- The Oldest Candy Bars in History
- Bottom Line
Do you know when the oldest candy bar was created? Or have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of starting mass production of candy around the world?
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Over the years, candy has become a trivial part of our everyday lives. Millions of people consume candy every day without even thinking about how it was created or how long it has been around. Believe it or not, candy or something like candy has been around for almost as long as humanity has existed.
People eat candy for breakfast, as a snack, or sometimes for dinner. It is very popular to give candy on special holidays. Going to the movies is unimaginable without having sweet treats in hand. And guess what? Candy-lovers never forget to turn to the oldest candy bars when they want something sweet.
Let’s review the history of the oldest candy bars briefly and see which of them remain even in the modern candy industry.
- Fry’s Chocolate Cream
- Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar
- Cadbury Dairy Milk
- Oh Henry
- Peanut Chews
- Fry’s Turkish Delight
- Nestle Chocolate Milk
- Goo Goo Cluster
- Lindt Chocolate Bar
- Clark Bar
The Oldest Candy Bars in History
Everyone has tasted some sort of sweet, such as hard candy or chocolate candy bars. Candy has been around for a very long time. Surprisingly, even cavemen made candy out of honey. The Ancient Egyptians were one of the first who began making candy around 2000 B.C. Later, by 950 A.D., the Arabs had invented caramel, the Greeks used honey, fruits, and nuts to make sweets, and the Chinese also added flavors like ginger, nuts, and licorice to the honey and fruits.
The first modern candies were made in the 16th century. Later in the 19th century, candy manufacturing developed into an industry around the globe. Candy-making has been increasing rapidly in the past hundred years. In the 20th century, candy bars became one of the most popular sweets of all time.
The oldest candy bar was created in 1847 by Joseph Fry using bittersweet chocolate. Henry Nestle and Daniel Peter first introduced milk chocolate to the world in 1875. During the 19th and 20th centuries, many other candy manufacturers went into business and started mixing different ingredients with chocolate. This was the start of the creation of the oldest candy bars in history.
Candy bars became popular during World War I when chocolate was sent to American soldiers who were serving overseas during the war. By the end of the war, when the soldiers came back home, manufacturers had created so many types of old candy bars that the future of candy bars was assured and the new industry was beginning to bloom. One of the oldest candy bars was created during the World War I period. Actually, there were around 40 thousand candy bars that appeared on the scene, most of which are still on the market today.
The history of making chocolate bars starts in 1847 when Joseph Fry discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter into Dutch cocoa. Soon after that, a little company called Cadbury started releasing boxes of chocolate candies in England.
Not long later, another pioneering company, Nestle, entered the market. Since then, chocolate bars have become widely popular all around the world. Here is a list of the top ten oldest chocolate bars in history.
1. Fry’s Chocolate Cream (1866)
Fry’s Chocolate Cream was first introduced in 1866. It is considered to be the direct descendent of Fry’s Cream Stick, first produced in 1853. It is considered the first industrialized and affordable chocolate bar in the brand’s history. The original chocolate bar consists of a plain fondant center, which is coated with plain chocolate. There are a variety of fondant flavors, like peppermint cream, raspberry cream, orange cream, and strawberry cream.
It’s been more than 150 years since the first appearance of Fry’s Chocolate Cream, and it appears to be one of the oldest chocolate bars that are still on the market. Fry’s chocolate factory, which is now known as Cadbury, has been associated with chocolate making since 1761. They still remain one of the biggest chocolate manufacturers on the market today.
2. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar (1900)
If you are looking for the oldest candy bars in history, Hershey’s bars are definitely one of them. The Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar was first sold in 1900 and has achieved instant success. Hershey’s refers to it as “The Great American Chocolate Bar.” We must agree that it’s at least one of the greatest things to have stayed in the market for so long.
Hershey’s milk chocolate bar was the first mass-produced chocolate in the United States. Even though it’s one of the oldest chocolate bars, its flavor is more recognizable in the United States and Canada than internationally. Hershey’s chocolate-making process was developed by Milton Hershey and is a trade secret. In addition to Hershey’s oldest chocolate bar, the company also produces several other varieties of chocolate bars, like Special Dark Chocolate, Cookies ‘N’ Cream, and Mr. Goodbar (with peanuts).
3. Cadbury Dairy Milk (1905)
When you are thinking about the oldest candy bars, Cadbury Dairy Milk Bars deserve a place at the top of the list. The company itself dates back to 1824 when John Cadbury opened his first store that sold tea, cocoa, and drinking chocolate. It was not until 1905 that Cadbury’s most famous chocolate bar was created.
But did you know that Dairy Milk wasn’t among Cadbury’s oldest candy bars? As a matter of fact, the company has been producing chocolate bars since 1894. However, Cadbury Dairy Milk became the most famous because it featured more milk than usual chocolate bars. Not surprisingly, Cadbury continued producing this and other chocolate bars, and considering its success, Dairy Milk is still in production even in 2022.
4. Oh Henry (1920)
Have you ever heard anything about the Williamson Candy Company? If you were born in the 21st century, chances are that you haven’t. The reason is that this company is now owned by Nestlé, but the truth is that this was the company that originally produced one of the oldest candy bars – Oh Henry.
This popular chocolate bar originated in 1920. Although the factual information about the name of this chocolate bar is unknown, the legend says that it was named after a handsome young man who used to flirt with female workers of the Williamson Candy Company. Whatever the story behind this candy, the fact of the matter is that it’s still in production. However, this time under the Hershey company.
