When we are choosing our sweets which might help us enjoy our days during these difficult times, it would do us good to remember that these comforts weren’t so easy to enjoy when Britain was surviving WWII.
For a start, a lot of food was rationed. General rationing started after only a few months, but it wasn’t until 1942 that sweets and chocolate were added to the list. At the most difficult times, households were limited to 8oz a month. When you consider that an individual chocolate bar can be 2oz, that would mean sharing very small amounts across an average family.
What Was Popular During Rationing?
So many of the sweets which were popular back then are still big sellers today. We can offer you some nostalgia with a selection of vintage sweets:
Lemon Sherberts date back way back into the early 19th century and so were already a firm favourite by the mid 20th.
Flying Saucers are another old favourite. Shaped like UFOs and containing tangy sherbert they were popular not least because they are light and so you would get more for your rations.
Barley Sugars are even older. Some have claimed to trace the recipe back to 17th century France. There are different versions around the world, but the most common feature crystalized sugar mixed with barley water or corn syrup.
Cola Cubes or kola cubes are another classic hard sweet which originated in Britain. Hard, crystalized sugar infused with that distinctive cola flavour. They are generally still sold from jars by weight and we find they are as popular as ever.
Liquorice is available in so many forms now. We sell strings and cubes, twirls and torpedoes and, of course, good old liquorice allsorts. Many of these were available during the war and some got around the rationing by having root liquorice, which wasn’t rationed. Not as pleasant as when it’s refined and sweetened, but apparently very good for you.
Jelly Babies are another classic which probably sells even better today than back then. Amazing how, despite the constant development of new confectionery, these old favourites remain the first choice for so many.
How Long Did Rationing Last?
As the situation improved and manufacturers were able to supply more of the nation's favourite sweets, the rations were doubled to 16 ounces per month. This still seems like a very small amount to those of us too young to remember those times.
Rationing didn’t end with the war in 1945, some items were still being rationed right up until 1954. On the day rationing finally ended, many companies took to the streets to share free sweets with children. Sales of nougat, liquorice and toffee apples boomed. The industry was kick started, an estimated £100bn was spent on sweets and confectionery in that first year.
Whilst we are certainly living through challenging and fearful times, we are not rationed and can still choose all of our favourite treats.
Get in touch today to stock up on your most popular retro classic sweets.