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The History of Milk Duds

Milk Duds were created in Chicago in 1928 by Edwin Holloway of F. Hoffman & Co. Holloway couldn’t figure out how to make the candies into perfect spheres, so he called them “duds,” which is where the name Milk Duds comes from. When the candy first debuted, Holloway’s contemporaries had their doubts, but Milk Duds garnered enough fans to become quite popular. The candy did especially well during the Great Depression, when going to the theater and having a relatively affordable box of candy during a movie was a popular way for unemployed individuals to temporarily forget about their troubles and pass the time. (Incidentally, Milk Duds are still often sold at movie theaters today.) In the 1960s, Holloway realized that his son didn't want to take over family business, so he decided to sell Milk Duds to the Beatrice Food Company. In the 1970s, Milk Duds were briefly associated with baseball. After they were named "The Official Candy of Major League Baseball Players Association" in 1971, pictures of famous players stylized like collectible baseball cards were featured on the backs of Milk Duds boxes. The association between the candy and the sport lasted for most of the decade but ended soon after. In 1996, Milk Duds (along with the entire Beatrice Food Company) were purchased by Hershey. In 2008, Hershey stopped using cocoa butter in the recipe because it was becoming too expensive to use on such a large scale and replaced it with vegetable oils instead. Today, Milk Duds may not have the exciting reputation that some candies do, but they remain a very popular choice and are a favorite for Halloween (Hershey’s sells over 9,700 lbs. of Milk Duds for Halloween each year!) and at movie theaters all across America.

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