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A Trip to the Candy Store: the History of Candy

Unleash your inner child with this sweet history of candy!

By: Toby Kuhnke, Editor,
A Trip to the Candy Store the History of Candy
A Trip to the Candy Store the History of Candy

There’s nothing that brings out the kid in all of us the way that candy does. Take a trip with us to the candy store and learn about the History of Candy! For the candy lover, all candies are a form of guilty pleasure. They soothe our souls and sugar coat our teeth. While candy might not be the healthiest of desserts, there was once a time when many people thought the opposite was true. For a short time, candy bars were even marketed as meal replacements.

When you think of candy, you probably think of chocolate bars, but there is so much more to candy than meets the eye. These tasty sweet treats are as old as time, but they haven’t always been the same candy bars and chocolates we have today. Before sugarcane became popular, candy was primarily made from honey and was considered a type of medicine.

Candy is a staple of Christmas sweets, the reason we dress up on Halloween, and a sweet treat for a loved one on Valentine's Day. From antiquity to the industrial revoultion and beyond, candy has given us the sugar high we need to keep going.

The History of Candy

  1. Pre-4th Century BC: The earliest candies were made from honey. It wasn’t until around the 4th century BC that sugarcane started to become widely available and used in candy.

  2. Mid-1500s: Cocoa is brought back to Europe from the Americas, beginning the long history of chocolate candy!

  3. 1800s: Cane sugar was mixed with flavoring and dyes to create the first hard candies.

  4. 1848: Chewing gum is invented by John Curtis, using the sap of a spruce tree!

  5. 1861: Richard Cadbury creates the first heart shaped box of chocolates. Valentine’s Day was never the same.

  6. 1916: After the polio outbreak, selling candy in wrappers became the custom to prevent dirt and germs from getting on the candy. This also helped preserve the shelf lives of candy.

  7. 1920s: Candy is marketed as a form of meal replacement for malnourished workers because of its high caloric content. They were sold for as little as 5 cents!

  8. 1941: Forrest Mars, inventor of the Mars Bar and son of the inventor Milky Way Bars, teams up with Bruce Murrie, an executive at Hershey to create M&Ms. The two Ms stand for their last names.

  9. 1950s: Candy became the customary treats given out on Halloween. Before then, trick-or-treaters were usually given nuts, fruits, or even coins. Scary, isn’t it?

What's your favorite kind of candy?

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This has so much information about candy that I didn't know before! I especially appreciate the Harry Potter acid pops recipe towards the bottom )


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