A favorite of young and old alike, National Hard Candy Day is observed annually on December 19.
Most hard candies are 100% sugar with flavoring and colors added.
- The first hard candies such as lemon drops and peppermints were likely prescribed as a remedy for stomach ailments.
- Hard candy became popular in the seventeenth century as sugar prices fell. Previously, hard candy was something that only the well-to-do could afford. By the mid-1800s, over 400 companies were manufacturing this popular treat.
- In 2015, Jolly Ranch surpassed Werther’s Original as the best selling hard candy. Other popular hard candies include Dum Dum Pops, Life Savers, Tootsie Roll Pops and Charms Blow Pop.
- The word “candy” comes from ancient Indian Sanskrit. Khanda means “a piece of sugar.” Years later, the Arabic version moved one step closer with qandi. The Middle English word “candy” began to be used in the late 13th century.
- The first candy came to America in the early 18th century from Britain and France. Only a few of the early colonists were proficient in sugar work and were able to provide the sugary treats for the very wealthy. Rock candy, made from crystallized sugar, was the simplest form of candy, but even this basic form of sugar was considered a luxury and was only attainable by the rich.
- In 1847, the invention of the candy press made it possible to produce multiple shapes and sizes of candy at once.
- Rock candy was a happy accident of a Scottish hard candy maker. A Dutch man invented the first hard chocolate candy in 1844. The first chocolate candy bars were made by Joseph Fry in 1847 using bittersweet chocolate. Milk chocolate was first introduced in 1875 by Henry Nestle and Daniel Peter. Candies like peppermint and lemon drops became popular near the beginning of the 20th century.
- Not only are M&Ms the most popular candy in the United States, M&Ms are the most popular candy in the world.
- Americans buy approximately 600 million pounds of candy for Halloween every year.
- SOUR PATCH KIDS HAVE OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD ORIGINS. Initially dubbed Mars Men, these Canadian creations were inspired by the growing fascination with UFOs in the ’70s. However, when they made their way to the U.S. in 1985, the name was changed to Sour Patch Kids, to reflect a more timely American obsession: Cabbage Patch Kids.
- THE “LOLLI” IN LOLLIPOP PROBABLY DOESN’T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT DOES. While many believe that the word for the handheld candy comes from ice-lollies (also known as ice pops or popsicles), which hang downward as they melt, that’s not the case. Instead, lolly is an Old English dialect term for the tongue.
- DOVE CHOCOLATE IS THE MOST POPULAR CANDY IN CHINA. The chocolate company may be headquartered in the United States, but it scores high marks overseas. By some estimates, about 34 percent of the chocolate consumed in China is made by Dove.
- BEING ABLE TO HOLD A PEZ DISPENSER WITH ONE HAND WAS A DESIGN GOAL. The flip-top dispenser has a very deliberate design. According to the original patent, the one-hand opening was “important not only for persons having only one hand but also persons who often have only one hand free (for example motor-vehicle drivers), or whose occupation causes their hands to become smeared with dirt.”
- Less than two percent of the calories in the American diet are supplied by candy.
- Germans consume twice as much candy as Americans.
- Tootsie Rolls were added to soldiers’ rations during World War II due to their durability in all weather conditions.
- During Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration, Jelly Belly served more than 3 tons of jelly beans!