Gummy Worms' Gross Out '80s Introduction To The US

These days the candy aisles seem to be exploding with options. If looking for gummy (or gummi) candy, you can easily find what you like with varieties ranging from sour to sweet — sometimes even spicy. From large sharks to watermelons and even holiday-themed gummies, candy makers are becoming extremely innovative with these sweet treats. While some are partial to the classic, sweet, and chewy texture of gummies, the industry has exploded over the last few decades.

In 2014, Bon Appétit did a deep dive into the history of gummy bears, which gives insights into the introduction of gummy worms throughout the United States. While the concept of soft gummy candies was created in Germany by Haribo in the 1920s, it wasn't until the 1960s that they created something more similar to the modern-day gummy bear that we enjoy today to appeal to the wider European market. While this sweet treat made its way around Europe earlier, it came to the United States in early 1981 when European school teachers would share them with American students, and soldiers stationed abroad would return home with the mysterious candies. It was only then that Troli, another German candy maker, latched onto the squishy sweet treat and created what we now know as gummy worms. The intention behind creating a worm instead of a bear is an interesting choice — one that was made with the goal to shock parents (via Leaf).

Why choose an earthworm?

Known for their peach rings, Troli, like Haribo, entered the U.S. candy market in 1981. They entered the American scene with Gummi Squiggles, the original version of gummy worms. While at the time most gummy candies were made to represent zoo animals, Troli took this a step further and created a candy version of a worm. It's a mystery as to why exactly they chose a worm over something less repulsive but Snack Stack believes they wanted a candy that wasn't completely unfamiliar but felt a bit "weird."

Unlike gummy bears, which tend to each be one flavor represented by a color, gummy worms tend to mix flavors and colors into one worm, especially Troli, which makes neon-colored gummy worms. While these days we don't think twice about the fact that these candies resemble something as gross as earthworms, gummy worms' debut pushed the limits of radical candies and led to other "gross" candy animals, such as rats. Like gummy worms, candies that colored one's mouth or were extremely sour became popular in the 90s and were thought of as shocking to parents but fun for kids. While the aisles are now filled with a variety of gummy creepy crawlers, it absolutely wasn't the norm in the 1980s (via Snack Stack). With all that we have today, what's going to be the next candy to gross people out?