How many licks does it REALLY take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know. Right? Who remembers seeing that commercial, the one with the little boy and Mr. Owl? I know I do.
Did you know that the commercial is actually a lot longer than the one we know and love today? The original commercial has the little boy first talk to a cow, then a fox, a turtle, and finally Mr. Owl. After this campaign came out, different groups of people decided to test how many licks it really took. Purdue University, University of Michigan, and Swarthmore Junior High School all did experiments of their own. Purdue found that it took 364 licks for a licking machine that they had built, but 252 licks from some of their volunteers.
On the other hand, Michigan’s licking machine took 411 licks to reach the center. Swarthmore did everything with human tongues, reaching an average of 144 licks. So after reading about all of these fascinating experiments, I decided that I wanted to get in on the fun. I gathered my people, gave them all lollipops, and we were on our way. I expected us to reach an average of about 500 licks per pop, but the results proved otherwise.
I enlisted 10 people, myself included, between the ages of 14 and 24, to help me discover how many licks it took to get to the center of the tootsie pop. To advance the experiment, I gave out regular Tootsie Pops, chocolate Tootsie Pops, candy cane Tootsie Pops, and Charms Blow Pops. I gave each person two pops and had them record the number of licks it took to reach the center of each one, while only licking one side of it. Although it may seem fun, the lollipops took a toll on everyone rather quickly.
My oldest sibling said their headache started around 560 licks on the candy cane Tootsie Pop. They had fun anyway though, saying that they “love that last part getting the remains off the stick, like the last meat from a chicken wing.” The general consensus was that everyone’s tongues hurt and that they all desperately needed water. No one was happy at the end. I got statements from my friends like “it was totally bland”, “the orange became worse at the end”, and “my tongue went numb!” All in all, the experiment was very hard to get through, but I’m glad we did it.
Tootsie Pops were invented in 1931 by the Tootsie company, who had been producing Tootsie Rolls for many years already. There are a bajillion flavors of Tootsie Pops, including: cherry, grape, orange, chocolate, raspberry, blue raspberry, strawberry watermelon, lemon, pomegranate, caramel, wild cherry berry, wild apple berry, wild blueberry, wild blackberry, and wild mango berry. Even the Tootsie Pop wrappers have a large variety of things going on on them. There are kids playing tennis, baseball, swimming, and running, but the most special wrappers are the ones with the Native American shooting a star. Although there is nothing actually important about the slightly rare wrappers, it is still fun to make a wish on each shooting star.
So when the experiment was done, the results were not at all what I expected. The average number of licks it took to get to the center of the regular Tootsie Pop was 678. It took 881 to reach the center of the chocolate Tootsie Pop. To reach the center of the candy cane one, it took about 617 licks. The Charms Blow Pops took 638 licks to reach the center. What makes the chocolate ones take so many more licks? Why were all the others in the 600-700 lick range? Why did anyone even agree to help with this experiment in the first place? So many questions surround Tootsie Pops.
The truth is that each Tootsie Pop and Blow Pop is made differently, so there will never be a definitive answer about how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsie Pop. So the world really may never know. If you feel the need to test this yourself or are just craving some sugar on a stick, you can buy Tootsie Pops right here on our site. Make sure to comment your favorite flavors down below. I hope you have a licktastic day!