Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Sweet Sweets History

The world has seen innumerable sweets come and go through the years and it’s almost difficult to come up with an accurate picture of how the industry actually grew from when and where it started. However, looking back just may be a fun and sweet thing to do.

Whitman Chocolates first hit the market in 1800’s. And then on Valentine’s day, Richard Cadbury came out with the first-ever box of chocolates. By 1898, the Goelitz Confectionery Company’s candy corn took the market by storm and has done so longer than any other candy ever invented.. And then there’s Juicy Fruit and Wrigley's Spearmint Chewing Gum which debuted in 1893, followed three years later by Tootsie Rolls as introduced by Leo Hirshfield of New York.

By the 1900s, Hershey’s chocolate bar became a hit after it was introduced by Milton Hershey of Pensylvannia. It is, in fact, considered one of the oldest candy bars that continue to be such favorites these days. A year later, pure peppermint stick candy "The King Leo" became popular. At about the same time, NECCO or New England Confectionery Company wafers, those colorful candy disks, came out in the market, later became known as the "first conversation heart" and carries on today as a Valentine’s Day staple.

In 1905, the Squirrel Nut Zipper became the first peanut bar ever made. A year later, Hershey Bar Chocolate Kisses became popular in those silver foil wraps. Peppermint flavored Life Savers became favorites by 1912. And then came the Goo Goo Clusters with such great combinations of milk chocolate, caramel, marshmallow and peanuts.

In the 1920’s, the first retail candy store surfaced in Chicago with candy bars that still make us drool today - Baby Ruth, the Milky Way, Bit-O-Honey and Milk Duds, among others. And then there was the Snicker Bar in 1930. Then the first so-called “novelty candies” came out as Tootsie Roll Pops which were a combination of two candies rolled into one.

In 1990, MARS Candy Bar was given a new name. It now became Snickers Almond Crunch which had exactly the same taste with only the name changing. The Musketeers Bar, with its three-flavor goodness composed of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry nougats, first came out in 1932 and lasted for thirteen years. Cinammon-heavy Red Hots came out in 1932, followed by Hershey’s Miniatures. By the 1940’s, the public raved about the first M&M's" Plain Chocolate candies which, after fifty-nine years, were renamed simply as M & M’s . Then came Smarties candy roll wafers, Junior Mints, and E! Bubble Bubble Gum Cigars.

By the 1950’s, the candy industry was in a slump with only three new brands introduced, the Marshmallow Peeps (Just Born, Inc.), Bobs Candy Canes, and Candy Necklaces, a retro sweet classic. Then, healthy candy became a hot topic in 1960. M&M Mars came out with Starburst Fruit Chews which later contained Vitamin C. Blammo, the world first sugar-free bubble gum, came out along with Lemonheads, Apple Heads, Grape Heads and Orange Heads. Sweetarts were in the picture by 1963. And then came the Jelly Bellies in 1976, gummy bears and gummy worms, Twix Caramel Cookie Candy Bar, Skittle Bite Size candies, DOVE Dark Chocolate and DOVE Milk Chocolate Bars, Starburst Jelly Beans and the Snickers Munch Bar. Of course, the Hershey Company wouldn’t be left in the race. They came out with Reeses Pieces after they made waves with their Reese Peanut Butter Cups.

The candy industry has been around longer than all of us and it’s nice to know where those sweets that played a huge part in our childhood take root. Thankfully, most of these candies, particularly the retro sweets, are still very much available in any retro sweetshop you can find online and off.


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