Some of the world's most famous snacks needed a little bit of luck before they were able to get shelf space at grocery stores. Their names, shapes and concepts may be inescapable at retail today, but every product starts out at some point as a twinkle in an inventor's eye.
Here are six famous food brands that have weird stories behind their beginnings. You may never be able to look at Twinkies, Snickers or Toll House chocolate chips the same way again:
1. PEZ WAS INITIALLY MARKETED AT SMOKERS
According to the official account of Pez history, the first containers for the candies were designed in 1948, and they were intended to attract smokers. Pez at the time time was viewed more like a breath mint than it is today, and their first dispensers were crafted to resemble cigarette lighters. The new devices premiered at the the Vienna Trade Fair, they were pushed as a way to help consumers kick their cigarette habits.
(Image credit: Flickr user kafka4prez)
2. TWINKIES WERE A SOLUTION TO EMPTY SHORTCAKE PANS
James Dewar, wanted to find a way to keep the Continental Baking Company's strawberry shortcake pans in use while production wasn't going on. Twinkies turned out to be the answer. Now, more than 80 years later, Twinkies have changed a bit, but Dewar's idea is still a golden-cake gold mine on snack shelves.
(Image credit: Hostess)
3. SNICKERS BARS WERE NAMED FOR A HORSE
The famous Mars family's favorite horse provided the inspiration for Mars' second candy product back in 1930. The chocolate, peanuts and nougat combo carry the name to this day, along with hundreds of billions of dollars in annual sales.
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)
4. CLIF BARS NEEDED A MOTHER'S HELP
Gary Erickson turned to his mom after a 175-mile bike ride left him dissatisfied with the only energy bar he could find on the market, according to Kevin Cleary, the current CEO at Clif Bar. The product that the company is now named for emerged after six months of experimentation Erickson's mom's kitchen.
(Image credit: Flickr user Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious)
5. M&M'S GOT THEIR NAME FROM A DEAL BETWEEN MARS AND HERSHEY
Forrest E. Mars, Sr. may have invented the candy aisle's most recognized candy-coated chocolate pieces, but he needed the help of another chocolate titan to bring them to market. Bruce Murrie, the son of Hershey executive William Murrie, who agreed to an 80-20 partnership that provided Hershey chocolate and got M&M, Ltd. on its feet in 1941. The M's, of course, stand for the two men's names, "Mars and Murrie."
(Image credit: Flickr user :: Suwait ::)
Nestlé Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies, according the company's account, got their name from the Toll House Inn in Massachusetts. Ruth Wakefield, who owned the inn with her husband Kenneth, wanted the bits of chocolate bar she experimented with to melt in her cookies, but the chocolate pieces ended up resisting. Her guests loved the cookies anyway, and demand for Nestlé's chocolate bars surged after the recipe was published. Eventually, the company realized it needed to diversify its offerings and launch some baker-friendly morsels.
(Image credit: Flickr user jelene)
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