Halloween is brewing and we all have candy on the brain. No matter how your customers choose to celebrate this year, each one has a favorite candy they hope will end up in their treat bag. Did you know some of these crave-worthy candies have been part of customers’ dreams for more than 100 years? (Okay, so we don’t know how many centenarians frequent your shop, but you understand, a classic is a classic for a reason).
We know nostalgia sells and nostalgic candies are a great addition to your selection — particularly during Halloween. Today, we’re feeling both nostalgic and patriotic (especially with elections just around the corner) so, we decided to share with you some of our favorite US-invented candies that are Halloween and year-round staples.
Goo Goo Clusters
A little gooey, a little crunchy, a little chewy, and all delicious! Nashville residents have been singing the praises of Goo Goo Clusters since 1912. It’s not just the flavor customers love — they have Goo Goos to thank for pushing the candy industry beyond the single ingredient bar. According to the company’s website, Goo Goos are the first combination candy bar in the US, featuring fluffy marshmallow nougat, gooey caramel, crunchy fresh roasted peanuts, and a generous coating of rich milk chocolate.
Why call them Goo Goo you might ask? There are some who think the name’s a nod to Nashville’s Grand Ole’ Opry, but the creators of the bar say it was named Goo Goo because it’s a bar that a baby would ask for from birth (their first words being Goo Goo), as reported by Style Blueprint. Once only available in Nashville, Goo Goo Clusters has recently gone on a nationwide tour, gaining new fans at every stop. This confection chart topper continues to churn out hits like pecans and peanut butter that customers love as much as the original.
It’s hip to be square — particularly when you’re a Charms Square. The flagship candy of the Tropical Charms candy company out of Bloomfield New Jersey, was called ‘Tropical Charms’ when introduced in 1912. Later, the company changed its name to ‘Charms Candy Company’ and the product was renamed ‘Charms Squares’. No matter what they’re called, candy fans agree their fruity flavors of cherry, grape, lemon, lime, orange, and raspberry sure are charming.
Charms Squares are not only a fruity favorite, they’re said to be the first hard candies wrapped in cellophane, according to NJ.com. Because they are wrapped, can stand up to high temperatures, and are lightweight, lead to Charms Squares becoming part of US soldiers’ WWII rations, as reported by NJ.com. In fact, as chronicled in the true life story, Lost in Shangri-La, Charms Squares are actual life savers. Charms Squares helped officers of the Gremlin Special’s plane crash to survive in the jungle. According to the story, like most Charms Squares fans, the hearty folks of the Gremlin ate one flavor at a time to keep track of rations. Today, soldiers and civilians love them and the metallic wrapper with a rainbow of squares continues to bring on the smiles.
Don’t let the signature yellow and black checkerboard wrapper reminiscent of a New York City taxi fool you — Abba-Zaba has west coast roots. Like many superstars, candy star Abba-Zaba got its start in Los Angeles, California in 1922. Since its introduction, the white taffy with a peanut butter center creates a nutty, chewy experience that really sticks with customers. Even if SeriousEats says they can’t decide how to eat it.
A superstar wouldn’t be a superstar without an entourage. Enter Abba-Zaba troupe of flavors — green apple, chocolate, and most recently, “Mystery”. Today, Abba-Zaba can be found in specialty candy shops across the US, still sporting that colorful checkerboard wrapper which adds vintage appeal to a candy selection.
Since 1924, customers have been all a-buzz about Bit-O-Honey. This chewy confection was born in Chicago, Illinois and features sticky honey-flavored taffy filled with almond pieces. It’s chewy texture is what lead to the popular ad slogan, “every bit of Bit-O-Honey goes a long way,” according to SnackHistory.com. And it really has gone a long way. Fast forward to today — one glimpse of the bright red, blue, and yellow wrapper with a smiling bee, and customers know they’re in for a honey of a snack. The bite-sized versions are still a favorite Halloween handout.
Chick-O-Stick proves the point that you don’t mess with Texas. Coming out of Lufkin, Texas, this beloved crunchy honeycomb candy with a creamy peanut butter center and crisp, toasted coconut coating was first called the Chicken Bone when it was introduced in 1938. We can’t confirm, but according to The Club Price, the candy is rumored to have this name because it looked like a piece of fried chicken with breading. Whether going by Chicken Bone, or Chick-O-Stick as it was re-named in the 1950’s, the crunchy, crispy, nutty candy continues to rule the roost both in stick and bite form. From the minute customers see the signature bright orange wrappers with retro script font, they may crow with delight. No need for a costume — the bright orange color is all this candy needs to get in the Halloween spirit.
Whether for a holiday or every day, 2020 has been all about comfort and nostalgia. A terrific way to satisfy nostalgic cravings is old-time candies. They bring us back to simpler times and conjure up stories to share with loved ones. Retailers can satisfy these cravings simply with a nostalgic candy display in or near the Halloween selection, or at the point of sale where it is sure to get noticed. Use signage to indicate the old time candies, even sorting them by year introduced. Educating staff on the different candy’s history is another way to enhance the customer experience and create new fans for old fashioned favorites.
Nassau Candy has hundreds of nostalgic candies and sodas in our selection. To check out our entire nostalgic selection