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When Were Jolly Ranchers Invented?

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Hey there candy lovers! Have you ever wondered about the origin of your favorite sweet treat, Jolly Ranchers? Well, it turns out that these flavorful hard candies have a bit of a mysterious backstory. While many may assume that Jolly Ranchers have been enjoyed by candy enthusiasts for centuries, the reality is that they are relatively new to the scene. So, when exactly were Jolly Ranchers invented? Let’s dive into the history of these beloved candies and find out!

When Were Jolly Ranchers Invented?
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When Were Jolly Ranchers Invented

Jolly Ranchers are a popular candy that have been enjoyed by people of all ages for over half a century. But when exactly were they created? Let’s explore the origins of this sweet treat.

The Beginnings of Jolly Rancher

Jolly Ranchers were invented in 1949 by a couple named Bill and Dorothy Harmsen. The Harmsens owned an ice cream parlor in Golden, Colorado, but they eventually decided to switch their focus to candy making. They named their candy company Jolly Rancher, inspired by the Jolly Roger pirate flag.

At first, the Harmsens’ candy business struggled, but they persevered and began to gain a following for their hard candies. Their first flavors were apple, grape, and cinnamon, and they were sold in bulk to candy shops and theaters.

Early Years of Jolly Rancher Candy

As Jolly Rancher’s popularity grew, the Harmsens expanded their offerings by adding new flavors such as cherry, blue raspberry, and watermelon. In the 1960s, they introduced Jolly Rancher Stix, which were thin, flavored sticks of candy.

Despite their success, the Harmsens eventually decided to sell Jolly Rancher to Beatrice Foods in 1966. The candy continued to be popular under the new ownership, and in 1983, Beatrice Foods was acquired by Kraft Foods.

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Under Kraft’s ownership, Jolly Rancher continued to expand its product line, introducing new candies such as lollipops and chewy candy. The hard candies remained popular, however, and were still sold in bulk to candy shops and theaters.

Changes in Ownership

In 1996, Hershey’s acquired Jolly Rancher when it bought the Leaf Candy Company. This acquisition gave Hershey’s control over several well-known candy brands, including Jolly Rancher and Milk Duds.

Today, Jolly Rancher remains a popular candy brand and has expanded its offerings to include a variety of flavors and candy types. In addition to the original hard candies, Jolly Rancher now offers chews, gummies, and sour candies.

In conclusion, Jolly Ranchers have been pleasing candy lovers for over 70 years. From their humble beginnings as a small candy company in Colorado to their current status as a beloved Hershey’s brand, Jolly Ranchers have become a staple of the American candy landscape. Whether you prefer the classic hard candies or the newer chewy varieties, Jolly Ranchers are sure to make your taste buds smile.

So next time you enjoy a Jolly Rancher, take a moment to appreciate the history of this timeless candy!

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