50 Facts About Every Candy in Your Bag

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iStock

Haul of Fame: From Reese's to Twizzlers, some candies are guaranteed to end up in your bag this Halloween. Unwrap these tidbits about a few of the most popular sugary treats.

1. OVER 200 MILLION SKITTLES ARE PRODUCED DAILY.

Skittles
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The colorful treats were originally imported when they were first sold in 1979. Today, they are manufactured in the United States—by the millions.

2. MILK DUDS WERE NAMED AFTER A FLUKE.

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Instead of the symmetric candies they were intended to be, the first batch of this chocolate caramel candy came out of machinery oval-shaped. When an employee F. Hoffman & Company, the company producing the brand, called them “duds” and the name stuck.

3. THE MYSTERY FLAVOR OF DUM DUMS ISN’T A COMPLETE MYSTERY.

Dum Dum Lollipops
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The mixture for these lollipops, which often don wrappers with question marks, is created when the last of one batch of the candy is combined with the beginning of a new batch.

4. SWEDISH FISH ARE VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN-FRIENDLY.

Swedish Fish
C. C. Chapman, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

These vending machine staples—which first appeared in the U.S. in that late 1950s—fall in the “starch jellies” category, defined as firmer gummy candies that don’t contain any gelatin.

5. SOUR PATCH KIDS HAVE OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD ORIGINS.

Sour Patch Kids
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Initially dubbed Mars Men, these Canadian creations were inspired by the growing fascination with UFOs in the '70s. However, when they made their way to the U.S. in 1985, the name was changed to Sour Patch Kids, to reflect a more timely American obsession: Cabbage Patch Kids.

6. MIKE AND IKE ARE FICTIONAL.

Mike and Ike
Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The fruit-inspired sweets from the Just Born company aren't named after real people, according to the brand. But that hasn't stopped fans from coming up with their own theories about the inspiration behind the name. Some believe Mike and Ike is a reference to a popular vaudeville act, while others attribute it to a 1937 song “Mike and Ike (The Twins).”

7. THE “LOLLI” IN LOLLIPOP PROBABLY DOESN’T MEAN WHAT YOU THINK IT DOES.

Lollipops
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While many believe that the word for the handheld candy comes from ice-lollies (also known as ice pops or popsicles), which hang downward as they melt, that’s not the case. Instead, lolly is an Old English dialect term for the tongue.

8. DOVE CHOCOLATE IS THE MOST POPULAR CANDY IN CHINA.

Dove chocolate
Frazer Harrison // Staff // Getty Images

The chocolate company may be headquartered in the United States, but it scores high marks overseas. By some estimates, about 34 percent of the chocolate consumed in China is made by Dove.

9. KIT KATS WERE ORIGINALLY CREATED TO BE CONSUMED WITH TEA.

Kit Kat
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Early marketing for the popular wafer candy focusing on selling the Kit Kat as a meal, but the company also encouraged customers to treat it as a snack. One example: a Kit Kat slogan that called the treat “the best companion to a cup of tea.”

10. CANDY CORN STARTED OUT AS “CHICKEN FEED.”

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The colors of the popular Halloween candy are inspired by the shades of actual corn kernels.

11. YOUR FAVORITE PROBABLY MAKES AN APPEARANCE IN THE GUINNESS RECORD-HOLDING LARGEST COLLECTION OF CANDY WRAPPERS.

candy wrappers
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For more than three decades, Milan Lukich Valdivia from Tacna, Peru, amassed a total of 5065 candy wrappers from 49 countries. The collection claimed the title in 2015.

12. FRINGE LOVERS FAN OUT OVER RED VINES.

Red vines
Nik Pawlak, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

When the Fox sci-fi series—which ran from 2008 to 2013—was in danger of not having a fourth season, fans sent the studio a sweet surprise: 200 cases of Red Vines, a favorite of one of the characters on the show. And it worked. The show eventually went off the air after five seasons.

13. TOOTSIE ROLLS HELPED PERK UP WORLD WAR II SOLDIERS.

Tootsie Rolls

Treasured for their ability to withstand hot weather and stay in mint condition over time, Tootsie Rolls were seen as a small bite of “quick energy” by the U.S. military during World War II.

14. HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE HAS LANDED ON THE MOON.

Hershey's Chocolate Bar
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A heat-resistant version of the chocolate bar called the Hershey’s Tropical Chocolate Bar was created in collaboration with the military. The treat, which could last up to an hour in 120 degree temperatures, was placed aboard Apollo 15 in 1971.

15. ACROSS THE COUNTRY, REESE’S REIGN SUPREME.

Kim Jones, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

By some estimates, Reese’s cups earn the number one spot among Halloween candy brands. In fact, Hershey sells more than $500 million worth of Reese’s annually.

16. IN GERMANY, KIDS SCORE FREE HARIBO GUMMIES ONCE A YEAR.

Haribo candy factory
The HARIBO candy factory is located in Bonn, western Germany.
PATRIK STOLLARZ / Staff // Getty Images

Every October, a tradition that started in the 1930s continues: Kids can visit the Haribo headquarters to trade in acorns and chestnuts for free gummy treats.

17. YOU PROBABLY REACH FOR MIKE AND IKE AT THE MOVIES.

Mike & Ike
Alex Guerrero, Flickr // CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The candy brand is the best-selling non-chocolate candy at movie theaters—and has commanded that spot for years.

18. CHOCOLATE SHOULD BE STORED AT ROOM TEMPERATURE.

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Experts warn that storing your sweet stuff in the fridge will lead to condensation. “Water is the enemy of chocolate,” Andrew Black of MAST Chocolate—the New York-based bean-to-bar chocolate makers—told Mental Floss.

19. AT THE NEW JERSEY FACTORY, 2 BILLION M&M’S ARE PRODUCED EVERY EIGHT HOURS.

M&Ms
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That means that 69,000 of the mini chocolates are manufactured every second.

20. HERSHEY'S KISSES STARTED OUT AS A LABOR OF LOVE.

Hershey's Kisses
Lori & Todd, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In 1907, when the drop-sized chocolate candies were first introduced, workers wrapped each one by hand.

21. HARIBO TREATS DELIGHT IN DENMARK.

Haribo gummies
PATRIK STOLLARZ / Staff // Getty Images

The company, notorious for their gummy bears, is the most popular candy brand among Danes. But residents of Denmark are known for having a sweet tooth in general. Compared to the average European, each Danish citizen eats twice as much sweets, at an average of 18 pounds annually.

22. MILKY WAYS DIDN'T ALWAYS INCLUDE CARAMEL.

Milky Way
Amy the Nurse, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It’s hard to believe that the candy bar’s most well-known feature wasn't always there, but the original ingredients included eggs, sugar, and air.

23. YOU WON’T FIND FIZZL’D FRUITS SKITTLES.

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You might be able to “taste the rainbow” by way of six flavor sets of Skittles, but the Fizzl’d Fruits isn't one of them. The powder-covered Skittles were discontinued in 2012.

24. MILK CHOCOLATE WAS CREATED BY THE SWISS.

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After attempting to combine milk with chocolate for eight years, Switzerland-based confectioner Daniel Peter finally discovered the necessary ingredient to make the combo work in 1870: condensed milk, made by his neighbor Henri Nestlé.

25. PEZ CANDIES PACK IN A LOT OF PRESSURE.

Pez candy
Dave Lawler, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

3000 pounds, to be exact. That’s what it takes to turn the raw ingredients of the sugary treat into Pez candy.

26. CARAMEL AND BUTTERSCOTCH ARE SIMILAR BUT NOT THE SAME.

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Caramel hard candies
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Both mixtures include melted sugar, vanilla, and butter. But while caramel is based in white granulated sugar, butterscotch uses brown sugar instead.

27. BEING ABLE TO HOLD A PEZ DISPENSER WITH ONE HAND WAS A DESIGN GOAL.

Pez dispensers
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The flip-top dispenser has a very deliberate design. According to the original patent, the one-hand opening was “important not only for persons having only one hand but also persons who often have only one hand free (for example motor-vehicle drivers), or whose occupation causes their hands to become smeared with dirt.”

28. REESE’S PIECES WEREN’T ALWAYS REESE’S PIECES.

Reese's Pieces
Ravi Shah, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Hershey debuted the bite-sized peanut butter cups in 1978 with the name PBs before they were eventually renamed Reese's Pieces.

