The Fascinating History of Penny Sweets - and Why They're Still Popular Today

5 minute read

Gummy Sweets

If you grew up in the UK, there's a good chance that you have fond memories of penny sweets. These small treats have been around for centuries and continue to be popular today.

But where did penny sweets come from - and why are they still so popular?

In this blog post, we will explore the history of penny sweets and discover why they are such a beloved part of British culture.

The History Of Penny Sweets

There was a time when the local sweet shop was the place to be. Children would rush with excitement to their corner shop and eagerly hand over a few pennies in exchange for their favourite confectionery.

Penny candy means any sweets sold individually instead of in a packet. The main benefit of these sweets was that people could afford them, whereas whole packs might be too expensive.

Woolworth's Five And Dime Stores

One of the most iconic sweet shops in history was Woolworths. This American chain store introduced the concept of penny sweets to the UK in 1909. The store was an instant hit, and soon there were branches all over the country.

Children would love spending their pocket money in Woolworths, where they could buy everything from sherbet lemons to chocolate limes. These stores were a far cry from the supermarkets we have today - they were true sweet emporiums.

When most people think of Woolworths, they remember the lavish pick and mix stand. In the good old days, the chain of stores was smaller, offering a more traditional confectionery experience for children.

Pick and Mix Sweets

The pick and mix concept was introduced to the UK in the 1960s and quickly became a firm favourite with children. The idea is simple - you fill a bag with as many sweets as you want and pay by weight.

Pick and Mix allowed children to try a bit of everything and meant they could have their personalised selection of sweets. It's no wonder pick and mix stands are still popular today.

Through the decades, parents would take their children to the same stores they visited, and no trip to the cinema was the same without a bag of Woolworth's pick and mix.

Unfortunately, despite the nation's love of Woolworths, it wouldn't be able to survive the digital age.

Why Did Woolworths Go Out Of Business in the UK?

Woolworths went out of business in the UK in January 2009 due to several factors. It's no secret that the internet changed how people shopped, and increased competition from supermarkets and pound shops didn't help matters.

The recession also played a part, as people were spending less money on non-essential items like sweets due to high unemployment rates.

Also, the high-street shops, a staple of everyday life, soon discovered that the internet would mean more people would choose to purchase items online.

It's sad to think that such an iconic store is no longer with us, but Woolworths will always hold a place in the hearts of those who grew up visiting their local branch.

Penny Sweets Today

Despite Woolworth's demise, penny sweets are still going strong. There are now many independent sweet shops across the country, where you can find all your favourite old-fashioned sweets.

These stores are often family-run businesses and have a passion for sweets. They take great pride in offering a wide range of traditional sweets and stocking more unusual flavours.

The popularity of penny sweets shows no signs of slowing down, and these small treats will continue to be enjoyed by children (and adults!) for many years to come.`;

Penny sweets are a beloved part of British culture because they have been around for centuries. These tiny treats were initially introduced as a way for people to afford candy, and they have continued to be popular because they are so affordable.

Many sweet shop owners buy their penny sweets in bulk and let people choose their favourite combinations when visiting the shop.

At Appleton Sweets, wholesale confectionery is more popular than ever, and many of our business clients shop with us to get the best deals on bulk penny sweets.

With excellent prices and speedy delivery on all of our confectionery, you can fill your shelves with nostalgic goodies and make a healthy profit.

The Most Popular Penny Sweets

There are so many different penny sweets to choose from, and while some are eternally popular, others are a more acquired taste (hello clove rock). Let's take a look at some of them.

Black Jacks: The epitome of strong flavour, Black Jacks took liquorice to a new level. Children love them, but teenagers soon realise that these sweets turn your teeth and tongue black.

Fruit Salad: Black Jacks and Fruit Salads are like Ant and Dec; you can't have one without the other. These chewy sweets are full of fruity flavours and are a perfect antidote to the stronger Black Jacks.

Milk Bottles: Everyone loves milk bottles, regardless of who they are. It's one of those penny sweets that doesn't discriminate.

Foam Shrimp: These are always a favourite, with their unique texture and fruity flavour. You can also go for foam bananas, but most would agree that they don't come close to shrimp.

Cola Bottles: One of the sweets that you can't leave out of your pick and mix bag is cola bottles. Or, there's always a fizzy version for the more daring people.

White Mice: What was it about these chocolates that people loved? Perhaps it's the unique texture or the taste that's pretty indescribable. They're always popular, but some might find the mice too sweet.

Jazzies: Was there anything quite like Jazzies? The small milk and white chocolate discs were topped with hundreds and thousands for the ultimate treat.

Final Thoughts

Penny sweets have been around for centuries and show no signs of disappearing anytime soon.

If you're searching for a wide range of penny sweets, you won't be disappointed with Appleton Sweets. With excellent prices and speedy delivery, we're your one-stop shop for all things sweet.

Did you enjoy this post? Why not take a look at our post on Weird Candy Combinations? You don't want to miss it!

Previous Next