Archive for the ‘Candy History’ Category
Denture Danger: 7
Not to be confused with the 90’s rock band, lemonheads are a small ball of a hard candy coated in a soft sugary layer that adds the bang to the tang.
The big lemon heads are good, I mean who doesn’t like one of their favorite candies in monster size, but they don’t have the same tang as the small original lemon heads that you get in the concessions box at the movies. It has to do with the ratio of hard candy center to the soft sour outer shell.
The original lemonheads have a perfect ratio that blends well whether you chew it up your let it melt away in your mouth. The big lemon head has a thick sour coating that is delicious, but is gone well before the large ball of candy.
Lemonheads originated in 1962 from the Ferrara Pan Company using the same method used to make Red Hots. The hard candy center is made by mixing and heating sugar and corn syrup, pulling and kneading the dough-like clump of sugar to aerate it, and forming it into a rope that is pressed between two rollers that form the candy balls.
After cooling, the balls are put into the same revolving pan that Ferrara’s atomic fireballs were put into, a process known as the cold panned process. As the candy beads spin around and around corn syrup and sugar are added which gives them a sugary coating that continues to build in layers to form the shell as the pan continues to spin and more ingredients are added.
Through my personal experience I have seen Lemonheads hoarded by kids and I have seen them being shared amongst friends. One little Lemonhead holds the same sweet and sour satisfaction as ten so don’t hesitate to dish out Lemonheads to your envious friends. Approximately 500 million lemonheads are created by the Ferrara Pan Company each year, get out there and eat your share.
Denture Danger: 7
The Swedish Fish, as the name implies originated in Sweden by the Malaco candy company.
In 1958 the Malaco company began exporting some of their candy goods to North America starting with licorices. In the late 60s into the early 70s Malaco started exporting Swedish fish and Swedish berries (the same candy shaped as berries and, sadly, now discontinued) which were altered slightly to appeal to the North American market.
The Swedish fish are now made by the Cadbury Adams Company in Canada and are distributed all over the US. The winegum Swedish fish candies are a popular concession candy and are loved by people of all ages world-wide, especially in Sweden.
Winegum candies are very popular in Sweden are made in many different shapes including flowers, cars, coins, and boats. In Sweden the candy is called “Pastellfiskar” which literally means “pale colored fishes.” The original red fish is of an almost indistinguishable flavor that in my opinion seems to be a mix between cherry and strawberry.
Swedish fish come in different sizes (as there are all different sized fish in the sea) and in different flavors (as does most candy). You can find yellow lemon, green lime, orange orange, and purple grape Swedish fish flavors if the original read doesn’t tingle your taste buds. Forget paying for overpriced Swedish fish at the movie theatre, prepare ahead of time and order your Pastellfiskars from candyfavorites.com.
Denture Danger: 10 (what can I say? It is gum)
Dubble Bubble was first invented in 1928 by a man named Walter E. Diemer, an accountant at Fleer chewing gum company. Diemer experimented with chewing gum recipes and one day accidentally created a less sticky, more stretchable gum, and best of all, it made bubbles!
Beginning in 1930 the gum was wrapped up with a comic strip about twin brothers Dub and Bub. Dubble Bubble was even a part of military rations during World War II. It wasn’t long before the gum was wrapped without the accompaniment of a comic strip and put on the shelf next to a variety of Dubble Bubble flavors including grape, watermelon, and apple. The newer flavors all pale in comparison to the original bubble gum flavor.
The colorful yellow, blue, red, white, and pink Dubble Bubble wrapper is an automatic attraction to the eyes. You pull the ends and out spins a bright pink cylinder chunk that you get to toss into your mouth. The first few chews are a little tough on the jaw, but the juicy bubble gum flavor leaks out as the chunk of gum becomes softer and easier to chew.
Then you get to stretch out the gum around your tongue and blow your best bubble. The gum is slightly thicker than other gums which makes the bubble’s walls more durable and stretchable for bubble blowing. It may loose its flavor but it never looses the chewy bubbleable consistency.
My friend Mark had been chewing a piece of Dubble Bubble for a little while before he randomly blurted out: “I really like this gum!” When I pressed him for why he said, “It’s really chewy and has a lot of flavor and it is not the standard bubble gum taste.” I couldn’t have said it better myself! So if you aren’t feeling up for a piece of candy, grab a piece of Dubble Bubble Bubble Gum instead and blow away.
I have always been a fan on innovation and few companies have captured my imagination more than Brach’s Candy.
