Americans love candy. And when it comes to American candy, there are a lot of varieties available. From chocolate to fruit flavored, from chewy to melt in your mouth consistencies, there is a candy suited to everyone’s taste. Cutting the list of America’s best candies down to 10 is a tough business. There are many great candies that we enjoy that didn’t make the list, simply because the competition is so stiff. See if your favorites made the list.
10) Skittles – Sold under the slogan “Taste the Rainbow”, Skittles are a fruit flavored bite size candy with a hard sugar shell. They were introduced in 1974 by a British manufacturer. They became available in the U.S. as an import candy a few years later. Skittles began being manufactured in the U.S. for widespread distribution in 1982. They are currently manufactured and distributed by the Wrigley Company, a division of Mars, Inc. The original flavors consisted of strawberry, green apple, lemon, grape, and orange. A number of variations of the candy have been marketed, such as sour, tropical, and wild berry. It’s like the candy version of Fruity Pebbles. If you like fruit flavored candy, Skittles is always a safe bet. Neuroscientist Don Katz, a professor of psychology at Brandeis University claimed that his study showed that Skittles all taste exactly the same and it is the color and fragrance of the candies that makes you think they are different flavors. This theory has been debunked by Wrigley.
9) Jolly Joes – Mike and Ike is a brand of candy that includes multiple flavor varieties. Manufactured by Just Born, Inc., the chewy candies are available in 15 varieties including Original Fruits, Cherry Cola, Tropical Typhoon, Butter Popcorn, and Zours (I would also include cinnamon flavored Hot Tamales as being in this candy family even though it is considered a separate brand manufactured by the same company). Out of all of the flavors available, the one that stands out as the best of the bunch is Jolly Joes. These tasty little Tylenol shaped candies have an utter unrealistic grape taste that is to die for. I have nothing against the flavor of real grapes. I enjoy real grapes greatly. But Jolly Joes are the candy equivalent of a grape snow cone. The chewy consistency keeps the flavor ever evolving in your mouth. Yum!
8) Heath Bar – Made from toffee, almonds, and milk chocolate, the Heath Bar has been on the market since 1914. Originally the candy bar was made by L.S. Heath and was marketed as being good for one’s health. It has been manufactured by Hershey since 1996. Heath Bars were handmade until 1942. Because the candy has a long shelf life, the U.S. Army included it in soldiers’ rations throughout World War II. The Heath Bar is virtually identical to the Skor Bar. They have almost the same ingredients minus one oil, they have the same dimensions, and they are even both manufactured by the same candy company (Hershey). Heath Bars were a key ingredient in Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Heath Bar Crunch until the ice cream maker stopped using the Hershey’s product and rebranded its ice cream flavor as Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch.
7) Hershey Bar – It would be unamerican to dislike the classic Hershey Bar. In fact, the Hershey Company refers to the candy as “The Great American Chocolate Bar”. The Hershey Bar has been in production since November 1900. There’s nothing fancy about. As one of the first mass produced chocolate bars in the U.S., the Hershey Bar helped define America’s definition of an ideal chocolate. There have been many variations made available over the years including Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Almonds, Hershey’s Special Dark Bar, Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Crème Bar, and Hershey’s Gold Bar containing caramelized cream, peanuts, and pretzels.
6) Mounds – Whoever decided to blend coconut and dark chocolate deserves a trophy of some kind. Mounds consists of mouthful size portions of luscious, creamy, shredded, sweetened coconut covered in sinfully dark chocolate. sinfully dark chocolate. Manufactured by the Hershey Company, the Mounds bar was originally invented by candy maker Vincent Nitido in 1920. It consisted of one candy bar and it cost 5 cents. The candy line was purchased by Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing Company in 1929. The new owners split the candy into two pieces, but kept the price at 5 cents until after World War II at which point the price was raised to 10 cents. Mounds has a sister candy bar named Almond Joy. Like Mounds, the sister candy come in two pieces and consists of shredded, sweetened coconut paired with almonds and covered in milk chocolate. It’s a good candy, but not in the same ballpark as Mounds. The dark chocolate makes all the difference. Hershey purchased Mounds and Almond Joy in 1988.
