Why 3.5 Tons Of Jelly Beans Were Once Shipped To The White House

Presidents of the United States of America are such high profile, historical figures that sometimes it's easy to forget they're also real people. Some are picky eaters, while others love to chow down, which can involve a sweet tooth. Naturally, presidents' favorite foods vary throughout history.

Joe Biden told US Weekly that his biggest "vice" is chocolate chip ice cream. Most of the recent-yet-former presidents seem to prefer savory snacks. Donald Trump is (in)famous for ordering fast food; Barack Obama pointed out nachos in particular; and Bill Clinton ate loads of cheeseburgers back in the day, according to Business Insider. Per that same source, though, Dwight D. Eisenhower ate fudge, Herbert Hoover would take marshmallows atop his sweet potatoes, and Calvin Coolidge fancied apple pie. Theodore Roosevelt preferred tarts, while Thomas Jefferson enjoyed ice cream along with warm pastries (via White House History). 

Sweets have often found their way into the White House, but nothing can compare to the one time when literal tons of jelly beans got sent there.

Ronald Reagan loved jelly beans

The 40th U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, adored jelly beans. According to the Reagan Library, his love for those little morsels of sugary sweetness really took off starting in the '60s. That's when he tried to quit pipe-smoking during a campaign for the California governorship, replacing the habit with candy-consumption. He succeeded on both fronts, and throughout his eight years in that office, the jelly beans kept rolling in. Headquartered in Northern California, the Herman Goelitz Candy Company would send their product to the nearby state capital of Sacramento, California, for Reagan to enjoy.

Reagan had higher aspirations than just the governorship and a few jelly beans, however. So, his belly continued to fill up with Jelly Belly brand jelly beans — especially licorice-flavored — during both of his presidential campaigns. Even when Reagan finally did achieve that highest office in the land, candy shipments continued over both his terms. He was so committed to jelly beans that Herman Goelitz Candy Company made special jars with the Presidential Seal on it (they had also made a personalized container for the same purpose during his days as California Governor).

The true peak of presidential jelly bean supply occurred during Reagan's 1981 inauguration event. That's when 3.5 tons of Jelly Bellies were shipped to the White House, patriotically color-coded like the American flag: red (Very Cherry), white (coconut) and blue (blueberry). What's more American than apple pie? Well, back in the Reagan era, the answer seems to have been jelly beans.