Jelly babies voted Britain's favourite sweet as retro classics make a comeback

Love them or hate them, Jelly Babies have been voted the nation’s favourite sweet, with 65 percent of Brits reaching for them for their sugar rush, according to a new survey.

The soft, baby-shaped jellies have been a staple of the sweet shop for generations, and it’s the nostalgia that is making Britons come back for more.

According to research from Perspectus Global, a third of the 2,000 people surveyed admit they love eating sweets as it transports them back to their childhood.

“Your memory is very much linked to taste and smells,” explains Sweet Consultant Andy Baxendale, “so as soon as you bite into something it takes you back to the first time you had it.”

Bassett’s Sweets in Sheffield continues to make Jelly Babies to this day Credit: PA

Jelly Babies were invented 160 years ago in 1864, but confectionery historians believe the earliest Jelly Baby was the work of an Austrian confectioner who worked for Fryers of Lancashire.

It is thought he was asked to make a mould for Jelly Bears, but when they were made, the sweets looked more like newborn infants and were subsequently given their name. They were relaunched as “Peace Babies” after the First World War by Bassett’s Sweets in Sheffield, the brand which continues to make them to this day.

"It's a sweet people trust because it's been around for so long, so it's an easy go-to, easy on the palette," explained sweet shop owner Tara Gahir, who said 30 percent of her customer base go for jelly babies. "We have a lot of our adult customers who like to keep them in their bags, especially if they're having a bit of a low sugar day, they're definitely a classic," Ms Gahir told ITV News.

Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe displays an assortment of sweets.

Several other blasts from the past also proved popular among those surveyed, with as many as two thirds of Britons of all ages agreeing the old classics are back in fashion with younger generations.

Following close behind the babies were Rowntrees’ Fruit Pastilles with 62 per cent of the votes, and in third place, Fruit Gums, which are also made by Rowntree’s.

Other retro classics which made the list were old school cola bottles and Werther’s Originals which both received 59 percent of votes.

Also chosen by Brits were the more contemporary Skittles (58 percent), Tangfastics (57 percent), Liquorice Allsorts (57 percent) and the classic Rhubarb and Custard (56 percent).

Childhood favourites like Jelly Tots (56 percent), Love Hearts (54 percent) and Pear Drops (53 percent) are also enjoyed by Brits with a sweet tooth.

Retro sweets are back in fashion with younger generations.

Jonathan Horsley of Perspectus Global, who conducted the research said: "Sweets are one of life’s simple pleasures. You can see how they provoke feelings of nostalgia, as childhood classics like Jelly Babies, Fruit Pastilles, Pear Drops and Dolly Mix made the list of best loved sweets."

The research also reveals Brits chew on an average of 19 sweets a week, with 78 percent saying there’s something magical about enjoying the same sweets you ate as a child.

Seventy-seven percent admit they would choose a bag of their favourite sweets over pudding every time, while 70 percent prefer sweets to chocolate.

The full list of the nations favourites according to research:

  • Jelly Babies: 65%

  • Fruit Pastilles: 62%

  • Wine Gums: 60%

  • Cola Bottles: 59%

  • Werther’s Originals: 59%

  • Skittles: 58%

  • Starburst: 57%

  • Liquorice Allsorts: 57%

  • Tangfastics: 57%

  • Rhubarb and custards: 56%

  • Jelly Tots: 56%

  • Fruit Gums: 55%

  • Love Hearts: 54%

  • Dolly Mix: 53%

  • Lemon Sherberts: 53%

  • Pear Drops: 53%

  • Turkish Delight: 52%

  • Maoam Stripes: 52%

  • Kola cubes: 52%

  • Daim bars (formerly Dime): 52%

  • Black Jacks: 52%

  • Toffee Bonbons: 52%

  • Tunnocks Snowballs: 51%

  • Drumstick Squashies: 51%

  • Drumstick Lollies: 51%

  • Polos: 50%

  • Fruit-tella: 50%

  • Tic tacs: 50%

  • Flying saucers: 49%

  • Mentos: 45%

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