Jelly beans are not a new confection by any means. Versions of the kidney-shaped candy with the hard shell and gooey interior have a history that dates back to the Civil War era. For those who like variety, however, the traditional beans never offered much more than a handful of generic, artificial flavors. That is, until the arrival of the Jelly Belly.
Jelly Belly jelly beans were first introduced in the late 70s, the brainchild of a marketing whiz named David Klein, who came up with the idea of selling individually flavored jelly beans, each with remarkably accurate flavor renditions. The official list of flavors consists of 50 varieties, including such traditional flavors as cherry, grape and lemon. But that’s really only the tip of the iceberg.
The real fun comes from the remarkably realistic specimens such as cream soda, cotton candy, green apple, peanut butter, blueberry, chocolate pudding, plum, Dr. Pepper, toasted marshmallow, watermelon, and even stranger varieties such as buttered popcorn and jalapeno. Perhaps not surprisingly, the roasted garlic, buttered toast, baked bean and pumpkin pie flavors were briefly introduced … and quickly discontinued.