Posts Tagged ‘Pez’

Elvis Pez

You must be living in a box if you are not familiar with this candy and its flip-top head dispensers.                            elvis-pez

Over 1 billion of these little bundles of compressed sugar are sold each year.

So where did this novel approach to selling candy come from?

To find out, we must take a trip back to Vienna, Austria in 1927. Here we will find a candyman named Eduard Haas III

Eddie did not try to sell his candy to kids, however. His market was adults – adults that smoked cigarettes.

PEZ was originally marketed as a compressed breath mint for smokers (or to cover up smoker’s breath).

I know what you are thinking – How did those fruit flavored pellets cover your bad breath?

The answer is quite simple – they weren’t fruit flavored back then!

In fact, they were peppermint flavored, which explains the origin of its unusual name. The German word for peppermint is PfeffErminZ. Take the first, middle, and last letters of the word and you get PEZ!

The first dispensers weren’t introduced until the late 1940’s and are now referred to as “regulars” – they lacked the character heads PEZ is famous for.

In 1952, it was time to come to America. The company did extensive market research with children that led to the introduction of the fruity flavors and character heads on the dispensers.

Since then, over 275 different PEZ heads have been designed, with some 48 models on the market at any one time.

The most popular dispensers of all-time are the Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus models. When the Flintstones models were introduced several years ago, they quickly rose to become a hot seller, with Dino the purple dinosaur being in short supply.

Believe it or not, people actually pay big bucks for these things! The highest price ever paid was $3600 for a rare Big Top Elephant, which was sold by David Welch in July, 1995.

Technology has also played a part in the history of Pez. For example, a company named Cap Toys makes the battery powered Power Pez which twirls and shoots the candies out into your mouth. Another company, Dream Castle, markets the Pez Watch which dispenses the candies out the side of the watch.

Which leads to the available flavors.

In the United States, only Grape, Lemon, Orange, Strawberry, and Peppermint (I am a large consumer of PEZ and don’t recall ever having peppermint) flavors are available. Hop across the border to Canada and you can add Cherry to your stash.

Raspberry and Apple are available in Spain. Chocolate is available in Hungary and Thailand.

An unusual type known as IZO PEZ is also available – it is vitamin enriched (does a vitamin enriched candy make sense to you?).

The most unusual flavors, however, have to be the discontinued ones: Chlorophyll, Cinnamon, Coffee, Eucalyptus, Flower (just what do flowers taste like?), Licorice, and Menthol.

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