How Jelly Belly's Vomit-Flavor Jelly Bean Was Invented

Anyone who's ever attempted Jelly Belly's Bamboozled challenge knows that there's nothing worse than getting the dreaded barf-flavored jelly bean. Though, from the outside, it looks identical to the peach-flavored candy, the taste of it is nowhere near as sweet and fruity — and unfortunately, it tastes exactly like vomit.

For such a specific flavor, you'd think that a lot went into developing it, but according to Confectionery News, it was a complete accident. Jelly Belly employee Ambrose Lee, who at the time was the head of the candy company's three-person research and development team, was originally working on a new pizza-flavored jelly bean. Despite Lee's efforts experimenting with combinations of meat and cheese flavors, the resulting jelly bean ended up tasting nothing like pizza. 

"People were actually trying to run away from the lab," Lee told Confectionery News. "They were saying it was so stinky." Food Business News explains that it was at this point that Jelly Belly decided to pull the plug on the development of the pizza flavor. But then the unthinkable ensued.

The vomit-flavored jelly bean is a reworked version of Jelly Belly's failed pizza flavor

Attempts to make a pizza-flavored jelly bean may have been far from successful for Jelly Belly, but head researcher Ambrose Lee's recipe saw a second life when the company partnered with Warner Bros. in 2000 to release the now famous Harry Potter-inspired collection, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans (via Food Business News). 

Among the flavors Warner Bros. requested included dirt, sausage, and none other than vomit. Jelly Belly communications manager Jana Sanders Perry shared with Food Business News that the research and development team was initially at a loss for how to execute the barf flavor, but that the process ended up being easier and quicker than they thought. "Someone on the team said, 'Wait, do you remember when we did that pizza flavor?' And so they pulled that out of archives, and they turned it up a few notches, and that became barf," Perry recalled. It was only thanks to Lee's failed pizza flavor that Jelly Belly's iconic barf jelly bean came about. So... thanks?