|Product type||Gelatin desserts, puddings|
Jell-O is a brand name belonging to U.S.-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. The brand's popularity has led to it being used as a generic term for gelatin dessert across the U.S. and Canada.
Jell-O is sold prepared (ready to eat) or in powder form, and is available in many different colors and flavors. The powder contains powdered gelatin and flavorings, including sugar or artificial sweeteners. It is dissolved in very hot water, then chilled and allowed to set. Fruit, vegetables, whipped cream, or other ingredients can be added to make elaborate snacks that can be molded into various shapes. Jell-O must be put in a refrigerator until served, and once set properly, it is normally eaten with a spoon.
There are also non-gelatin pudding and pie filling products under the Jell-O brand. To make pudding, these are cooked on stove top with milk, then either eaten warm or chilled until more firmly set. Jell-O also has an instant pudding product which is simply mixed with cold milk and then chilled. To make pie fillings, the same products are simply prepared with less liquid.
Although the word Jell-O is a brand name, it is commonly used in the United States as a generic and household name for any gelatin products.
Early history 
It was popularized in the Victorian era with spectacular and complex "jelly moulds". Gelatin was sold in sheets and had to be purified, which was very time-consuming. It also made gelatin desserts the province of the relatively well-to-do. In 1845, industrialist Peter Cooper (who built the first American steam-powered locomotive, the Tom Thumb), obtained a patent (US Patent 4084) for powdered gelatin.
Forty years later the formula was sold to a LeRoy, New York-based carpenter and cough syrup manufacturer, Pearle B. Wait. He and his wife May added strawberry, raspberry, orange and lemon flavoring to the powder and gave the product its present name in 1897. Unable to successfully market their concoction, in 1899 the Waits sold the business to a neighbor, Orator Francis Woodward, for $450.
Going mainstream 
Various elements were key to Jell-O becoming a mainstream product: new technologies, such as refrigeration, powdered gelatin and machine packaging, home economics classes, and the company's marketing.
Initially Woodward struggled to sell the powdered product. Beginning in 1902, to raise awareness, Woodward's Genesee Pure Food Company placed advertisements in the Ladies' Home Journal proclaiming Jell-O to be "America's Most Famous Dessert." Jell-O remained a minor success until 1904, when Genesee Pure Food Company sent enormous numbers of salesmen out into the field to distribute free Jell-O cookbooks, a pioneering marketing tactic at the time. Within a decade, three new flavors, chocolate (discontinued in 1927), cherry and peach, were added, and the brand was launched in Canada. Celebrity testimonials and recipes appeared in advertisements featuring actress Ethel Barrymore and opera singer Ernestine Schumann-Heink. Some Jell-O advertisements were painted by Maxfield Parrish.
In 1923, the newly rechristened Jell-O Company launched D-Zerta, an artificially sweetened version of Jell-O. Two years later, Postum and Genesee merged, and in 1927 Postum acquired Clarence Birdseye's frozen foods company to form the General Foods Corporation. By 1930, there appeared a vogue in American cuisine for congealed salads, and the company introduced lime-flavored Jell-O to complement the various add-ins that cooks across the U.S. were combining in these aspics and salads. By the 1950s, these salads would become so popular that Jell-O responded with savory and vegetable flavors such as celery, Italian, mixed vegetable and seasoned tomato. These savory flavors have since been discontinued.
In 1934, sponsorship from Jell-O made comedian Jack Benny the dessert's spokesperson. At this time also was introduced a jingle (created by the agency Young & Rubicam) that would be familiar over the next several decades, in which the spelling "J-E-L-L-O" was (or could be) sung over a rising five-note musical theme.
In 1936, chocolate returned to the Jell-O lineup, this time as an instant pudding made with milk. It proved enormously popular and over time other pudding flavors were added such as vanilla, tapioca, coconut, pistachio, butterscotch, egg custard, flan and rice pudding.
Baby boom 
The baby boom saw a significant increase in sales for Jello. Young mothers of the time didn't have the same supporting community structures of earlier generations, so marketers were quick to promote easy-to-prepare pre-packaged foods. By this time, creating a Jell-O dessert required nothing more than boiling water, Jell-O and Tupperware molds.
New flavors continued to be added and unsuccessful ones were removed: in the 1950s and 1960s, apple, black cherry, black raspberry, grape, lemon-lime, mixed fruit, orange-banana, pineapple-grapefruit, blackberry, strawberry-banana, tropical fruit and more intense "wild" versions of the venerable strawberry, raspberry and cherry. In 1966, the Jell-O "No-Bake" dessert line was launched, which allowed a cheesecake to be made in 15 minutes. In 1971 packaged prepared pudding called Jell-O Pudding Treats were introduced. During this same period, 1-2-3 Jell-O, a gelatin dessert that separated into three layers as it cooled, was unveiled. Until 1987, 1-2-3 Jell-O could readily be found in grocery stores throughout most of the United States, but the dessert is now extremely rare. Jell-O Whip 'n Chill, a mousse-style dessert, was also introduced and widely promoted; it also remains available only in limited areas today.
Sales decline and turnaround 
In 1964, the slogan "There's always room for Jell-O" was introduced, promoting the product as a "light dessert" that could easily be consumed even after a heavy meal.
