11 Flavorful Facts About Jelly Belly

Jelly beans aren’t necessarily new candies—they're made from a combination of pre-Biblical and 17th century candy techniques. But the Jelly Belly rebranded the sugary treat to something much sweeter, and much higher-end, than your typical flavored gummy.

1. JELLY BELLY'S FOUNDER IS FAMOUS FOR ANOTHER POPULAR CANDY.

Jelly Belly jelly beans are a 20th century sweet, but they are tied to a much older candy company: the Goelitz Candy Company. Confectioner Gustav Goelitz began creating and selling candies in 1869, just a couple of years after moving to the U.S. from Germany. By 1894, Goelitz had passed the company on to his sons, and they soon released Chicken Feed buttercream candies—the popular treat we now call candy corn. But, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the company would create its iconic jelly beans, and those candies wouldn’t feature the Jelly Belly name until 1980.

2. GOELITZ'S MINI BEANS WERE SPECIAL BECAUSE OF THEIR FLAVORED CENTERS.

Before Jelly Belly was officially on the scene, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company (which had undergone a name change) released its Mini Jelly Beans in bags of generic flavors. In 1965, the small beans were the first of their kind to have flavored centers, a distinguishing point for Goelitz beans at a time when other jelly beans had flavored shells but bland insides. By 1975, the Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans were available in eight specific flavors, including root beer, cream soda, green apple and grape.

3. THE GOURMET CANDY CONCEPT WAS CREATED BY SOMEONE ELSE.

In 1976, David Klein, who was a nut distributor at the time, thought that gourmet jelly beans featuring strong, unique flavors that weren’t commonly available would be worth the extra money to consumers. So Klein created new, exotic flavors and hired the Herman Goelitz Candy Company to create the recipes and a first batch. The overwhelming response to Jelly Belly beans launched Klein’s career—he became the the candy's spokesman and mascot. It won him a lot of publicity—enough that the Goelitz company offered to buy him out. In 1980, Klein sold the Jelly Belly trademark to the candy factory for a whopping $4.8 million, and Klein says he instantly regretted selling off his most-famous creation. The Herman Goelitz Candy Company didn't file to change its name to the Jelly Belly Candy Company until 2001.

4. RONALD REAGAN WAS THE COMPANY'S BEST (UNOFFICIAL) SPOKESPERSON.

President Ronald Reagan gifted President-elect Bill Clinton a jar of his favorite Jelly Bellys in 1992. Getty

Ronald Reagan was an early advocate of the brand, having been a fan of Goelitz's Mini Jelly Beans since the late '60s, back when he was Governor of California. (He'd used the candy as a smoking cessation tool—and it worked!) For Reagan’s presidential inauguration in 1981, 3.5 tons of Jelly Belly beans were shipped to Washington D.C., including a newly created blueberry flavor to round out the patriotic color scheme with very cherry and coconut. During his presidency, Reagan’s office and the other federal buildings he passed his bags out to consumed an estimated 300,000 jelly beans per month. At one point, specialty jelly bean holders were installed in Air Force One to keep any of the president's precious snacks from spilling during turbulence.

5. THERE ARE NUMEROUS REAGAN PORTRAITS MADE OUT OF JELLY BELLYS.

In an incredibly fitting tribute, the Reagan Library in southern California features one large portrait of the former president in front of an American flag, made out of approximately 10,000 Jelly Bellys. The Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield, California also has a large double portrait featuring both Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan. And there are others, including one featuring his famous cowboy hat, another of Reagan in front of a globe, and a separate flag portrait designed from a different angle.

6. JELLY BELLY HAS A STRICT FLAVOR DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.

So, what makes a jelly bean gourmet? According to Jelly Belly, it’s the flavoring. While Jelly Belly beans come in 50 original flavors along with specialty beans, new additions are a constant work in progress. The number one rule to new flavors is that they have to be “instantly recognizable”—because what’s worse than not knowing a candy flavor? To make new jelly beans taste like their real-life inspiration, food scientists spend hours researching and taste testing ingredients to narrow in on a specific flavor. Foods that don’t pass the instant test, like Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie, are sent back to the lab for additional tweaking. And sometimes, flops are used as novelty flavors (like barf).

7. JELLY BELLY TRADEMARKED BEAN-SHAPED PIZZA.

After taking a tour at Jelly Belly’s California or Wisconsin factories, you can balance out a sugar rush at the Jelly Belly Café. Carbs might replace sugar, but the kidney bean shape remains in the form of pizza and hamburgers. If you’re feeling inspired to replicate jelly bean-shaped buns or crusts, beware: Jelly Belly owns the design trademark for pizza, burger buns. and meat patties. In late 2015, the confectioner filed paperwork to trademark the kidney bean shape for jelly beans, too.

8. EATING GROSS FLAVORS HAS BECOME EXTREMELY MARKETABLE FOR THEM.

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Unusual flavors, like canned dog food and stinky socks, are surprisingly authentic Jelly Belly flavors. In 2007, the candy manufacturer released the first packages of their BeanBoozled challenge, where classic flavors (like coconut and buttered popcorn) sit alongside their not-so-great look-a-likes (like baby wipes and rotten egg) in the same container. Unsuspecting snackers might be fooled, but mindful eaters are essentially playing a game of taste bud roulette. Is that green speckled bean Juicy Pear, or Booger? For the brave, Jelly Belly is releasing its fourth edition of BeanBoozled this spring.