29. THERE’S A REASON HARIBO’S GUMMIES ARE BEAR-SHAPED.

Haribo gummies
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Founder Hans Riegel was inspired by the festivals in his home country of Germany and the dancing bears beloved by children at those celebrations.

30. EVERY YEAR ABOUT ONE MILLION MILES OF TWIZZLERS ARE PRODUCED.

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That’s nearly 76 times the length of the Great Wall of China.

31. THERE IS A DUM DUMS LOLLIPOP MASCOT.

Dum Dums
Sarah Browning, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Conceptualized in 1966, the Drum Man travels across the country, waving with his white-gloved hands and spreading the word about Dum Dums.

32. STARBURSTS ARE AVAILABLE IN ALL-PINK SETS.

Starbursts
Starburst

But you’ll probably have to hit eBay to find them. The limited edition strawberry-only packs were released for a short run in April 2017.

33. THE JOLLY RANCHER NAME HAS SWEET INTENTIONS.

Jolly Ranchers
Dave Kirkman, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

According to the company, the name Jolly Rancher was chosen for these bright-colored treats “to suggest a hospitable, western company.”

34. LAFFY TAFFY AND RUNTS WERE BOTH LAUNCHED BY A CLASSIC FILM.

Laffy Taffys
Jasmin Fine, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (which was financed by Quaker Oats) brought both attention and sales to the sweet treats featured on-screen.

35. TODAY'S SNICKERS ARE SLIGHTLY SLIMMER.

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In 2013, candy empire Mars Inc. put all of their chocolate products on a diet, promising to only sell sweets that were 250 calories or less. That meant fans had to say goodbye to king-sized versions of their favorite treats and also that the regular-sized, 280-calorie Snickers bar got a makeover.

36. IN CANADA, SMARTIES ARE KNOWN AS ROCKETS.

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The treats (which pack in 25 calories per roll) are produced 24 hours a day in New Jersey and Ontario, but they have different names in each location. 

37. CHEWING GUM CAN HELP PREVENT SONGS FROM GETTING STUCK IN YOUR HEAD.

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Gum can do more than occupy your mouth, it can also help occupy your mind. According to scientists from the U.K.'s University of Redding, chowing down on the sticky substance helps to temporarily degrade your short-term memory, making it easier to shake off a tune that you can't stop thinking about.

38. BUTTERFINGER COMMERCIALS INTRODUCED MANY PEOPLE TO THE SIMPSONS CHARACTERS.

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The iconic TV family didn't make their first appearance on the silver screen when The Simpsons premiered on Fox in 1989. The characters actually started on the comedy variety series The Tracey Ullman Show and likely picked up their biggest audience when they starred in Butterfinger commercials in 1988.

39. ALL OF THE SUGAR IN YOUR HERSHEY'S TREAT WILL BE SUSTAINABLY SOURCED BY 2020.

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In May 2016, the company announced plans to establish "rigorous standards to ensure sugar has been responsibly grown and harvested." There are also plans to sustainably source 100 percent of its cocoa by the deadline as well, up from 50 percent in 2016.

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The fruit leather-inspired snack got a shout-out from the popular sitcom in 2000.

40. JELLY BELLY'S VOMIT-FLAVORED JELLY BEAN WAS BORN WHILE TRYING TO MAKE A PIZZA-FLAVORED VARIETY.

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Getty Images

While the process for created a unconventional Jelly Belly flavor is elaborate and thorough, sometimes there are happy accidents.

41. MILKY WAY BARS STARTED OUT SUPERSIZED.

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The original Milky Way treats weighed more than 3 ounces, compared to the just over 1.8 ounces that they are today. The reasoning: Mars Company founder Forrest Mars thought his treats would quite literally overshadow their Hershey bar competitors. He once said, “People walked up to the candy counter and they’d see this flat little Hershey bar for a nickel and right next to it, a giant Milky Way. Guess which one they’d pick?”

42. IN THE LATE 1980S, THERE WAS A NERDS CEREAL.

A 1986 commercial introduced fans of the sugary treat to Nerds cereal, which featured two flavors in one box and spouts on each side. After disappointing sales, the product was removed from shelves.

