The History of Candy: A Timeline
August 20, 2017

Photo by loilamtan, CC0 1.0

This is a guest post from Emily Johnson. Thanks Emily!

Manufactured in different colours, shapes and sizes, there are many reasons why candy has such huge popularity around the world. Many different and new flavours of candy can be seen in the market every day, and there is always that flavour that you can’t resist, whether it be the Finnish Pantteri, Indian Chikki, Japanese Konpeito, the German Haribo bears, etc. Have you ever wondered about the reason that makes these candies so popular among all age groups? Well, let’s take a look at the journey that these candies have made so far through our history books:


Photo by Sonja Langford


Before the traditional methods of manufacturing sugar were implemented, the production of candy was made possible using honey. In ancient times, honey was easily available in many Asian countries as well as Egypt, Greece, etc. which made it quite popular as the symbol of “sweetness” and “healing.” There have been many evidences and accounts from history which clearly indicates the importance of honey in different traditions. For example, honey was known as the “food of the gods” in Greece, used by Egyptians in the embalming process, and so on. In ancient history, most of the sweet dishes served in different traditions made use of honey, and it is used even today, for garnishing, etc.



Between 6th and 4th century BCE, several changes started originating in the field of sugar production. For the very first time, people had found a new way of producing sugar, thanks to a commodity that was easily available in large amounts—sugarcane. Persians and Greece explorers described sugarcane as “long sticks that produce honey without bees” when they discovered India and its resources. Further, the method of producing sugar by boiling sugarcane juice became popular around the world in a very short amount of time.

The main reason behind its popularity was that sugarcane provided a much cheaper method of manufacturing sugar and candy. This method was easily accepted by the industrial sector, which later started manufacturing candies in all shapes and sizes using this method. However, many are still unaware of the fact that the term sugar originated from a Sanskrit word “Sharkara.” Further, the term “candy” originated from various languages such as “sucre candi” in French, “khanda” in Sanskrit, etc.


Photo by Sneha Chekuri

Penny Candies

Many may have heard about or seen penny candies, which is often related to the term “bulk confectionery.” A major change in the production of candy took place during the period of Industrial Revolution, and candy could be easily accessed by every section of society, both rich and poor. This was made possible by the introduction of the candy press in the year 1847, which further helped the confectioners to manufacture candy on a very large scale. This change had a major effect on the candy business too because, in a very short amount of time, many candy stores opened during this period.


Health and Nutrition

The most recent advancement in the production of candies is the introduction of the nutritional concept in it. Nutri-bars, snack bars and many other forms of chocolates are already popularized in the market. Production of candy is also getting introduced to these modern trends and changes. The new applications of such candy includes the production of medicinal sugar-coated lozenges, candy with chewing gum inside it, and so on.

Author Bio
Emily Johnson is a contributor at and has many years of experience in blogging and research. Her reviews on some of the best Mexican candies available in the market are shared on her website.

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Hi, I'm Jillianne.

I'm a historical fiction writer, a lover of history, and a hoarder of books. I'm the author of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle, The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street, and The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII.

The Lazy Historian is a history blog featuring stories from the past with sass. With a focus on Western European and women's history, I delve into anything fascinating. Learn more.