Life Saver mints. The sugar-free version helped modernize Life Saver’s image as a healthier option.

Ongoing Availability of Sugar-Free Life Savers

Since their initial launch, Sugar-Free Life Savers have remained a key part of the brand’s product mix. They are currently manufactured by Wrigley and come in a wide selection of flavors. Most major grocery stores, drug stores, big box retailers, and online marketplaces carry Sugar-Free Life Savers among their candy offerings.

Consumers can find them in the distinctive rolls and peg bag packaging. Popular sugar-free flavors include peppermint, assorted fruit, butter rum, spearmint, wintergreen, and cinnamon. The sugar substitutes used today include sorbitol, maltitol syrup, and isomalt. In addition to rolls and peg bags, Wrigley makes sugar-free mini Life Saver gummies.

The availability of sugar-free options allows Life Savers to appeal to diabetics, people following low-carb or ketogenic diets, and anyone looking to reduce their consumption of added sugars. According to Wrigley’s website, a serving of Sugar-Free Life Savers (8 mints) contains 5 grams of carbs compared to 24 grams in regular mints. Each serving also provides 70-80 calories.

So sugar-free Life Savers remain easy to find today in grocery stores, convenience stores, online retailers like Amazon, and big retailers such as Walmart and Target. They come in at least 10 different flavors providing the classic Life Savers taste without the high calorie and carbohydrate load. Wrigley has shown a continued commitment to producing sugar-free Life Savers as an integral part of the brand’s portfolio.

Nutrition Facts for Sugar-Free vs Regular Life Savers

Here is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrition facts for sugar-free and regular Life Savers rolls:

Nutrition Facts Sugar-Free Life Savers (1 roll) Regular Life Savers (1 roll)
Calories 25 22
Total Fat 0g 0g
Sodium 0mg 0mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g 24g
Sugar Alcohols 5g 0g
Protein 0g 0g

As you can see, the key differences are in the total carbohydrates and use of sugar alcohols as a sugar substitute. Regular Life Savers get all their carbs from sugar, while the sugar-free version primarily uses sorbitol, maltitol, and other sugar alcohols. This allows them to provide the same flavors with far fewer carbs and calories.

Are There Any Downsides to Sugar-Free Life Savers?

While sugar-free Life Savers are lower in calories and carbs, there are a few things consumers should keep in mind:

Gastrointestinal Effects

Some sugar alcohols like sorbitol and maltitol can cause digestive upset if eaten in excess. Consuming a whole roll of sugar-free Life Savers may result in bloating, gas, or diarrhea for sensitive individuals. It’s best to portion them out.

Blood Sugar Response

Sugar alcohols elicit a small blood sugar response, about half as much as regular sugar. Diabetics still need to account for carbohydrates from sugar-free candies in their meal planning.

Tooth Decay

Sugar-free Life Savers are not completely innocuous for dental health. The sugar alcohols can still feed cavity-causing bacteria. Brushing after eating them is a good idea.


Some people accustomed to regular Life Savers find the sugar-free version somewhat less satisfying. While the flavors are largely the same, the sugar alcohols may influence texture and sweetness. It’s a matter of personal taste preference.

So sugar-free Life Savers are not a free pass for unchecked candy consumption. As with many foods, moderation and accounting for their nutritional impact is wise. But for people looking to enjoy the Life Saver experience with less sugar, the sugar-free alternative is a reasonable option.

Do Other Major Candy Brands Offer Sugar-Free Options?

The success of sugar-free Life Savers has prompted most other major candy manufacturers to introduce their own lines of sugar-free products. Here are some examples:

Jolly Rancher

Jolly Rancher makes both low-calorie and completely sugar-free versions of their hard fruit candies. The sugar-free candies are sweetened with maltitol syrup and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. Popular flavors include Green Apple, Watermelon, and Cherry.

Werther’s Originals

These classic hard caramel candies now come in several sugar-free varieties sweetened with isomalt. Flavors include Café Latte, Sugar Free Crème Brûlée, and Cookies & Cream. Most are under 10 calories per piece.


Brach’s offers sugar-free options for many of their candy products including hard candies, maple nut goodies, and candy corn. These are sweetened with dextrose, sorbitol, and maltitol syrup.

Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly jumped into the sugar-free arena with their line of naturally-flavored jelly beans. These use erythritol as the primary sweetener and come in flavors like Lemon Lime, Island Punch, and Toasted Marshmallow.


SmartSweets are a newer candy brand focused exclusively on low sugar products. They offer sour candy, gummy bears, and other chewy candies sweetened primarily with allulose, soluble corn fiber, and stevia.

So sugar-free formulations have now become an expected part of most major candy brands. As consumer demand increases for reduced sugar offerings, even more options will likely hit the market. Of course, most nutritionists still recommend limiting all candy consumption, even the sugar-free stuff. But for an occasional treat, it fits the bill for health-conscious shoppers.

The Future of Sugar-Free Life Savers

Life Savers has shown a commitment to keep their sugar-free rolls a core part of the product lineup. In recent years, they’ve introduced new sugar-free flavors like Pineapple and Tropical Fruit to keep the selection intriguing. The brand has also experimented with alternative sugar substitutes like stevia and allulose that provide sweetness with fewer gastrointestinal side effects.

There are currently no signs that Wrigley plans to discontinue or decrease Sugar-Free Life Saver production. With rising rates of diabetes and obesity, along with growing keto diet popularity, the need for satisfying low-sugar candies continues to increase. Life Savers is poised to take advantage of this trend.

One area of possible innovation is a wider array of sugar-free options. Currently most Sugar-Free Life Saver products come in the roll or peg bag formats. Expanding to resealable pouches, mini chews, or other fun formats could attract consumers. Wrigley could also partner with retailers to offer custom sugar-free Life Saver blends or exclusive holiday flavors.

Product placement will also be key. As more shoppers purchase groceries online, Life Savers should ensure their sugar-free rolls are easily found in online aisles. The brand could also advertise on health, diet, and diabetes websites to find target demographics.

Overall, Life Savers seems well positioned to drive sugar-free growth. Their historic brand reputation combined with on-trend product attributes should allow Sugar-Free Life Savers to thrive into the future. Satisfying America’s sweet tooth – guilt free – for another century to come!


Life Savers has come a long way from the original five flavor rings created by Clarence Crane in 1912. The brand has become one of America’s iconic candies, permeating pop culture and fond childhood memories for generations. A key to Life Saver’s enduring popularity has been innovation – adapting to introduce new flavors, formats and formulations.

The development of Sugar-Free Life Savers in the 1980s opened the brand up to new health-conscious consumers. Today, sugar-free rolls continue to be a vital part of Life Saver’s diverse product mix. They provide the classic sweet flavor people love, now with fewer calories and carbohydrates. This allows people with dietary restrictions, like diabetes, to still enjoy Life Savers.

While sugar-free candies have downsides like gastrointestinal effects in excess, they offer an occasional treat option for consumers wanting to reduce sugar. Life Savers has demonstrated a steady commitment to pleasing customers regardless of their dietary needs. With some creativity and continued marketing outreach to health-minded shoppers, Sugar-Free Life Savers are poised for a bright future. For generations to come, when people need a candy pick-me-up, this iconic treat can deliver tasty, guilt-free indulgence.

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