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The History of Candy

The History of Candy

Candy has been a beloved treat for centuries. From ancient civilizations to modern times, people all over the world have enjoyed the sweet and sugary taste of candy. The history of candy is a fascinating one, filled with interesting stories and surprising facts.

The origins of candy can be traced back to ancient times, when people used honey and fruits to make sweet treats. As civilizations advanced, so did candy-making techniques. The first recorded instance of candy being made from sugar dates back to the 9th century, when Persian confectioners created a new type of candy made from boiled sugar and fruit. Over time, candy-making spread throughout the world and became an important part of many cultures.

Today, candy is enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. From chocolate bars to lollipops to gummy bears, there are countless varieties of candy to choose from. Despite its sometimes negative reputation for being unhealthy, candy remains a beloved treat that brings joy to many people.

Origins of Candy

Candy has been around for thousands of years and has evolved over time. The origins of candy can be traced back to ancient times when people ate honey and nuts as a sweet treat.

Ancient Times

The ancient Egyptians were known to preserve nuts and fruits with honey, creating a sweet and sticky treat. The Greeks and Romans also enjoyed sweetened foods, such as candied fruits and honey cakes. In China, people made a sweet treat called rock candy, which was made by boiling sugar and water until it crystallized.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, sugar was a rare and expensive commodity that was only available to the wealthy. The first recorded use of sugar in Europe was in the 11th century when the Crusaders brought it back from the Middle East. Sugar was used to make sweetened desserts and candies, but it was still a luxury item that was only available to the nobility.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution in the 19th century brought about significant changes in the way candy was made. Advances in technology made it easier and cheaper to produce candy on a large scale. The invention of the steam pan in 1851 allowed candy makers to boil sugar without having to stir it continuously. This made it easier to produce candy in large quantities.

As the production of candy became more widespread, it became more affordable and accessible to the general public. Candy became a popular treat for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Overall, candy has a rich history that spans thousands of years. From its humble beginnings as a sweetened fruit and nut preserve to the mass-produced candy we know today, candy has evolved over time to become a beloved treat enjoyed by people all over the world.

Candy in the 20th Century

Early 1900s

The early 1900s saw the rise of some of the most iconic candy brands in history. In 1900, Milton Hershey introduced the Hershey chocolate milk bar, which quickly became a fan favorite. In 1901, the Baby Ruth candy bar was introduced, named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter Ruth. The first few decades of the 20th century saw a candy boom in America, with candy being advertised as a weight-loss agent and a source of energy. Pastel Mints were introduced in 1893, and Tootsie Rolls were created in 1896, both of which remain popular to this day.

Post-War Era

After World War II, candy production increased significantly as sugar rationing ended. In 1949, M&Ms were introduced, which quickly became a popular candy. The 1950s saw the introduction of many new candy bars, including Snickers, Milky Way, and Three Musketeers. The 1960s saw the introduction of SweeTarts and Nerds, which remain popular to this day.

Modern Candy

In the modern era, candy has continued to evolve and change. In 1974, the first gummy bears were introduced, which quickly became a hit. The 1980s saw the introduction of Airheads and Skittles, which remain popular today. The 1990s saw the introduction of Warheads, which became popular for their sour taste. Today, candy comes in many different forms and flavors, from classic chocolate bars to sour gummies and everything in between.

Overall, candy has been a beloved treat for generations, and its evolution over the years has been fascinating to watch. From the early days of honey-coated fruits to the modern era of gummy candies and sour treats, candy has remained a staple of American culture.

Candy Types and Varieties

Candy comes in a wide variety of types, flavors, and textures. From hard candies to chocolates, and from gummies to lollipops, the options are endless. Here are some of the most popular types of candy:

Hard Candies

Hard candies are made from boiled sugar syrup that is then cooled and hardened. They come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors. Some of the most popular hard candies include peppermint candy canes, lemon drops, and sour candies like Toxic Waste. Cotton candy and fluffy stuff are also types of hard candies.


Chocolates are made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. They come in various forms, including bars, truffles, and bonbons. Some of the most popular chocolate brands include Mars, Hershey’s, and Cadbury. Chocolate-covered raisins, cherries, and nuts are also popular types of candy.

Gummies and Jellies

Gummies and jellies are chewy candies made from gelatin, sugar, and flavorings. They come in various shapes, colors, and flavors. Some of the most popular gummies and jellies include Haribo gummy bears, Jelly Babies, and Skittles.


Lollipops are hard candies on a stick. They come in various flavors, shapes, and sizes. Some of the most popular lollipops include Chupa Chups and Dum Dums.


Mints are small, hard candies that are flavored with mint oils. They come in various shapes and sizes, and they are often used to freshen breath. Some of the most popular mint brands include Altoids and Tic Tacs.

