Candy by the Decade: A Time Capsule of Halloween Treats

1980s

In the 1980s, candies from other parts of the globe started to make their way into the American market. Skittles were originally a British invention but came to the United States in 1981. The introduction of tangy, chewy Skittles marked a huge rise in the popularity of chewy candies across the United States, and domestic companies rushed to fill in the gaps.

Herman Goelitz was the first American manufacturer to make their own gummy candies. In fact, the gummy worm and the gummy bear were their first experiments and were received with great fanfare by the American public. 1985 saw the introduction of Sour Patch Kids to the United States, which were originally a Canadian invention. Jelly beans also rose in popularity, probably in response to then-President Ronald Reagan’s intense and public love of the little candy.

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1990s

The most popular candies of the 1990s were designed to literally make you cry. Since the marketplace was so saturated, companies felt that they had no choice but to completely reinvent the wheel and put the focus on sour instead of sweet. The most popular candies of this decade were Warheads, Cry Baby candies, and Sour belts. Kids in elementary schools competed to see how much sour they could take before they had to spit the candy out, and delicate, sweet candies were all but forgotten.

This decade also saw the rise of candy and chocolate bars marketed more to adults, like the DOVE Dark Chocolate Bar that was first introduced by Hershey as an alternative to lighter, milk chocolate bars in 1993.

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2000s

With the rise of Internet shopping, and fast and free shipping that can move products around the globe overnight, it’s harder to keep track of American candy trends. People can buy candy from anywhere they want, so manufacturers are doing everything they can to distinguish their products from competitors.

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Candies of the 2000s were bigger, sweeter, sourer, and incorporated more flavors than ever before. Marketing campaigns are starting to have an impact in a whole new way, like the advertising that surrounded the introduction of Wrigley’s 5 Gum.

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