In 2016, I was having a conversation when I mentioned Certs. The person I was speaking to asked me what Certs were, and I responded the only way I knew how, “The most famous mint out there. They sell them at very gas station, drug store, and grocery store.”
My mind was blown. Who doesn’t know about Certs? Sure, there was a slight age difference, but not that much. Certs are mega popular! How could you missed all the commercials or displays at the store?
I decided to pick up some Certs for old times’ sake and I’m sure you know where this is going. I went to the grocery store, and I couldn’t find them. So, I stopped a drug store, where I also found no Certs. Then I went to a couple gas stations, and guess what? Certs were nowhere to be found.
My research online didn’t really reveal much, other than the price of Certs on Amazon was a little excessive. Someone mentioned that Dollar General sometimes stocked them, so I decided to map out the closest Dollar Generals and see if I could find Certs. It took five stores, but I finally found some wintergreen Certs. Success!
The following weekend, I made my way to Chicago for Wizard World and the hotel gift shop had some old boxes of Certs. I bought the last rolls of Cinnamon and Spearmint that they had, both of which had been expired for several months. I had already emailed Mondelez International to inquire where I could purchase Certs and I never got a response. It seemed like Certs has been discontinued.
I spent the next several months looking for Certs everywhere I went, but I found no more. How could America’s most popular mint die such a quiet death? I sent more emails and Tweets, but the answer alluded me.
Last week, I bought some Breath savers and I thought about Certs once more. I decided to reopen my investigation to what happened to Certs, and Wikipedia may have given me an answer:
Certs were discontinued in 2018 possibly due to an ingredient partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, which is not allowed to be sold in food in the United States.
While that may be true, I’m sure if Certs were selling well, they could find a way around that. I think the reason for Certs discontinuation may have been influenced by cell phones, which have hurt gum sales. People stand in line and look at their phone instead of impulse buying items at the checkout line, and that has effect gum sales dramatically. I must imagine mint sales have also been hurt.
I always find it interesting what people get nostalgic about online. It seems like a topic or two will get popular, circulate on social media, and make it onto dozens of Buzzfeed lists. Surprisingly, you won’t find Certs on any of them. Certs just slowly disappeared, and no one made a fuss.
I enjoyed Certs as a kid and even a few years ago, I was shocked by how good they were. Technically, they were a candy and not a mint, due to their excessive sugar content so that might explain it.
Whenever I think about Certs, I think about my grandmother’s boyfriend. He was a businessman, always dressed in a suit and looking nice. He also always carried a roll of Certs around in his pocket. I’m sure it was to make sure his clients weren’t hit with a dose of coffee breath, but it was also a great way to win over kids like me and my brother who gleefully accepted a Cert whenever we saw him.
I’m going to go ahead and consider the case of Certs closed. An ingredient ban along with declining sales are going to be my answer to why Certs are no more. It’s a bummer, but luckily Breath savers are pretty darn good.