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Let’s face it: Most people have at least a small sweet tooth, and even people who don’t probably look back fondly at childhood Halloweens filled with candy. But have you ever thought about where these candies came from?
If you’ve ever been curious about this, you’re in luck. Enjoy the history of some all-time candy favorites below, and good luck resisting your cravings as you read on!
The history of Peeps
Every Easter, Peeps marshmallows become all but omnipresent. Before the April holiday abounded with marshmallow chicks, these candies took far too long to make to be so inescapable. In their early days, Peeps required over 24 hours of labor to make. Once the makers of Peeps figured out that the chicks would still look cute without wings – yes, Peeps once had wings – they were able to rapidly accelerate the process, thereby making Peeps to the candy staple they are today. New colors and flavors debuted over the past three decades, with the first Peeps store opening a decade ago.
The history of M&Ms
M&Ms originated in the early 1940s, when Forrest E. Mars, Sr., founded M&M’s Limited in Newark, New Jersey. By the end of the decade, M&Ms had become such a popular candy that imposters began selling them as well. The candy’s popularity only increased when M&Ms introduced their now-classic peanut variety in 1954. In 1989, M&Ms introduced their peanut butter variety, with M&Ms Minis launching eight years later. Recently, M&Ms launched two new varieties: caramel (2017) and crunchy mint (2018).
The history of Reese’s
Reese’s is named after its inventor, H.B. Reese. After working in Hershey’s chocolate factory, Reese felt inspired to make his own candy for his children (and his audience wasn’t small – he had 16 kids!). By 1928, his audience had expanded out of his home and into his town, so when he began creating and selling peanut butter cups, he found himself making so much money that he opened a giant Reese’s factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It wasn’t until after Reese’s death in 1956, though, that the candy was bought by Hershey’s and grown into the phenomenon it is today.
The history of Skittles
Inspired by the success of M&Ms in the world of chocolate, Skittles brought bite-sized globules of hyper-sweet fruit flavor to the world in 1974. Though originally a British invention, when the massive candy corporation The Mars Company bought Skittles in 1979, manufacturing moved to the U.S. Unlike with other popular candies, it is unclear who invented Skittles, but the mystery hasn’t hampered the brand’s success. Earlier this century, Skittles expanded to include gum and special flavor packs such as Tropical, Wild Berry, and Smoothie Mix.
The history of 3 Musketeers
Before Forrest E. Mars, Sr. brought M&Ms to the world, his company M&M/Mars invented the 3 Musketeers bar in 1932. Its name comes from its original packaging, which included three bars, one each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. M&M/Mars relegated 3 Musketeers production to just chocolate in 1942, when World War II economic consequences caused the U.S. government to mandate sugar rationing. Since then, the candy has remained a bestseller despite its lack of variety, though M&M/Mars will occasionally produce limited-run 3 Musketeers bars with unique flavors such as french vanilla, mocha cappuccino, and orange.
What’s your favorite candy? Sound off in the comments!