The origin of Milk Duds

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 by Jon
Mild Duds - An American Candy Icon
Mild Duds – An American Candy Icon

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…

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9 Responses to “The origin of Milk Duds”

  1. Mickey says:

    I think that this is a very interesting topic and should be more widely spread I think that more people would buy milk duds if they knew this.

  2. I love this article I would like to publish this in my news paper The Portland Press Harold
    I will contact you that is why I haven’t given you an addres expect a call on the first of november.

  3. Dave says:

    That is really interesting, I think more people would appreciate candy more if you made articles about their origins. It is really cool that this candy’s name reflects what it is.

  4. Kevin Dean says:

    I love the milk duds because they are good at any time

  5. David says:

    I guess awesomeness is not defined by perfection. This”Dud” is awesome.

  6. Carrie Lee Austin says:

    Hello Candy Makers,
    I collect candy bar wrappers and have been since the 1970′s. I have over 2000 from 54 countries! I LOVE the Duds too! And they hold a place in my collection. I don’t have the one shown on this site, but mine are from the 70′s & 80′s. It’s the only MOVIE candy I eat along with a buttered popcorn. I don’t know if you could send me any flat boxes you have laying around but I would love to add one from your company. I keep them in 16 photo albums! It’s a strange hobby but I enjoy it.
    Keep making those duds and please DON’T change the formula!!!

  7. ms.g says:

    can you guys put more facts i am doing an essay and i need to know if there was any problems wit milk duds or any specific changes. thank you- ms.g

  8. MINNEY MOUSE says:

    well i agree they should put more facts and lol i am doing an essay too!!

  9. sam says:

    Holloway wasn’t actually the brain behind the candy, just the money. The idea itself should be credited Sean le Noble.

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