When you think of pioneers you probably don’t think of Jell-O, but it all started in the late 1800’s. Just a fun fact. Let’s enjoy some green Jell-O
Year It Began: 1897
Bite of History: It’s no wonder that cough syrup and Jell-O share similar flavorings. In 1895, a cough syrup maker by the name of Pearl B. Wait adapted Peter Cooper’s 1845 patent for gelatin dessert. But we all know, behind every successful man there is a woman. It was Wait’s wife, May, who coined the name Jell-O. Wait sold his business to Orator F. Woodward of the Gennesse Pure Food Company in 1899 for a mere $450. Sure, back then that was a lot of money, but little did Wait know that sales of Jell-O would reach the $250,000 mark in three short years. That may have been aided by Woodward’s clever use of advertising in Ladies Home Journal.
Over the years flavors came and flavors went. Strawberry arrived at Jell-O’s inception and cherry soon followed in 1903. Coffee came and went in 1918. Cola? In and out in 1942. As everyone’s lives got busier, the Jell-O innovators thought it important to reduce the preparation time. In 1974, it was sold with the notion that the gelatin would “set in 15 minutes.” Now we are used to varieties like sugar-free, Jigglers, and X-treme flavors. We’ll still take the classic recipe any day, and we’re not alone: Strawberry is still the all-time favorite flavor.
Fun Fact: Talk about a smart way to gain brand loyalty: In the early 1900s, the company decided to offer Ellis Island immigrants a bowl of Jell-O as “Welcome to America” gift!