The Untold Truth Of Laffy Taffy

If D4L's song is the first thing to pop into your head when you hear the words "Laffy Taffy," you're not alone; it's a pretty catchy song. We are of course, however, talking about the candy. Laffy Taffy is like a compact pop of saltwater taffy's stretchy, chewy, gooey, gummy texture and sweet fruity flavor, wrapped up to be a popular Halloween treat or candy store favorite. 

You may remember Laffy Taffy being sold under Nestle's Wonka brand, but it's now a product of the Ferrara Candy Company (via Snack History)Laffy Taffy has a long history, meaning many of us grew up eating it and have a soft spot — and a sweet tooth — for the stuff. It's bright and uniquely tacky (in mouthfeel, though we suppose you could argue it's delightfully tacky in aesthetic, too), and it comes with jokes on the wrapper. It's also available in nearly every flavor you could think of. Really, what's not to love about Laffy Taffy? Okay, maybe an increased dental bill — chew with caution, people.

Because candy is one of life's simple joys and Laffy Taffy is indeed one of the most joyful, we thought it would be fun to dig a little deeper behind the scenes of this confection. How many Laffy Taffys can you chomp through while learning some new facts?

Laffy Taffy was originally called caramel

It's hard to think of what Laffy Taffy and caramel have in common other than their shared chewiness. Caramel is made from browning sugar, as per Taste of Home, and fittingly, has that perfectly, almost-burnt sugar sweetness. That's a leap from Laffy Taffy's typically bright, fruity flavor, so why on earth was this candy ever categorized as caramel?

Laffy Taffy first debuted in the 1970s, writes Candy Favorites. According to Snack History, Laffy Taffy was dreamed up by Beich's Candy Company, which had been around since 1893. The name of the candy would have been Beich's [Insert Flavor Here] Caramels, though the name changed to Laffy Taffy while Beich's was still making it. Beich's original iteration was more of a thick cube, much closer to the shape and feel of a caramel candy, so it's a little easier to understand the classification. Their current flat, rectangular shape is a much further cry from caramel and it's hard to imagine thinking of it as anything other than taffy.

Laffy Taffy's magic lies in a lot of artificial flavoring

Once you learn a little more about how Laffy Taffy is actually made, you'll see just how different from caramel this candy really is. Depending on whether you're making caramel sauce or caramel candy, the ingredients there are simple and natural, including sugar, water, milk, salt, and butter (via The Spruce Eats). You can make caramel right in your own kitchen — something you can't expect to be able to do with Laffy Taffy.

The ingredients of Laffy Taffy include salt...and then that's the last basic, easily recognizable element. The rest of the list is: artificial flavoring, soy lecithin, malic acid, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, diglycerides, and monoglycerides. Other ingredients vary based on the flavor or Laffy Taffy subgenre, ranging from different artificial colorings to more accessible items like sugar, corn syrup, palm oil, and even eggs.

In general, taffy is made by combining the ingredients into a goo and stretching it until it becomes aerated, according to Snack History. So, picture that, but with lots of different artificial flavorings and colorings. For better or worse, they all come together to create a tasty little treat.

Laffy Taffy has branched out past its original form

The shift from thick and square to flat and rectangular is far from Laffy Taffy's only evolution. A look at the candy's website reveals a current lineup with something for everyone. In addition to the original iteration, you can get bags of mini Laffy Taffys, which conveniently come all in one flavor so you can zero in on your favorite. There are Stretchy & Tangy varieties — yes even stretchier than the classic version (this is the kind that has egg in it). There are also Laffy Taffy Ropes and Laff Bites.

Laff Bites in particular rolled out in 2020 and gathered rave reviews. These mini Laffy Taffy morsels are unwrapped for fun and easy popping, and, as labeled on the packaging, feature an extra burst of flavor in the center. Candy Industry broke the news that 2021 would bring with it the release of Laff Bites in the brand's popular banana flavor, and they're available now, much to the relief of Banana Laffy Taffy fans like Joel McHale (via Delish). 

Laffy Taffy has also crossed over with totally different kinds of candy, and has even gone the non-edible route, says Snack History. You can get Laffy Taffy jelly beans, and you can keep Laffy Taffy flavor and aroma around more permanently with the brand's lip balm. It's made by Taste Beauty, a company that creates beauty products with candy and snack brands like Gushers and Bubble Yum. 

Laffy Taffy doesn't always stick to fruit for flavor inspiration

Across the different forms of Laffy Taffy, the present range of flavors you'll find on the brand's website are Banana, Cherry, Grape, Sour Apple, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon, and Sparkle Cherry. Essentially, classic fruit candy lovers are sure to find their go-to variety here. But the brand hasn't limited itself to just fruit. Laffy Taffy has gotten experimental in the past, and you never know when it might introduce a unique creation.

Snack History lists more of the brand's different spins. There has been Orange Sorbet, Strawberry Banana, Pineapple, Guava, Lemon Raspberry, Coconut, and Fruit Punch. Interestingly, Laffy Taffy has ventured further into more dessert-like territory with Strawberries and Cream, and nixed the fruit all together with Pumpkin Donut, Chocolate Moose, and Hot Cocoa. While those indulgent flavors aren't currently being made, it's worth keeping an eye out for any comebacks or new inventions.

Part of Laffy Taffy's identity is all in the jokes

With a name like Laffy Taffy, this candy makes clear that it's all about having a good time, from having a sweet treat to having a good giggle. The brand has celebrated "National Laugh Day," and you can see a video of fan-submitted chuckles on its website. Laffy Taffy has also held events at comedy clubs and ran a crowd-sourced contest for comedians, the winner crowned Chief Laugh Officer, according to BusinessWire

The Chief Laugh Officer was tasked with working on a signature element of Laffy Taffy. As Scary Mommy writes, part of enjoying Laffy Taffy is reading the different jokes printed under the flaps of the wrappers. Sites like Thought Catalog have rounded up some of the all-time best quips. For example: 

"How do you communicate with a fish?"

"You drop it a line."

These silly puns and witticisms add to Laffy Taffy's overall appeal and playfulness, making it a forever family favorite.