9. JELLY BELLYS HAVE BEEN TO SPACE.

Jelly Belly beans became the first jelly beans in outer space in 1983 when a package was secretly stowed aboard the Challenger on President Reagan’s orders, accompanying first female astronaut Sally Ride into space. Playing with (and eating) jelly beans in space hasn’t stopped since—astronauts on the International Space Station took videos of floating beans in 2007.

10. THE COMPANY'S BEER-FLAVORED BEANS DIDN'T GO OVER AS WELL AS SOME.

In 2014, Jelly Belly launched a Draft Beer bean that brewed up tension among parents and candy enthusiasts. The alcohol-free flavor was under development for nearly three years but caused a stir soon after its release because of Jelly Belly’s kid-friendly reputation, despite the company’s assurance that alcohol-inspired flavors were only marketed to adults. Not everyone thought the new flavor was a bad idea—according to Jelly Belly, beer-flavored jelly beans had been a common request for years. And, the beer-flavored beans aren’t the company’s only cocktail flavor; margarita, strawberry daiquiri, and pina colada jelly beans are also available for buzz-free snacking.

11. JELLY BELLY RELEASED A CANDY LINE FOR ATHLETES.

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It might seem unusual to market sugar and sweets to athletes, but Jelly Belly has its own line of candy for the physically active. Sports Beans are dubbed “Energizing Jelly Beans,” meant for athletes to power up on the go. While some varieties are packed with vitamins and electrolytes, another line called Extreme Sport Beans includes caffeine for a small energy boost. Jelly Belly even sponsors a pro cycling team to represent its sugary sports bites. Perhaps that kind of innovation is what keeps Jelly Belly from becoming stale.

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Why a Readily Available Used Paperback Is Selling for Thousands of Dollars on Amazon
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At first glance, getting ahold of a copy of One Snowy Knight, a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, isn't hard at all. You can get the book, which originally came out in 2009, for a few bucks on Amazon. And yet according to one seller, a used copy of the book is worth more than $2600. Why? As The New York Times reports, this price disparity has more to do with the marketing techniques of Amazon's third-party sellers than it does the market value of the book.

As of June 5, a copy of One Snowy Knight was listed by a third-party seller on Amazon for $2630.52. By the time the Times wrote about it on July 15, the price had jumped to $2800. That listing has since disappeared, but a seller called Supersonic Truck still has a used copy available for $1558.33 (plus shipping!). And it's not even a rare book—it was reprinted in July.

The Times found similar listings for secondhand books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than their market price. Those retailers might not even have the book on hand—but if someone is crazy enough to pay $1500 for a mass-market paperback that sells for only a few dollars elsewhere, that retailer can make a killing by simply snapping it up from somewhere else and passing it on to the chump who placed an order with them.

Not all the prices for used books on Amazon are so exorbitant, but many still defy conventional economic wisdom, offering used copies of books that are cheaper to buy new. You can get a new copy of the latest edition of One Snowy Knight for $16.99 from Amazon with Prime shipping, but there are third-party sellers asking $24 to $28 for used copies. If you're not careful, how much you pay can just depend on which listing you click first, thinking that there's not much difference in the price of used books. In the case of One Snowy Knight, there are different listings for different editions of the book, so you might not realize that there's a cheaper version available elsewhere on the site.

An Amazon product listing offers a mass-market paperback book for $1558.33.
Screenshot, Amazon

Even looking at reviews might not help you find the best listing for your money. People tend to buy products with the most reviews, rather than the best reviews, according to recent research, but the site is notorious for retailers gaming the system with fraudulent reviews to attract more buyers and make their way up the Amazon rankings. (There are now several services that will help you suss out whether the reviews on a product you're looking at are legitimate.)

For more on how Amazon's marketplace works—and why its listings can sometimes be misleading—we recommend listening to this episode of the podcast Reply All, which has a fascinating dive into the site's third-party seller system.

[h/t The New York Times]

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Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Sam's Club Brings $.99 Polish Hot Dogs to All Stores After They're Cut From Costco's Food Courts
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Elsie Hui, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

In early July, Costco angered many customers with the announcement that its beloved Polish hot dog was being removed from the food court menu. If you're someone who believes cheap meat tastes best when eaten in a bulk retail warehouse, Sam's Club has good news: The competing big box chain has responded to Costco's news by promising to roll out Polish hot dogs in all its stores later this month, Business Insider reports.

The Polish hot dog has long been a staple at Costco. Like Costco's classic hot dog, the Polish dog was part of the food court's famously affordable $1.50 hot dog and a soda package. The company says the item is being cut in favor of healthier offerings, like açai bowls, organic burgers, and plant-based protein salads.

The standard hot dog and the special deal will continue to be available in stores, but customers who prefer the meatier Polish dog aren't satisfied. Fans immediately took their gripes to the internet—there's even a petition on Change.org to "Bring Back the Polish Dog!" with more than 6500 signatures.

Now Sam's Clubs are looking to draw in some of those spurned customers. Its version of the Polish dog will be sold for just $.99 at all stores starting Monday, July 23. Until now, the chain's Polish hot dogs had only been available in about 200 Sam's Club cafés.

It's hard to imagine the Costco food court will lose too many of its loyal followers from the menu change. Polish hot dogs may be getting axed, but the popular rotisserie chicken and robot-prepared pizza will remain.

[h/t Business Insider]

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