America has always had a sweet tooth. Long before it was a name on a map, the first inhabitants enjoyed maple syrup as a snack. European settlers introduced a whole host of sugary snacks that they had brought with them from the Old World. Most of these treats were sweet meats or confectionaries, though they were often referred to as candy.
Sugar candy was popular and widely available in early America. Many people made treats like licorice, marshmallows, marzipan, pralines, and sugar plums at home and served them for dessert. Before long, candies that could be sold individually, like peppermints, were offered at general stores, often for a penny.
The Industrial Revolution took candy out of the home and into the factories. By the middle of the 19th century, there were more than four hundred of them that made, packaged and shipped nothing but candy. Sales skyrocketed as skilled chocolatiers and creative candy men introduced iconic new products and brands.
The first major candy milestone in America was made by Whitman, who introduced the first box of chocolates in 1854. A few years later, candy corn, Tootsie Rolls, and cotton candy were invented. These newfangled treats could be found at most country fairs and carnivals across the land by the turn of the century.
The world famous Hershey's chocolate bar was introduced in 1900 and was followed a few years later by Hershey's Kisses. According to candy historians (yes, there are such people!), this was the beginning of the golden age of candy when most of the treats we enjoy to this day were first introduced. Between 1900 and 1950, names like Baby Ruth, Milky Way, Snickers, M & Ms, Milk Duds, Reese's, Red Hots, Junior Mints, and many, many more entered the American lexicon.
Where are we now?
Candy is an enormous industry in the United States, though it has always been highly seasonal. Americans dole out nearly six hundred million pounds of candy on Halloween alone, about two pounds for every citizen. That's around 1.8 billion dollars in sweets! They also buy over two billion candy canes to hang on their trees and stuff into stockings on Christmas. Then there's Easter and Valentine's Day, which are definitely chocolate-centric holidays. All told, Americans spend several billion dollars on candy each year.
Who is it for?
Candy has always and will always be more popular with kids. Most adults simply cannot enjoy it on a regular basis. Its high sugar content and empty calories can be hard on the hips. But even though they don't eat that much of it, adults are responsible for most candy purchases. And when they buy, they tend to buy the brands they know, the ones they enjoyed as kids. In this article we are going to take a look at a few iconic candy boxes from the past.
The most interesting thing about candies is how they get their names. For instance, the Baby Ruth bar was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, not for baseball legend Babe Ruth, as many incorrectly assume. Created in 1922, the Charleston Chew was named after the Charleston, a popular dance at the time, not the city in South Carolina. Though it was never the top-selling candy bar on the market, it did have a loyal following that has kept it on the shelves for nearly ninety years now. In addition to the original vanilla-flavored taffy, there are now new, or relatively new, flavors like chocolate, strawberry and banana. Many parents teach their children to freeze them, which results in a new experience, since they shatter when you bite into them.
Good & Plenty
Good & Plenty is the oldest candy brand in North America. The cylindrical sweet licorice pieces coated in hard candy shells have been sold commercially since 1893. Originally produced by the Quaker City Confectionery Company, they are now manufactured by the second-oldest candy brand in the country, Hershey Foods. Though Good & Plenty boxes have been on the shelves for well over a century, they are still popular with kids. Millions of Americans children receive them on Halloween and purchase boxes throughout the year.
Introduced during the height of the chocolate bar craze, the Clark bar became a popular treat that has been in continuous production since 1916. Though it is similar to the more visible Butterfinger bar with its milk chocolate and peanut butter filing, the Clark bar was actually created first. It was named after its creator and the founder of the D.L. Clark Company, David Clark. The classic treat is available in milk and dark chocolate varieties.
Classic candy boxes can be purchased at retail stores or at a discount from reliable online sellers. Find your favorites and stock up for the holidays today!
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