Overall, the history of candy is a fascinating one, and the variety of candy types and flavors continues to grow. Whether you prefer hard candies, chocolates, gummies, lollipops, or mints, there is a candy out there for everyone.

Candy Production


Candy production involves using various ingredients, such as sugar, corn syrup, flavorings, and colors. These ingredients are mixed together to form a syrup that is then boiled to the desired temperature. Additional ingredients such as nuts, fruits, and chocolate may also be added to the mixture to create different flavors and textures.

Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing process of candy involves several steps. First, the ingredients are mixed together to form a syrup. This syrup is then boiled to a specific temperature, depending on the type of candy being made. The hot syrup is then poured into molds or onto a cooling table, where it is shaped and cooled to form the final product. The candy is then packaged and ready for distribution.


Packaging plays an important role in candy production. The packaging not only protects the candy during transportation and storage but also attracts customers with its design. Candy is typically packaged in colorful wrappers or boxes with eye-catching graphics and logos. The packaging also includes important information such as the ingredients, nutritional information, and expiration date.

In conclusion, candy production involves using various ingredients mixed together to form a syrup that is boiled to the desired temperature. The hot syrup is then shaped and cooled to form the final product. Packaging is also an important part of candy production, as it not only protects the candy but also attracts customers with its design.

Candy Around the World

North America

Candy has a long history in North America, with the first candy store opening in the United States in 1847. Since then, candy has become a staple in American culture, with popular treats such as Hershey’s chocolate and Skittles being enjoyed by people of all ages. In Canada, popular candies include Smarties and Coffee Crisp.


Europe has a rich history of candy-making, with many countries having their own unique treats. In the United Kingdom, popular candies include Cadbury Dairy Milk and Jelly Babies. In Germany, gummy bears were invented in the 1920s and have since become a beloved treat around the world. Other popular European candies include Toblerone from Switzerland and Ferrero Rocher from Italy.


Candy has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries, with many countries having their own traditional treats. In Japan, Kit Kats come in a variety of unique flavors such as green tea and wasabi. In China, White Rabbit candy has been a popular treat since the 1940s. Other popular Asian candies include Pocky from Japan and Haw Flakes from China.

South America

South America has a diverse range of candies, with many countries having their own unique treats. In Brazil, Brigadeiros are a popular chocolate truffle-like candy made from condensed milk and cocoa powder. In Mexico, traditional candies such as dulce de leche and tamarind-flavored treats are enjoyed by many. Other popular South American candies include Alfajores from Argentina and Chicha from Peru.


Candy-making has a long history in Africa, with many countries having their own traditional sweets. In Egypt, Turkish Delight has been enjoyed since the Ottoman Empire. In South Africa, traditional candies such as Amarula chocolates and Rooibos tea-flavored treats are popular. Other popular African candies include Biltong from South Africa and Kolo from Nigeria.

Overall, candy has become a beloved treat around the world, with each country having their own unique take on this sweet indulgence.

Candy in Popular Culture

Movies and TV Shows

Candy has been featured in countless movies and TV shows over the years. From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Stranger Things, candy has played a prominent role in popular culture. In fact, candy has become so synonymous with Halloween that it’s hard to imagine the holiday without it.

In the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, candy takes center stage as the eccentric chocolatier invites a group of children to tour his candy factory. The movie has become a classic and has inspired countless Halloween costumes over the years.


Candy has also played a role in literature. In Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, candy is once again the star of the show. The book tells the story of a young boy named Charlie who wins a golden ticket to tour Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The book has become a classic and has been adapted into several movies and plays.


Candy has even made its way into the art world. The artist Will Cotton is known for his paintings of landscapes made entirely of candy. His work has been featured in galleries and museums around the world.

Candy has become so ingrained in popular culture that it’s hard to imagine a world without it. From movies and TV shows to literature and art, candy has played a prominent role in shaping our cultural landscape.

Health and Candy

Sugar Content

Candy is often associated with high sugar content, which can lead to various health issues such as obesity and diabetes. While it is true that many candies contain a significant amount of sugar, not all candies are created equal. Some candies, such as hard candies and lollipops, contain less sugar than others, such as chocolate bars and gummies. It is important to read the nutrition label and consume candy in moderation.

Dental Issues

Consuming candy can also lead to dental issues such as cavities and tooth decay. When sugar is consumed, it reacts with the bacteria in the mouth to produce acid, which can erode the enamel on teeth. Hard candies and gummies that stick to teeth can be particularly harmful. It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent dental issues.

Diet and Nutrition

While candy is not typically considered a healthy snack, it can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Candy can provide a quick source of energy and can be a fun treat to enjoy in moderation. However, it is important to consume candy in moderation and to balance it with other nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Overall, while candy can be enjoyed in moderation, it is important to be mindful of its sugar content and potential impact on dental health. By practicing moderation and good oral hygiene, candy can be a fun and enjoyable treat.