April 22 is National Jelly Beans Day! Let's celebrate with everything jellybean from its history to its current popularity and how this special sweet came to be.
The Wonderful History
Everyone knows what a jelly bean is, whether you like them or not, you’ve had them at some point in your life. Sometimes it’s a treat from a grandparent, part of your easter basket or a candy from the twenty-five cent machine at the grocery store. No matter how it came into your life you’ve had them at least once. They’re a staple in the candy world, but do you know the reason why? It all goes back to how they were invented!
While the history is a little fuzzy, the first appearance of the jelly bean is credited to William Schrafft in Boston in 1861. He took regular jelly and molded it into small round/bean like shapes, hence the name! Not only did he create them, he is also credited with encouraging people to send them as gifts to soldiers during the war, starting a long tradition of gifting jelly beans! Even though their first appearance was quite early, their popularity and widespread availability took several years.
While we first see mention of the jelly bean in the late 1800s, they weren’t truly a hit until years later. After their first introduction they were steadily added to the “penny candy” glass jars in general stores and were sold in bulk by weight as a snack food and treat. This made them a mainstay at the candy store, but they didn’t gain widespread popularity until the 1930s when they were used during Easter because of their egg-like shape! Once people associated jelly beans with eggs they became a highlight at Easter gatherings and a favourite candy to hunt. Especially in the US, with the invention of the plastic easter egg, jelly beans were the perfect treat to be placed inside.
No matter how you celebrate Easter, jelly beans are a staple of the holiday! The best part of jelly beans? They’ve maintained their popularity over the years despite chocolate, snacks and chips being introduced regularly. Part of the reason for their popularity? All the new varieties created! From classic jelly beans to every-flavoured beans, let’s look at all the kinds of beans we can eat!
Original jelly beans had simple bold colours and fruit-based flavoured! Over the years however, companies played with the novelty shape and have continued to bring new flavours to us! Whether they use spices, everyday foods or a twist on candy flavours, there’s so many options!
Spiced Jelly Beans
While fruit flavours were an obvious choice, some companies felt the next natural flavourings should come from spices! Cue brands like Brach’s® introducing spicy, sweetly delicious jelly beans with flavours of peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, wintergreen, spearmint, clove, and licorice. While not everyone’s favourite, the fruit-flavoured and spice flavoured jelly beans were readily available in candy bowls, cookies, and holiday centerpieces throughout our childhood. Brands however, didn’t stop there.
Everyone knows Jelly Belly! Starting with the introduction of their first eight flavours Root Beer, Green Apple, Licorice, Cream Soda, Lemon, Tangerine, Very Cherry, and Grape, Jelly Belly came in strong and continued to develop from there. Playing with flavour horizons, Jelly Belly continues to produce flavoured beans based on food and beverages in both sweet and savoury flavours. Each year they introduce something new and we’re excited to see what they come up with next!
Hand in hand with all of Jelly Belly’s creations, they introduced Bean Boozled in 2008! Offering a whole new flavour experience of delicious flavours mixes with wacky ones! With 10 lookalike pairs, you have no way of knowing what you’re getting without eating them. Are you getting Juicy Pear or Booger? Buttered Popcorn or Rotten Egg? Are you willing to risk it? Try the challenge now!
Your Favourite Candies as Jelly Beans
As jelly beans have become an Easter staple, your favourite candy companies realized turning their candy into this favourite treat was a great way to reinvent their product for the holiday. Including brands like Starburst, Sour Patch Kids, and Warheads, your favourite candies are now available as delicious jelly beans! Who would have thought the simple candy would be reinvented in so many ways over the years.
The FutureWhile the future of the jelly bean is undecided, we believe we will continue to see new flavour introductions and new candy twists on the classics over the years. So on National Jelly Bean Day, let’s celebrate with some jelly beans! Enjoy our whole collection here.