Why Are So Many Brits Eating American Candy?

It is no secret that the British aren't known for loving American chocolate. Some have claimed there are definitely differences in taste and the way the chocolate is made that warrant the aversion. Business Insider contributor Dina Spector noted that some British colleagues called American chocolate "powdery" or "too sweet." The writer further asserted that U.S.-style chocolate tends to have more sugar seems to be more sugary whereas while the U.K. likes its chocolate to contain more cocoa and fat.

Mary Hanbury, a British writer for Business Insider, blamed their own dislike of American chocolate on Hershey – but probably not for the reason you would think. It is because in 1988 Hershey bought the rights to U.S. operations of Cadbury, taking its name but – according to Hanbury – not providing the same kind of chocolate associated with that name in the U.K., despite Hershey's claims to the contrary. 

You might expect the aversion of U.S. chocolate to extend to American candy in general or that Brits at least stick to the stuff they're used to. But they have increasingly been giving American candy a try on their own turf. For all we know, their opinion of American chocolate may have taken a turn for the not-so-terrible, too. What gives?

America has exported nostalgia

According to NBC News, before recently, it was decidedly less common to find American candies like Milk Duds and Jolly Ranchers heavily featured in U.K. stores. And yet, your favorite American candies are popping up left and right in the past year. Oxford Street, one of London's most famous shopping areas, has now become a haven for the sweets from America's fair states. 

Strikingly enough, NBC News reports that "in less than a square mile there are now nine mega candy stores, with names like American Candy World, American Candy Land, Candy Surprise and Kingdom of Sweets." And the reason is surprising: nostalgia. Food trend expert Shokofeh Hejazi chalked up the phenomenon to "edible escapism." Evidently, the Brits are borrowing nostalgia from Americans, as "they grew up watching American TV and films and watched their favorite characters eating things like Twinkies, Pop-Tarts, Tootsie Rolls, and Hershey's chocolate," Hejazi explained. This might be driving increased sales of American sweets. A sweet tooth so strong, it spans seas? That is a sweet tooth we should all get behind.