It is not that this company is the most innovative in terms of their current offerings but they surely have shaped the way candy is consumed and marketed.
In 1904, Emil Brach immigrated to United States and opened his first candy store in the Windy City of Chicago. The first product offered was Caramels, known today as Milk Maid Caramel Squares, and Mr. Brach was the first to use mass production to create candy combining high quality and a low price.
While the latter might not be the case today, one would be hard pressed to find a better manufacturer of butterscotch disks, candy corn or ice blue mint coolers to name but a few of their better known products.
While the candy speak for itself, few realize that Brach’s was the first to introduce the concept of purchasing candy en masse which lead to the creation of the bulk candy industry which now is taken for granted.
Many companies claim to have offered the first “penny candy” but it was Brach’s that created the infrastructure allowing for self service and different varieties of loose candy.
The concept was called “Pick and Mix” and combined “old school” displays such as barrels, jars and scoops, a precursor to what is now found in Supermarkets around the globe!
McKeesport Candy Co. was one of the first candy wholesalers in the nation to offer bulk candy and we were one of the first distributors of Brach’s dating back to our first purchase in the 1930’s.
Candy manufacturers have come and gone and Brach’s has changed corporate ownership quite a few times in it’s one hundred and five (105) year history but few companies have such a loyal following nor such a sweet history.
Please share with us your favorite memory of Brach’s Candy and, if chosen, we will send you a $10 Sweet Certificate which you can apply to any order on CandyFavorites.com
What comes around goes around and this applies to the beloved, and elusive, Chocolate Tootsie Pops.
In 1931, fueled by the success of the soft “chocolaty” Tootsie Roll, an employee of the Sweets Company of America – renamed Tootsie Roll Industries in 1966 – decided to encase the famous candy in a hard candy shell and thus Tootsie Pops were inadvertently born. These famous lollipops were a precursor to what is now called “novelty candy” as they were advertised as candy with a prize center.
I am sure that the inventor, Luke Weisgram, never imagined that the company would eventually produce twenty (20) million lollipops daily!
The first flavor was chocolate which remains the most sought after flavor as any supermarket bulk candy bin will silently attest. Today, despite literally dozens of flavors, Chocolate Tootsie Pops remain an elusive treat.
As to the proverbial question of “how many licks does it take to get to center of a Tootsie Roll Pop,” a group of engineering students from Purdue University recorded that their licking machine, modeled after a human tongue, took an average of 364 licks to get to the center! So much for the beloved Tootsie Mascot, Mr. Owl’s claim of “the world may never know…”
As for the urban legend that if you receive a Tootsie Pop with a Native American aiming a bow and arrow, Tootsie Pop Industries will give you free candy, we are sad to report that like so many legends, this remains more fiction than fact, however, if you contact Tootsie Roll Industries and tell them how many licks it takes to finish your Tootsie Pop, the will send you a Clean Stick Certificate.
PS: Ironically, I noticed that boxes from the manufacturer are now bearing the following, “Watch for new flavors added to our mix.” Stay tuned, as this will surely be the topic of another entry….
Despite hundreds of unwrapped bulk items, Gummi Bears remain one of our best selling items and, love or hate them; they are a candy with a unique taste and history.
Gummi Bears were created in Germany during the 1920’s by Hans Riegel, the founder of Haribo, and were originally called Tanzbar which loosely translates to “dancing bear.”
The original gummi dancing bear was longer and leaner than today’s gummi bears and an unsubstantiated claim is that this influenced one of the logo’s of the famous pop band, The Grateful Dead. It wasn’t until 1951 that the design changed to the current style.
An interesting piece of overlooked trivia is that the name HARIBO is an amalgamation of the owner’s first name (HA), his last name name (RI) and a tribute to the town in Germany, Bonn, (BO) where the company was located.
Haribo Gummi Bears were quite a rarity as the original ones, known as Gold Bears, were imported and had “cult status”. It wasn’t until 1982 that Haribo began producing gummi candies in America.
Despite a World War and three (3) generation of ownership, Haribo remains one of the largest gummi candy producers in the world creating approximately eighty (80) million gummi bears a day for global distribution!
Herman Goelitz, of Jelly Belly fame, is also credited with making the first gummi bear; however, a distinction needs to be noted as he was the first person to make Gummi Bears in North America which occurred in 1981.