5. Peanut Chews (1917)
Peanut Chews was indeed among the most beloved and oldest candy bars for peanut lovers in the 1900s. If you haven’t tasted this candy yet, luckily, Goldenberg, the company that produces it, has already started manufacturing it.
Unlike many other candies from the previous century that were created to please people in the US, Peanut Chews has a fascinating history. In fact, it was created specifically for soldiers who had to fight in the First World War. No, Goldenberg didn’t really care about improving soldiers’ moods during wartime. Instead, the candy was created as a nutritional supplement that was easy to transport and had the potential to provide energy.
6. Toblerone (1908)
Speaking of the oldest candy bars in the history of the candy industry, it’s hard not to mention the legendary Toblerone. This chocolate bar was developed in Switzerland in 1908, at a time when little was known about chocolate-making techniques. Although the confectionery industry has experienced significant development since then, this bar is still everyone’s favorite!
Toblerone was first produced by Berner Chocolade Fabrik Tobler & Co. Even though you can’t find a company with this name anymore, the chocolate is now manufactured by Mondelēz International, which owns the previous manufacturer. If you’re not aware yet, Toblerone is a tasty nougat bar that comes in a triangular shape and is made with honey and almonds. It is unnecessary to say that this iconic bar will remain with us for many years into the future.
7. Fry’s Turkish Delight (1914)
Believe it or not, Chocolate Cream isn’t the only chocolate bar produced by Fry’s on our list of the oldest candy bars. Even though Turkish Delight was created in 1914 and isn’t as old as the previous candy bar, many people prefer it over Fry’s Chocolate Cream. This candy was first manufactured by J. S. Fry & Sons Company. Soon, in 1919, the company was owned by Cadbury.
The fact that Turkish treats such as Baklava, almond cookies, or rice pudding are popular all over the world is probably one of the reasons why the company decided to name Fry’s Turkish Delight and why it achieved such great success in a very short time. However, that candy is rose-flavored chocolate of jelly consistency that includes milk chocolate and is indeed very tasty.
8. Nestlé Milk Chocolate (1875)
Are you a fan of milk chocolate? If so, chances are that Nestlé’s Milk Chocolate is among your favorite oldest candy bars! In fact, this chocolate bar was first produced almost a century ago, in 1875. However surprising it might seem, the company wasn’t satisfied with the sales and discontinued the candy in 2016.
Interestingly, milk chocolate is almost as old as the Nestlé company itself. This popular candy bar was the first collaboration between Henri Nestlé and Daniel Peter and was manufactured even before the Nestle company was founded in 1879. The original name of the chocolate was “Gala Peter,” but it turns out that this creative name didn’t really work, so the manufacturers decided to change it to “Milk Chocolate,” which quickly achieved success in Europe.
9. Goo Goo Cluster (1912)
You won’t find many worldwide candy bars that originate in Nashville, Tennessee. But Goo Goo Cluster definitely deserves a special place when speaking about the oldest candy bars. Invented in 1912 by the Standard Candy Company, the Goo Goo Cluster is also known as Nashville’s Official Candy.
It’s not really surprising that fans often wonder where this weird name comes from. Although there’s no official information about the name, fans believe that it has to be related to the American country music stage, the Grand Ole Opry, which was partnered with the candy. But the truth is that Goo Goo Cluster was produced 13 years before the stage was introduced.
Goo Goo Cluster is still on sale today, and what’s better, its recipe hasn’t changed a bit. However, the company added some variations, including pecan and peanut butter flavors.
10. Lindt Chocolate Bar (1979)
Ever wondered what makes Lindt Chocolate Bar so special? Well, the answer probably has to do with its exceptional quality. As a matter of fact, the Lindt Chocolate Bar is created with a mix of individual beans from different regions of the world. But what’s more important, the candy bar meets all the social and ecological standards, not to mention premium cocoa beans, and the roasting process is close to ideal. That’s why the Lindt Chocolate Bar revolutionized candy history.
The Lindt Chocolate Bar is among the oldest and most exceptional candy bars that were introduced in 1979, back when chocolate bars were still very hard to chew and process. However, Lindt knew this was a huge problem for consumers, and that’s why they created a machine called “conche” in order to produce superior quality chocolate.
And after several unsuccessful experiments, it finally worked – Lindt created the first-ever chocolate that melted in the mouth! That’s how Lindt made history and that’s why this chocolate bar still remains one of the oldest candy bars that isn’t going to leave the market any time soon.
11. Clark Bar (1917)
We’re going to end this list of the oldest candy bars with Clark Bar, an American-based chocolate bar produced in 1917. Founded by the D. L. Clark Company, which has now been acquired by NECCO, this candy bar remains one of the most successful American candies. However, due to its bankruptcy in 2018, NECCO discontinued the product.
The most interesting fact about Clark Bar is that it takes only 90 minutes to create an entire bar. What’s more, people often confuse the taste of Clark Bar with that of the famous Butterfinger since both bars have a peanut butter flavor and a crunchy texture.
All in all, a lot has changed in candy-making history, but many of the oldest candy bars are still in production, and even more, they’re still on their way to success. Who could have imagined that Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Oh Henry, Toblerone, or Nestlé Milk Chocolate would survive for more than a century and become the best-selling candies of all time? But nowadays, we can say one thing for sure: time goes by, new candy bars are produced, but these oldest candy bars will always have significant places in the hearts of candy-lovers.
Nato is a content writer and researcher with a background in psychology. She’s passionate about writing about the candy industry and exploring the cultural significance of sweets and treats. She believes that the stories behind our favorite snacks can reveal a great deal about our values.
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