Thank you for coming along with me on this journey through time, exploring the history of our favorite candies. Hope to hear from everyone soon!
The candy cane first originated in Germany around 250 years ago. As the story goes, in 1670 a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral was concerned that his children would not be able to sit quietly throughout an entire Christmas nativity service. He decided that food would be the best solution.
To remind them of Christmas, the choirmaster made the candies in the shape of a shepherd’s crook, because baby Jesus was visited by shepherds on the very first Christmas. Nowadays, experts argue that the story has no evidence and is completely untrue. However, this is still the most popular tale.
The parent to candy canes are sugar sticks, which are basically the same as a candy cane except there is no curve and the candy is pure white. Hundreds of years later, around 1900, the candies were given a peppermint flavor and red stripes were added.
The National Confectioners Association reports that candy canes are the best selling non-chocolate candy during the month of December. 1.76 billion candy canes are produced in the United States annually and 90% of candy canes are sold between the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The week that candy canes are flying of the shelves the most is the second week of December, probably because that is the week that most people decorate their trees.
Christians have added new meanings to the candy cane as well. The white is said to represent the purity of Jesus Christ, and the red is said to represent His blood shed on the cross. The flavor of the peppermint may represent the hyssop plant used for purifying the Bible. The shape of the candy cane is also a “J” for Jesus. Another symbol seen through the candy cane is that when it is broken, we are reminded that Jesus’s body was broken for us.
Skittles were first created in the United Kingdom around 1974. It is believed that an unknown British company was the first manufacturer of this popular candy. Skittles’ popularity sailed across the sea to the United States in 1979. After three years of sales in the United States, Skittles began to be manufactured here in America as well.
In 1994, the slogan “Taste the Rainbow” was introduced and became one of the longest running advertising campaigns in history. The entire theme of the Skittles company was created by D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, a New York advertising agency.
Today, Skittles are loved in over 65 countries. In the United States, Skittles are the second most popular candy. They are the most popular among all children in North America.
The 21st century brought along some changes for the Skittles company. In 2000, Sour Skittles were first introduced. Skittles Bubble Gum was created in 2004, and the first limited edition Skittles, which were X-treme Fruit, were made in 2006. The original flavors of grape, orange, lemon, lime and strawberry are still available, but there are newer varieties such as Wild Berry, Smoothie, and Tropical, which are available today.
In 2009, Skittles decided to add to their appeal by becoming vegan. Instead of regular gelatin made from the cartilage of animals such as cows and pigs, the company decided to make Skittles with a gelatin made from no animal products.
One note that has always been discussed is the similarity between Skittles and M&M’s. On the outside, they look almost identical except for the difference of a faint white letter printed on the side of each. But on the inside, the candies are worlds apart. Skittles have a delicious fruity flavor in the middle, unlike M&M’s which have a chocolate filling.
Fun Fact: American football player Marshawn Lynch became a spokesman for Skittles after he claimed that the candy helped him develop his athletic abilities.