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Sweet Support: Salt Water Taffy’s Surprising Role in World War II

Salt Water Taffy’s Surprising Connection to World War II

Salt Water Taffy is a chewy, sugary candy that brings back nostalgic childhood memories for many, but did you know about its interesting connection to World War II? This delicious treat played an important role during the war, particularly in relation to U.S. soldiers and the challenges they faced overseas.

The ideal candy for shipping

During World War II, care packages were sent to U.S. soldiers to give them a taste of home and boost morale. Saltwater Taffy quickly became a popular choice for inclusion in these packages due to its unique properties. The abundance of sugar and corn syrup, combined with its secure wrapping in individual paper, made it an ideal product for long-distance transportation. Unlike more perishable candies, saltwater taffy could withstand the rigors of shipping, ensuring that soldiers received a treat that would remain intact and enjoyable.
Saltwater taffy also had an advantage over chocolates like M&M’s – it didn’t melt in the hand or mouth. This characteristic made it even more attractive for inclusion in care packages because it held up much better in different climates and conditions.

Saltwater Taffy and Rationing

During World War II, food rationing was implemented to conserve scarce resources, including sugar. By the spring of 1942, Americans were unable to purchase sugar without government-issued coupons. This restriction made saltwater taffy even more important, as it provided a sweet treat despite the limited sugar supply.
At the time, candy rivals Fralinger’s and James’, the leading candy companies on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, joined forces to distribute saltwater taffy to soldiers overseas. Despite the challenges of sugar rationing, these and other taffy makers made the armed forces a priority. They saved as much saltwater taffy as possible for the troops, even closing their stores to the public for days when sugar supplies ran low.
Mary Fisher, an employee of James’ Salt Water Taffy Shop (now the James Candy Company) during World War II, emphasized the importance of prioritizing the soldiers. In a 1997 interview with the New York Times, she stated, “It was important that the soldiers get it first. There was a war going on, and we were all doing our part.”

A sweet contribution to the war effort

The surprising connection between saltwater taffy and World War II highlights the role that seemingly ordinary items can play in times of conflict. This chewy, stretchy candy brought joy to soldiers, served as a reminder of home, and provided a momentary escape from the hardships of war.
Today, saltwater taffy continues to be enjoyed by people of all ages, but its historical significance should not be forgotten. It serves as a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of candy makers during a challenging time in history.
So the next time you indulge in a piece of saltwater taffy, take a moment to appreciate its surprising connection to World War II and the soldiers it brought a little taste of sweetness to in their time of need.


What made saltwater taffy an ideal candy to send to soldiers during World War II?

Salt Water Taffy’s high sugar and corn syrup content, combined with its secure individual paper wrapping, made it durable and less perishable than other candies. This made it an ideal candy for long-distance shipping to soldiers overseas.

Did saltwater taffy actually contain salt water as an ingredient?

No, despite its name, saltwater taffy did not contain salt water as an ingredient. However, common salt was added during the manufacturing process.

How did saltwater taffy help conserve scarce resources during the war?

During World War II, sugar was rationed and it was difficult for Americans to purchase it without government-issued coupons. Saltwater taffy provided a sweet treat despite the limited sugar supply, making it valuable to soldiers and a way to contribute to the war effort.

Why did candy companies prioritize sending taffy to soldiers?

Despite the challenges of sugar rationing, candy companies, including Fralinger’s and James’, made it a priority to send saltwater taffy to soldiers. They recognized the importance of providing a taste of home and boosting troop morale during wartime.

Is saltwater taffy still enjoyed today?

Absolutely! Saltwater Taffy continues to be a popular candy enjoyed by people of all ages. While its connection to World War II may be less well known, its delicious taste and chewy texture have made it a beloved treat that has stood the test of time.

How did saltwater taffy contribute to the war effort?

Saltwater Taffy served as a sweet treat for soldiers, providing them with moments of joy and a taste of home. Its inclusion in care packages helped lift spirits and provided a brief respite from the hardships of war. In addition, candy manufacturers’ dedication to saving taffy for the troops demonstrated their commitment to supporting the armed forces during World War II.

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