What Was The Most Popular Candy The Year You Were Born?
I figure with Halloween upon us, you may have been giving at least a little bit of thought to the topic of candy.
If not, I'm assuming you're one of those Joe Dredge-type people who turns out the porch light during trick-or-treating hours.
If you have had candy on the brain lately, this will be far more interesting to you than to Joe.
Readers Digest has a piece up at their website that details what the most popular candies were over the last 90 or so years here in the United States and other parts of the world. Let's take a look back, and see what everyone was reaching for in certain years:
1921: Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews
Although Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews were invented in 1917—as a high-protein energy ration for World War I troops—they weren’t available for retail sale until 1921, at which point they exploded onto the American scene with their patriotic origins story and their nutty, nougatty flavor that, come to think of it, has a lot in common with today’s big favorite, the Snickers bar (except Goldenberg’s was made with bittersweet chocolate, not milk chocolate).
Bit-O-Honey, a chewy candy with a honey-nut flavor that’s a primal hark-back to the candy-stylings of ancient times, was introduced in 1924. Now owned by Nestlé, it’s still popular to this day.
1925: BB Bats Taffy Suckers
1926: Milky Way
The Milky Way bar was invented in 1923 to be a “Chocolate Malted Milk In a Candy Bar.” It took three years of research but caught on quickly, and by 1926 was the most popular filled-chocolate bar.
1928: Baby Ruth
Baby Ruth, the iconic American candy bar made of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate flavored nougat, covered in chocolate was most likely named for Babe Ruth, the baseball star, who in 1921 when this candy bar was invented, was already stealing headlines as well as bases. However, likely to get around compensating Ruth, the makers claimed it was named after President Grover Cleveland’s late daughter. By 1928, it was the most popular five-cent candy in the United States.
1931: Tootsie Roll Pops
Leo Hirschfeld invented Tootsie Rolls in 1896 and named them for his daughter, Clara (her nickname was “Tootsie”). They were sold as penny candy and didn’t get a huge amount of attention until 1931 when Tootsie Pops were introduced. To this day, it’s believed that no one has ever been able to figure out “how many licks” it takes to reach the center!
1932: 3 Musketeers
In 1932, the 3 Musketeers bar was a three-flavor candy bar, consisting of one vanilla-, one chocolate-, and one strawberry-nougat-filled piece. Its clever marketing as “the candy so big you can share it with two friends” made it an instant hit, but during World War II, with sugar rationing ratcheting production prices higher, the Mars company decided to go with all chocolate to help keep costs down.
1937: Kit Kat
“The four finger chocolate covered wafer was first released in London in 1935 under the name Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp,” according to 24/7 Wall Street, but it didn’t take off in popularity until two years later, when it was renamed “Kit Kat” and the word “break” (as in “break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar”) became part of its marketing.
1938: Nestlé Crunch
Nestlé Crunch was invented in Fulton, New York, in 1938, and originally sold for five cents as “Nestlé’s Crunch” milk chocolate bar with crisped rice, according to the Nestlé company. What made it so unique was its crisped-rice filling. Previously, candy bar fillings had always been “rich” (nuts, caramel, cream, nougat, etc.).
1939: Hershey’s Miniatures
1942: Whitman’s Chocolate Samplers
1945: Tootsie Rolls
Tootsie Rolls had been invented in 1896, but they became a patriotic favorite in 1945 after word got out that they were being sent to soldiers fighting in World War II as a “quick energy” ration.
Although Peeps had been born decades earlier, it wasn’t until 1953 that the Just Born company purchased the brand from Rodda Candy Co., which had been making Peeps by hand. Once Just Born took over, they machinated the process and turned those pastel-colored marshmallow birdies into a national phenomenon and an Easter tradition.