One of the sweetest topics we could chat about here at Vidler’s is candy.
Whether you call it candy, lollies, or sweets, everyone loves an occasional sugary concoction. The development of candy from various parts of the world is an interesting tale to discover how humans went from simple recipes of honey-coated nuts and berries to the complexities of flavors like the sour then sweet flavors of Warheads.
Human’s desire for sweet substances transcends time as our early ancestors discovered the sweet tastes of different fruits and byproducts like honey. Researchers have used fMRI imaging to show how human’s brain activity peaks in areas that are associated with reward, novelty and motivation. With such positive re-enforcers to sugar in our brains, no wonder it’s hard to stay away from.
Some of the earliest attempts to create candy products came in the form of nuts, berries and spices held together with honey. This granola-bar-esque candy was found primarily in upper, more temperate climes where sugar cane does not grow. For those more tropical climates with access to sugarcane, local people discovered the sweetness of the plant and began refining it into different products in India as early as 500 BCE.
Candy production really hit its stride during the industrial revolution when confectioners worked diligently to outdo their competition and hide away their recipes and packaging started to take shape. Many of the candy wrappings that were developed at the time are still being used today, like foil on chocolate to keep out moisture and wax paper to reduce sticking by gummy products.
Like cuisine, candy flavors developed around cultural palates, but they always had one main ingredient: sugar. Candy makers whose products are shipped internationally will cater to the markets they ship to by only selecting certain flavors to be made available. For example, Swedish Fish was created in Sweden and the original red flavor (no one really knows what flavor it is) is available across the world. However, only in select markets where will you find the salmiak flavor, a salty black licorice-flavored fish which is a popular flavor in Sweden. To put this into WNY terms, think of sponge candy and your inability to find it anywhere else.
Back home, Americans tend to love the sweet stuff a little too much, but we’re only number 7 out of the top 10 sugar-consuming nations according to the World Health Organization. Americans typically eat 90 grams per day. Brazil tops the charts on the global sugar scale with an average of 152 grams a day per person. That roughly 144 Haribo gummy bears a day per person.
Americans spend approximately $16 billion on 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate every year. Twinkies add another $500 million to that figure, to put other products in perspective. Needless to say, we have a sweet tooth.
At Vidlers, our candy bar caters to a variety of palates seeking combinations of sweet and savory, salty and more. We have dozens of varieties of chocolate, gummy candies, hard candies and candies that make you wonder, “why would they even make that flavor?”
Even if you’re not into the sweet stuff, you’ll be sure to find something at Vidler’s 5 and 10 in East Aurora, where you’ll never know what you’ll find around the corner.