US Candy
Many candy brands are known and loved around the world. And then there’s American candy. While there are many things to appreciate about the US, many outsiders feel that the candy Americans are so fond of is not one of them. In fact, many popular types and trends in US candy are shocking to the rest of the world, and we’re going to look at some of them here, like dagashi candy, candy corn, Twizzlers, lollies online and caramel apples.

But first, in the interests of fairness, one of the most surprising candy trends in recent times, Ruby Chocolate, is not an American invention but was developed in Switzerland after years of research and testing. It’s pink, it doesn’t taste like chocolate and has a flavor that’s described as ‘intriguing’. Needless to add, it’s become very popular in the US.

Why is US Candy So Different?

It’s difficult to answer that question without going into much history, culture, and politics, but it can be summed up by saying that America is a vast country. Most Americans don’t travel beyond their borders, and many types of American candies can’t be found anywhere else. And candy from other parts of the world isn’t easy to find in the US or costs a bit more.

This means that candy tastes and trends have developed in isolation from the rest of the world, and it shows. Many of the top favorite types of American candies, like Hershey’s chocolate bars, candy corn, Twizzlers, etc., are certainly acquired tastes. Foreigners find them baffling and tend to steer clear after a first disastrous encounter.

For one thing, American candy and snacks, in general, have very loud, intense flavors compared to their counterparts from England, Germany, or Japan. Another reason is that the ingredients can be very different, especially in the case of Hershey’s chocolate bars. American candy is also much sweeter, shocking to people not accustomed to the taste.

Why Do Hershey’s Bars Taste So Strange?

Most tastes are acquired, and the foods and snacks we like are a matter of habit and of picking things to which we’re accustomed. This is undoubtedly true of Hershey’s bars, which are appreciated only by those who have grown up eating them or have learned to like them. Anyone from outside the US who is tasting a Hershey chocolate bar will have wondered if something was wrong with their taste buds or with the so-called chocolate bar they’re holding.

Hershey’s bars taste nothing like chocolate bars anywhere else in the world, and not in a good way. But there’s a reason for this, and it lies in the history of this candy. In the early years of production, the Hershey’s chocolate factory would get milk from suppliers that was slightly curdled. This gave the chocolate a strange taste, but the founder of the company, Milton Hershey, didn’t want to waste the milk.

The solution was to dehydrate the slightly curdled milk and use it to make chocolate. American consumers loved the taste, so much so that even when the milk was no longer curdled, butyric acid was added to recreate the taste. That’s not the only difference between Hershey’s and other chocolate bars from beyond the US. Cadbury’s chocolate from the UK, for example, has more milk and less sugar, giving it a creamier taste. Cadbury’s also has more cocoa, as do European chocolates in general.

These differences explain why many forefingers don’t think of Hershey’s bars as chocolate. It is an acquired taste, and long residence in the US will help develop a liking and even a craving for these candy bars, which are easy to find at every checkout.

Candy Corn, Twizzlers and Caramel Apples

Blame it on the advertising, but people have high expectations when they finally get to try American candy favorites like corn, Twizzlers, and caramel apples. However, their hopes of a tasty treat are soon dashed as the taste of sugar drowns out everything else. Candy corn is one of the most popular and mystifying types of American candy. To foreigners, it tastes sugary and waxy and then turns into mush.

Twizzlers look incredible, but when you bite into them, there’s no taste at all and certainly no hint of the licorice flavor that one expects. Caramel apples are another of the things that look so tempting when you see them on sale in stores or at a party. They also smell lovely, but the actual taste is sugary and forgettable. Also in the category of “tried once and then never again” are toffee made from goat milk or maple syrup. In fact, you could even put them in the category of “tried once and then gave the bag away to an unsuspecting American acquaintance”.

But in the end, it’s all a matter of taste and what you’re used to. In fact, once you get used to the taste of Hershey’s bars, you may come to like it and associate them, as Americans do, with comfort and a sense of home.