Cracker Jacks have been an American icon ever since their introduction in 1893 at the World’s Fair in Chicago. Their name was given by a bystander who said, “That’s a Cracker, Jack” when he had his first taste!
Nineteen (19) years passed and in 1912, the first toy “surprise” was included and this is one of the first examples of a company marketing a “limited” edition” which has become commonplace in the candy industry in the past few year…
1918 was another banner year for branding as Sailor Jack and his beloved mascot Bingo were introduced.
Perhaps the piece of trivia that I find most intriguing is that Cracker Jacks were one of the first products to actively benefit from subtle product placement which has become the norm. Think of ET and Reese’s Pieces or Ronald Reagan and Jelly Bellies and this will give you an idea of where the trend started.
According to Mike Pesca, a correspondent for National Public Radio, the inclusion of the famous lines, “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks” in the 1908 classic “ Take Me Out to the Ball Game” generates approximately $25 million dollars worth of free advertising!
The boxes have become increasingly difficult to source but, like peanuts, they remain a staple of American summers and long nights at baseball games….
By the way, if you can tell us which rock star mentions Cracker Jacks in one of his songs, please let us know and we will send you a $10 Sweetcertificate!
Are you still searching for Lik-M-Aid?
True candy lovers know that the classic “lick and dip” candy known as Lik-M-Aid was introduced in 1942 and disappeared in the late 1980’s only to reemerge as Fun Dip.
The candy was always intended for dipping but the iconic “dipping stick” known affectionately as Lik-A-Stick was not added until the 1970’s. The actual flavor remains a mystery and a subject of debate.
As for the powdered sugar ,different variations have been introduced throughout the years and they remain similar to what is found in Pixy Sticks which ,ironically, is owned by the same company, Nestle USA, and featured in their Willy Wonka line..
Despite all, one thing is often overlooked and that is that Fun Dip is a candy with an illustrious, close to seventy year (70) old, history. If you look closely at current packaging, you will see that Fun Dip still pays homage to its original namesake as well it should!
Having spent my life surrounded by candy, I have to admit that I am a fan of the history of the many products that we sell. New candies are introduced regularly yet few survive long enough to make it to the shelves let alone qualify for having a history.
I stumbled across the curious origins of Milk Duds which I thought readers would enjoy. Little do many realize that this candy was, in some regards, a fortuitous mistake.
In 1928, the defunct F.Hoffman and Co., of Chicago, one of the original inventors of chocolate covered caramels was purchased by an entrepreneur named Milton J.Holloway who had an idea to create a round piece of candy which was nothing more than caramel enrobed with high quality milk chocolate.
Despite numerous tries and due to manufacturing limitations, it was impossible to create a round candy and thus all of their tries produced nothing except irregular shaped pieces that they called “duds.”
Despite best intentions, they were never able to produce their dream BUT they realized that the product was delicious nevertheless….
Fast forward sixty eight years and Hershey Chocolates took ownership of this brand from Leaf Confections and changed the formula from cocoa butter to a “lesser priced oil substitute” and therefore it is no longer, technically, a milk chocolate based product.
Despite changes of ownership, a formula change and 84 years of trial and error, Milk Duds remain one of the best selling candies in the world, a personal favorite ,and a historic candy icon .
Lest I forget, we were one of the first candy wholesalers in the nation to offer this oh so irregular yet oh so good candy long before it was considered retro…
Mc Craws Taffy disappeared from the shelves of candy stores about two (2) years ago without explanation. The phone number for the original manufacturer was disconnected and rumors circulated as to whether this classic taffy would ever be available again.
A few months ago, it was announced that the original owners were back in business and candy lovers rejoiced!
Why the fuss you ask?
Mc Craw’s Old Fashioned Taffy Sticks have been a cult item ever since their accidental discovery in 1900. They are colorful, great tasting and oh so retro.
Originally, the company sold popcorn and the taffy was introduced as something to compliment the line. Ironically, as time passed, the fame of the taffy grew and the popcorn business dwindled.
Ironically, when the company changed ownership last year – the original owner sold the company and then repurchased it – they found themselves closed on their hundredth anniversary which is sad as this would have guaranteed them a place in the pantheon of oldest candy manufacturers in the United States.
Regardless, despite this ever so brief hiatus, the box still states that they have been “ticklin’ the taste buds since 1908” and that these taffy sticks are “ lovingly crafted by the fine folks in Farmersville, Texas.”
As the slogan goes, “try to eat a piece without smiling….” We wish you the best of luck in this endeavor….