Confections by Jelly Belly
In 1869, two years after immigrating to America from Germany Gustav Goelitz bought an ice cream and candy store in Belleville, Illinois. He and his brother, Albert, set out in a horse drawn wagon to sell their sweets to nearby communities This candy company remains in the family – run by the fourth generation, the great grandsons of Gustav Goelitz.
One of the earliest Goelitz innovations was “buttercream” candy, including candy corn, and it is still made with the same recipe used in 1900! But, what about their most famous candy, the Jelly Bean; when was it developed? According to the company “The great–great jelly bean ancestor appeared in the 1800s, but jelly candies of one kind or another have been around for thousands of years. ‘Turkish delight’, a citrus, honey and rose water jell, has been putting smiles on kids' faces since biblical times.”
Fast forward to 1960: Nineteen-year-old Herman Goelitz Rowland, Sr., fourth generation candy maker planned to carry on the family candy business. But times were challenging for his family's Oakland, California business, which was still best known for making candy corn. Instead of closing the doors, however, “Herm” and his family decided to expand and innovate, and to begin making jelly beans. Then came the Reagan years! In 1967 some of those beans managed to interest the Governor of California, Ronald Reagan. Since 1967 and through his two terms in office, the Governor ate “Herm's” jelly beans, passing them around at official meetings.
In 1976, a Los Angeles candy distributor had an idea for a jelly bean made with natural flavorings, intensely flavored both in the center and outside in the shell. He contacted Herm at Jelly Belly (formerly known as Herman Goelitz Candy Co.) and an historic collaboration began between a candy maker and a marketing “guru”.
The first eight Jelly Belly flavors were born in 1976: Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Licorice. They are still popular! President Ronald Reagan made Jelly Belly beans a staple in the Oval Office, on Air Force One and on Marine One. In fact, the president’s passion for jelly beans inspired Blueberry flavor, developed so he could serve red, white, and blue beans at his inaugural parties. Diplomats and world leaders clamored for Jelly Belly beans. And guess what? Jelly Belly was also the first jellybean in outer space.
We tasted two of their newest creations, the addictive Jelly Belly Chocolate Dips (OU-D). Mouthwatering – five varieties of beans -very cherry, orange, coconut, strawberry, and raspberry- smothered in dark chocolate. Yes, of course, we ate the whole package! We also enjoyed our tasting of the new cocktail flavored, alcohol free Jelly Belly beans – Mojito, Pomegranate Cosmo, Peach Bellini, Margarita, Piña Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri. And, one more Jelly Belly fact. There are only about 4 calories in each Jelly Belly bean. We like that bean count!
The descendants of Gustav Goelitz continue to manufacture some of the best loved candies in the world under the brand name Confections by Jelly Belly. Today the company still makes candy corn and more than 100 other confections.
KosherEye chats with Jelly Belly:
What sets Jelly Belly apart from the other Jelly Bean products on the market?
Love at first bite! We strive to make every flavor special and unique, so if you are tasting a Juicy Pear flavor it really tastes like a pear. We make the largest range of flavors on the market anywhere in the world, currently around 92 flavors, and each is special. In order to do that we devote 7 to 21 days to make a Jelly Belly bean – some flavors simply take longer and more care in order to reach perfection. Although we make over 100 confections, and they are all certified OU Kosher, most people know us for Jelly Belly beans.
Why did the company become kosher certified?
Jelly Belly beans have been certified kosher for two decades, however, once we changed to the Orthodox Union kosher certification three years ago we noticed more acceptance by kosher consumers. Because Jelly Belly beans have always been gelatin-free and we only use the highest quality ingredients, we knew we had a product that would appeal to kosher consumers.
When did Jelly Belly portraits start? Are they sponsored by Jelly Belly?
The Jelly Belly Art Collection began around 1982 when a San Francisco artist noticed the range of colors of Jelly Belly beans and began using them as a palate of colors for sweet artwork. Since then we have commissioned over 100 pieces of art in our private collection. Many of them can be seen on our public tours at plants in California and Wisconsin, or at special showings around the country.
How long did it take to create the Mona Lisa portrait?
About 100 hours. We have other new bean masterpieces recently completed including Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Is there a complete online list of your kosher certified products?
The consumer can access a current list of OU certified products at JellyBelly.com.
What are your most popular flavors? (We know that Ronald Reagan's was licorice!)
Very Cherry, closely followed by Buttered Popcorn. Licorice tends to be our third most popular flavor.
For product information, please visit JellyBelly.com.
February 1, 2011