Why Do Grandparents Love Werther's Original?

When you were a kid, going to your grandparent's house was like going back a couple decades — in some cases, the last century. As any young person can tell you, the homes of grandparents always seem to be stuck in a certain time period, reflecting a distant, older generation. Their heavy box-shaped TV only gets a few channels, most of the furniture is covered in plastic wrap, and the only things that can pass for candy are dishes of those nameless strawberry candies, weird chalky mints, and of course, the staple of any grandmother's cluttered purse: Werther's Originals.

Much like any old-school candy that grandparents seem to love, the story of Werther's Candy begins way back during the early 1900s. As Werther's tells us, confectioner Gustav Nebel created his "butter candy," the basis for what would become the company's famous caramels, in the German town of Werther in 1909. August Storck, the owner of the Werther's brand, later began selling his sweet wares in the United States in 1977, and released the classic Werther's Originals a few years later in the 1980s (via Confectionary News). From there, Werther's has installed itself as a classic and delicious candy in the hearts of many Americans, with 3.74 million Americans enjoying the selection of caramels and chocolates in 2020 alone, according to Statista

But why do grandparents love Werther's in particular? Is it nostalgia, intense marketing towards an older generation, or a mixture of both?

Werther's aired a popular commercial back in 1989

According to Mental Floss, Werther's released a commercial back in the late 1980s that had a strong focus on the candy's intergenerational appeal. In the ad, an elderly grandfather reflects on the days he used to spend with his own grandfather eating Werther's, before revealing that he is now a grandfather and sharing Werther's with his own grandson. While this particular commercial had an American and a British version depending on where you lived, the message was still the same: grandparents give their grandkids Werther's as a symbol of the strong bond between them.

Although the commercial was popular, one TV advertisement wouldn't be enough to fully establish Werther's Original as the "grandparent's candy." Werther's owner August Storck began to lean into the concept of promoting it as a "nostalgic candy" — a confection that transcends generations and unites young and old. Through focused marketing centered around the idea of being a "good grandparent," Werther's managed to sell its way into the purses, handbags, and candy dishes of grandparents across the nation.

The company has been known for trying to appeal to more younger families in recent times, however. One ad, according to The Guardian, focused on a young man and his son sharing a Werther's in the middle of a busy day. In 2013, Werther's announced that it would try to expand beyond being "Grandpa's candy" and would instead aim to be known for its unique and flavorful caramels (via Candy Industry).