Necco Wafers: All About America's Oldest (And Strangest) Candy

Necco Wafers: All About America's Oldest (And Strangest) Candy

Even though the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO for short) in Revere, Massachusetts wasn’t formed until 1901, the chalky little wafer candies we grew up loving to hate have been around since 1847 - making them America's oldest candy.


Necco Wafers date all the way back to when Abraham Lincoln was president. They traveled to the Arctic and the South Pole with 20th century explorers and were sent to soldiers during WWII because they are non-perishable.


The recipe for the candies has not changed a bit since 1847. Can you name the flavor behind each color? Here's a breakdown - and some of them may surprise you!

  • Yellow = Lemon
  • Green = Lime
  • Orange = Orange
  • White = Cinnamon
  • Pink = Wintergreen
  • Light Purple = Clove
  • Dark Purple = Licorice


In my humble opinion, cloves are for cigarettes and wintergreen is for gum! Also, who likes black licorice these days??

Finding a roll of NECCO Wafers in my Christmas stocking or Easter basket was always a groan-worthy moment for me, and it seems that most of the world agrees. The candies are consistently named as one of the least desirable items to give out on Halloween along with the dreaded Circus Peanut.

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However, the company that brought you Mary Jane candies, Candy Buttons and Sky Bars (my personal favorite) still produces approximately 4 billion NECCO Wafers a year for their small band of loyal fans.


In addition to the original eight flavors, many nostalgic New England candy stores also carry Chocolate NECCO Wafers and Tropical NECCO Wafers, which come in lime, strawberry, mango, banana, passion fruit, and coconut flavors. And let's not forget the red and white Candy Cane NECCO Wafers each winter!

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Are you a fan of NECCO Wafers? What's your favorite flavor combination?

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