Nothing says childhood quite like PEZ. There’s something nostalgic about these familiar little treats that bring back memories of yesteryear with each and every bite. But would you believe that your favorite PEZ didn’t start out as the fruity candy we know and love today? It’s true! In fact, this is one candy that has a history that may surprise you.
Pfefferminz to PEZ
Eduard Haas III invented PEZ in 1927, in Vienna, Austria. The name of the candy originated from the German word for peppermint, which happens to be “pfeffermintz.” Haas took the ‘p,’ ‘e,’ and ‘z’ from the German word to get the candy’s name, PEZ. And after eight years, the company was doing so well that they had to build a factory in Czechoslovakia to increase production.
PEZ For Your Health
Then in 1948, Oscar Uxa revolutionized the PEZ experience, designing a PEZ dispenser that allowed one piece of candy to be dispensed at a time. This was a sanitary measure that prevented people from touching every piece of candy before choosing one. However, it also doubled as an anti-smoking campaign.
The push for people to eat PEZ instead of smoking a cigarette was a real one. In fact, early slogans for the candy boasted, “No smoking, PEZing Allowed” as Haas hoped his candy might lower smoking rates.
PEZ in the USA
It wasn’t until 1952 that PEZ made their way to the United States. In that year, the first U.S. PEZ headquarters were established in New York City. Despite PEZ’s success in Europe, Curtis Allina, the first president of PEZ in the U.S., found the candy difficult to sell because of the strong peppermint flavor. So, in an attempt to draw children to the brand, PEZ came up with the idea to create fruity flavored versions and cute, character-themed dispensers.
The idea worked. In no time, children and adults alike were in love with PEZ. The very first dispensers available were a Full-body Santa, Robot, and Space Gun. And since then, the character-themed dispensers have really taken off! Today, there are countless different PEZ dispensers to choose from, and ten different candy flavors available. We have Hello Kitty PEZ Dispensers, Marvel Superhero PEZ dispensers, and everything in between. There really is a PEZ for everybody.
And while PEZ are sold worldwide, the PEZ candy that you eat in the USA is made in America. So with a single satisfying click of any PEZ dispenser, you can feel good knowing that the candy in your mouth is really much closer to home than you would expect.