Jelly Belly And The History Of Jelly Beans
We love our jelly beans here in the UK. But our fascination here is mild compared to across the Atlantic in the United States. Over there they even have a National Jelly Bean Day.
How did jelly beans come to be?
The origins are vague, but it is thought that they were derived from turkish delight. As far back as the 17th century, the hard, sweet shell was being used on almonds. Centuries later, the Boston confectioner, William Schrafft, is thought to be the first to use the phrase ‘jelly bean’. He was proud of his sweets and encouraged people to send them to soldiers fighting the American Civil War.
That was in 1861. Mentions of jelly beans appear more frequently in the American press as the decades wore on. Eventually, the company Jelly Belly was formed and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is that history?
In the 1970s, confectioner Herman Rowland was approached by a candy delivery driver, David Klein. Klein convinced Rowland that they should make jelly beans using natural ingredients and flavours.
The Jelly Belly jelly bean was born in 1976. They started with 8 flavours, some of which had never been considered before. These flavours included such delights as root beer and cream soda. Not only that, they experimented with having the flavours in both the centres and the shells.
All of this, combined with selling bags of just one flavour, was a big hit with the buying public. Rowland and Klein had pitched their jelly beans as a premium product. They were able to charge a premium price and sales just grew and grew.
Within a year, the popularity had started to spread around the world and their California production operation was bursting at the seams.
And the growth continued. Into the 1980s and President Ronald Reagan was seen sharing Jelly Belly’s finest at cabinet meetings and even dispatched bags to astronauts on the space shuttle program.
In the 1990s, the growth was still relentless. The original factory became a tourist destination, with 10s of 1000s of visitors a year. Jelly Belly made their first steps into direct retail with factory outlet stores.
After merging with the sister Goelitz company to form the Jelly Belly Candy Company, the size of the operation was staggering.
A few Jelly Belly bean facts:
A bean takes 7 to 14 days to manufacture.
There are 50 official flavours of bean.
4 calories per bean.
Zero fat, dairy or gluten.
We are proud stockists of Jelly Belly jelly beans and many other of the company’s goods. A more recent development has been the Harry Potter themed range of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Bean.