Otter Pops vs. Freeze Pops: Twitter Users Debate the Real Name of Popular Popsicle Tubes

We've all had them. Elementary school teachers used to give them out to giddy, energetic students to cool them down during the final summer weeks of school. Moms keep them piled high in the freezer and routinely hand them out to quench the thirst of sweaty little kids on blistering hot days. You've likely sat on your front porch and sucked down dozens of them in one sitting throughout adolescence and adulthood because one wasn't enough as a kid and it's certainly not enough now that you're grown. We're talking about the—cue the nostalgia—flavorful, candy-colored freeze pops wrapped in that clear plastic tube.

But what are they called? A debate over the name of the American summertime staple raged on Twitter after some users referred to the popular popsicles as Otter Pops on Monday.

The name Otter Pop was a shocker for some fans of the beloved ice treat. Names like Freeze Pops, Freezies, Icees, Ice Pops, Pop Ice, Fla Vor Ice and Zooper Dooper were listed by hundreds of commenters. Although names varied from one Twitter user to the next, one thing was clear: What you refer to the frozen ice as depended completely on where you're from.

There may be some name clarification in the history of the iconic treat.

Freeze pops originated in the U.S. in the early 1960s. A company called Pop-Ice initially helmed the frozen treat. However, Pop-Ice was bought by snack food and beverage giant Jel Sert in 1969.

After Illinois-based Jel Sert squired Pop-Ice, the sweet treat was re-branded in the Midwest and East Coast as Fla-Vor-Ice and quickly became the company's best selling brand. The popularity of Fla-vor-ice resulted in Jel Sert eyeing other freeze pop markets, and the company set eyes on Otter Pops, a Southern California brand that filled freezers up and down the West Coast. Jel Sert bought Otter Pops in 1996, and from that deal, became the largest distributor of freeze pops in the U.S.

While other brands are still available like Kool Ice, Good Pop and—if you live in Australia—Zooper Dooper, Jel Serts' freeze pops remain the dominant distributor in the U.S.

Although the most notable brand of the popsicles is owned by the same company, the name still varies depending on if you live on the East Coast or the West Coast.

"Fla-vor-ice is East of the Rockies and Otter Pops is West of the Rockies," Gavin Wegner, marketing manager at Jel Sert, told Eater in 2018. "We were the first in the market with Fla-vor-ice, with this concept. So similar to Kleenex or Xerox, it was nice to be able to have that identity early on, where the brand name pretty much becomes the product itself."

Throughout the U.S. the actual brand names of these things are still referred to by generic nicknames. A poll conducted by Buzzfeed in 2015 asked hundreds of thousands of readers to vote on what they called the popsicles, and freeze pops won a majority of the vote.

Unlike the standard fruity popsicles, Bomb Pops and Fudgesicles that came on a stick and made your face and clothes a colorful mess melting away as you ate them, freeze pops completely avoided the chaos of sticky hands thanks to its plastic wrapper. Sold unfrozen, the unfrozen thin plastic pouches contain sweet juice and have to be placed in the freezer where they'll then turn into popsicles. Sealed on both ends, eaters have to rip open one side once the cold treat is frozen and inch the ice out to enjoy them.

Otter Pops vs. Freeze Pops: Twitter Users Debate the Real Name of Popular Popsicle Tubes | Culture