43. COWS MAY LIKE CANDY AS MUCH AS WE DO.

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For years, companies have been selling off their defective sweets (like Skittles, gummy worms, and dried fruit) to farms. With increasing prices for corn feed and other traditional cattle food, these treats are a cheaper alternative to fill the animals' starchy sugar needs.

44. BUTTERFINGERS WERE THE FOLLOW-UP TO BABY RUTH CANDY BARS.

Both chocolate bars are products of Curtiss Candy, a company that was once one of the largest candy competitors in the business.

45. SOUR PATCH KIDS ARE TONGUE-ACTIVATED.

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The ingredient list for Sour Patch Kids includes citric and tartaric acids, both full of protons that allow our tongues to recognize the sour flavor. When you pop a Sour Patch Kid into your mouth, those ingredients mix with saliva and the protons increase, upping the sour flavor.

46. ACROSS THE WORLD, NOT ALL KIT KATS ARE CREATED EQUAL.

Kit Kat Switzerland Singles
Kit Kat Singles are sold in Switzerland.
FABRICE COFFRINI / Staff // Getty Images

The number of “fingers” varies from country to country. Aussie Kit Kat fans can enjoy a 12-finger block, while those in the Middle East are used to Kit Kats sold with three fingers.

47. MARS BARS ARE AVAILABLE IN A SPREADABLE FORM.

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The Mars bounty spread mimics the flavors of the candy bar, including coconut flakes.

48. HEATH BARS WERE ORIGINALLY MARKETED AS A HEALTHY TREAT.

Heath bar
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The candy—a combination of butter, sugar, almonds, and milk chocolate— was once thought to pep a person up.

49. THE CREATORS OF AIRHEADS REPORTEDLY ONCE TRIED TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE: MAKE A SUCCESSFUL GRAPE ICE CREAM.

Airheads
Special, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Unfortunately, it wasn't successful. Just like similar products from other companies that have made the attempt, including Ben & Jerry's, Airheads’s grape flavor didn't fly off the shelves. Though it’s possible to make the ice cream flavor on a large scale, there’s a reason it will probably never become more popular.

50. OCTOBER 28 IS A BIG DAY FOR CANDY CORN.

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The official National Candy Corn day might be October 30, but according to sales, it’s unofficially on October 28, the day when the largest amount of the tri-colored candy is sold.

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Coca-Cola Is Discontinuing TaB After Almost 60 Years

Stock up while you can.
Stock up while you can.
lokate366, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

In 1963, Coca-Cola debuted TaB, a one-calorie diet soda that came in a pink can and promised women the chance to “have a shape he can’t forget.” The beverage was intended, as the commercial’s catchy jingle was quick to remind you, “for beautiful people,” with the sunny implication that sipping it could make you one of them.

TaB began to lose popularity after Diet Coke was launched in 1982, but a small crop of devotees still prefer it today. There’s even a website called ilovetab.com that keeps tabs on where the beverage is sold and which celebrities are spotted with a can in hand.

Unfortunately for fans, the Coca-Cola Company has finally decided to discontinue the drink just a few years short of its 60th anniversary. It’s not the only casualty: ZICO coconut water, Odwalla juices, Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, and Coca-Cola Life (a reduced-sugar version of Coke with stevia leaf extract) are also being retired, along with a few regional and international products.

Though plenty of businesses have scaled back their offerings—or gone bankrupt—due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company maintains that these changes were in the works long before then. That said, “the ongoing COVID-19 supply chain challenges and shifting shopping behaviors prompted the company to fast-track its plan,” Coca-Cola explained in a press release.

TaB is now more of a nostalgic cult classic than a lucrative asset. According to The New York Times, Coca-Cola circulated about 3 million cases of TaB in 2011—not even half a percent of the number of Diet Coke cases produced in the same year. But that’s not to say people won’t be sad to see it go.

“We’re forever grateful to TaB for paving the way for the diets and lights category, and to the legion of TaB lovers who have embraced the brand for nearly six decades,” Kerri Kopp, Diet Coke’s group director for North America, said in a press release. “If not for TaB, we wouldn’t have Diet Coke or Coke Zero Sugar. TaB did its job.”

[h/t The New York Times]