The 1940s were an industrious time in American history, and the candy industry was no exception. While the vast majority of sweet delights born during the decade have long since vanished into the sugary abyss, some big hits were introduced that endure to this day.
Take a look at seven such successes, these candies introduced in the 1940s that you can still pick up in any convenience store or supermarket. And then, indulge your sweet tooth and your thirst for trivia a little further by checking out our list of candies from the 1950s that are still around today.
Iconic Candy from the ’40s
- Almond Joy – Hershey’s introduced the chocolate and coconut confection known as the Mounds bar in the 1920s. Then, in 1946, it dawned on them that “Sometimes you feel like a nut.” So, they stuck an almond on top of the coconut filling before coating it with chocolate, and thus the Almond Joy candy bar was born.
- Bazooka Gum – Bazooka bubble gum—named for a weapon of war and sporting patriotic red, white, and blue packaging—debuted in shortly after WWII, in 1947. However, it wasn’t until 1953 that the maker Topps started including a little collectible comic strip inside each pack, and in 1954 Bazook Joe entered the arena of now-classic comics that began in the 1950s.
- Jolly Ranchers – This beloved sucking candy was introduced in 1949 by the Jolly Rancher Company, though it was later acquired by Hershey’s. The original flavors were apple, watermelon, and Fire Stix. The options quickly expanded to include plenty of other flavors though, such as cherry, grape, lemon, peach, sour apple, orange tangerine, and more. Many flavors have come and gone over the years.
- Junior Mints – In 1949, the James O. Welch Candy Company gave the world these refreshing little minty bites covered in dark chocolate. The candy’s name is a whimsical derivative of the name of a series of stories and their early 1940s Broadway play adaptation entitled Junior Miss. Junior Mints changed ownership hands a few times, and are currently manufactured by Tootsie Roll Industries.
- M&Ms – Introduced by Mars in 1941, these iconic little candy-coated chocolates are sold in over 100 countries today, and more than 400 million individual pieces are produced daily in the US. The well-known “melts in your mouth, not in your hand” tagline evolved from the fact that the candy coating was originally created so American soldiers could carry chocolates without ending up with a melty mess.
- Smarties – These pastel-colored sugar tablets were first introduced by Ce De Candy Inc.—today known as Smarties Candy Company—in 1949. The US factory in New Jersey now produces about 1 billion rolls per year, while a second factory in Ontario, Canada (where the candy is sold as Rockets, because Nestle sells a different chocolate candy there called Smarties) makes another 1.5 billion rolls annually.
- York Peppermint Patties – A refreshing coin-shaped candy featuring a dark chocolate coating over a minty filling, York Peppermint Patties debuted in 1940. Pre-dating the similar entry on this list, Junior Mints, by about nine years, these are now one of the oldest mint candies around. It was also notably unique at the time it was released because it’s relatively firm, when existing peppermint candies were fairly soft and gooey.