5) M&Ms – Known as the candy that “melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, M&M’s originated in the U.S. in 1941. The candy is not sold in more than 100 countries around the world. The candy comes in button-shaped semisweet chocolate covered in a colorful candy shell. The candy uses as technique developed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to keep the chocolate from melting in one’s hand or pocket. Forrest Mars Sr, son of Mars Company founder Frank C. Mars, was the one to adapt the technique for use in the U.S. Manufactured by Mars using Hershey brand chocolate. One of the candy’s first big buyers was the U.S. Army who saw the value of a chocolate that doesn’t melt or get messy no matter what the climate is. A number of variations of M&M’s have been marketed over the years including Peanut, Almond, Pretzel, Dark Chocolate, Caramel, English Toffee, and Fudge Brownie.
4) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – Made by Hershey, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are number one on the list of top selling candy brands. Reese’s generate over $2 billion in annual sales for the Hershey Company. Invented by H.B. Reese, the candy cups were first manufactured by The H.B. Reese’s Candy Company. A former Hershey’s employee, Reese always used his former employer’s chocolate in his creations. In 1963, Reese’s sons combined the company with Hershey in a tax-free, stock-for-stock merger. A very simple candy, it consists of silver dollar sized chocolate cups wrapped around a sweet peanut butter center. Variations of the popular candy include King Size, Sugar Free, Dark Chocolate, Thins, Minis, Peanut Butter Lovers, and Chocolate Lovers. Holiday editions include the signature candy in Heart, Egg, Pumpkin, Ghost, Christmas Tree, Bell, Bunny, and Snowman shapes.
3) Sour Patch Kids – Originally created in the 1970s, by Jaret International under the name Mars Men. In 1985 under the ownership of Mondelez International, a U.S. manufacture based out of Chicago, the candy was rebranded as Sour Patch Kids. One theory is that the rebranding was meant to capitalize on the popularity of Cabbage Patch Dolls. The candy consists of fruit flavored gummy candies coated in invert sugar and sour sugar. Sour sugar is made by combining citric acid, tartaric acid, and sugar). These tasty morsels are just the right mix of sour and sweet to be a favorite of kids of all age all over the country. Variations have included Watermelon, Exploders, Tropical, Fire, and Freeze.
2) Snickers – If you’re at the store and you’re supposed to pick up a candy bar for someone at home and don’t know their favorite, Snickers is a pretty good bet to be one that they will at least enjoy. Snickers is manufactured by Mars, Incorporated. The candy bar has a little bit for everyone: a nougat center, topped caramel and peanuts, and then coated in milk chocolate. Snickers was introduced in 1930 by the Mars candy company. It was named after one of the Mars family’s horses. Until 1990, the candy was offered in the U.K. and Ireland under the name Marathon. Variations of the Snickers bar include: Almond, Protein, White, Creamy Peanut Butter, Crisp, Hazelnut, and Minis. It’s the go-to candy when your not sure what to buy. With the exception of those allergic to peanuts, Snickers is a universally popular candy bar with annual global sales of over $2 billion.
1) Gummy Cola Bottles – Gummy candies cover a broad range of gelatin-based chewable sweets. The most well-known variety would be gummy bears. Other varieties include gummy worms, gummy cherries, and gummy strawberries. I love all gummy candy, but the best of the best is Haribo Happy Cola. These Coca-Cola flavored gummies even come in cola bottle shapes. A new variation that is worth exploring is Haribo Fizzy Cola. While not as good as the original cola bottle flavor, the fizzy version offers a Sour Patch Kids like sour sugar coating to imitate the fizziness of carbonated cola.
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