Throughout the 1960s through the 1980s, Jell-O's sales consistently decreased. Many Jell-O dishes, such as desserts and Jell-O salads, became special occasion foods rather than everyday items. Marketers blamed this decline on decreasing family sizes, a "fast-paced" lifestyle and women's increasing employment. By 1986, a market study concluded that mothers with young children rarely purchased Jell-O.
To turn things around, Jell-O hired Dana Gioia to stop the decline. The marketing team revisited the Jell-O recipes that had been published in past cookbooks and rediscovered Jigglers, although the original recipe did not use that name. These are Jell-O snacks molded into fun shapes that can be eaten as finger food. Jell-O launched a massive marketing campaign, notable featuring Bill Cosby as a company spokesman. The campaign was a huge success, not only stopping the sales decline, but causing a significant gain.
Cosby became the company's pudding spokesperson in 1974, and continued to serve as the voice of Jell-O for almost thirty years. Over the course of his tenure as the mouthpiece for the company, he would help introduce new products such as frozen Jell-O Pops (in both gelatin and pudding varieties); the new Sugar-Free Jell-O, which replaced D-Zerta in 1984 and was sweetened with NutraSweet; Jell-O Jigglers concentrated gummi snacks; and Sparkling Jell-O, a carbonated version of the dessert touted as the "Champagne of Jell-O." In 2010, Cosby returned as Jell-O spokesperson in an on-line web series called "OBKB."
In the 1980s, a Jell-O advertising campaign slogan reminded consumers, "Don't forget--you have to remember to make it."
In 1990, General Foods was merged into Kraft Foods by parent company Philip Morris (now the Altria Group). New flavors were continually introduced: watermelon, blueberry, cranberry, margarita and piña colada among others. In 2001, Jell-O was declared the "Official State Snack" of Utah, with Governor Michael O. Leavitt declaring an annual "Jell-O Week." During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the souvenir pins included one depicting green Jell-O.
As of 2008[update], there are more than 158 products sold under the Jell-O brand name and about 300 million boxes of Jell-O gelatin sold in the United States each year.
Jell-O is also used as a substantial ingredient in a well-known dessert, a "Jell-O mold" the preparation of which requires a mold designed to hold gelatin, and the depositing of small quantities of chopped fruit, nuts, and other ingredients before it hardens and takes on its typical form. Fresh pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and ginger root cannot be used because they contain enzymes that prevent the gelatin from "setting."
Jell-O shots 
A popular alternative recipe calls for the addition of an alcoholic beverage to the mix, contributing approximately one third to one half of the liquid added after the gelatin has been dissolved in the boil. A serving of the resulting mixture is typically called a "Jell-O shot" at parties. The quantity and timing of the addition of the alcohol are vital aspects; it is not possible to make Jell-O shots with only alcohol:
Dry gelatin is composed of colloidal proteins. These proteins form chains that require hot water to denature them, so that they can then reform as a semisolid colloidal suspension incorporating the added water. Pure alcohol cannot be heated (without evaporation) enough to initially break down the proteins.
Vodka or rum is commonly used in Jell-O shots, but the shots can be made with almost any type of alcohol. It is important to adjust the proportions of alcohol and cold water to ensure that the mixture set when experimenting with different types of alcohol. The Jell-O shots can be served in shot glasses or small paper cups; using the paper cups makes it easier for the people to eat it, but shot glasses are more attractive. The alcohol in Jell-O shots is contained within the Jell-O, so the body absorbs it slower causing people to underestimate how much alcohol they have consumed. Drinkers must monitor their intake because of this. The Jell-O shot was claimed to be invented by American singer-songwriter Tom Lehrer in the 1950s to circumvent restrictions on alcoholic beverages at the army base he was then stationed at.
Manufacturing and tourism 
As of 2012[update], LeRoy, New York, is still known as the home of Jell-O and has the only Jell-O Museum in the world, which is located on the main road through the small town. Jell-O was manufactured here until General Foods closed the plant in 1964 and relocated manufacturing to Dover, Delaware. The Jell-O Gallery museum is operated by the Le Roy Historical Society and located at the Le Roy House and Union Free School, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
At the museum, visitors can learn about the history of the dessert from its inception. Visitors starting on East Main Street, follow Jell-O Brick Road, whose stones are inscribed with the names of former factory employees. The museum offers looks at starting materials for Jell-O, such as sturgeon bladder and calves' hooves, and various molds.
Jack Benny's top-rated radio show did not break away for commercials. Instead, his announcer, Don Wilson, incorporated speeches about Jell-O into the program at appropriate places, to Jack's feigned comic annoyance. Lucille Ball's My Favorite Husband, the radio predecessor to TV's I Love Lucy, was another popular program sponsored by Jell-O for much of its 124-episode run.
Comedian Bill Cosby is usually associated with Jell-O and, more famously, Jell-O pudding as he has appeared in many commercials promoting both. Shows like MAD TV, The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live parody Cosby, using Jell-O references like "pudding pop". In the 1960s, the cast of the sitcom Hogan's Heroes did a commercial with Carol Channing featuring Colonel Hogan, his men, Kommandant Klink and Sergeant Shultz having Jell-O and Dream Whip for dessert. Also, during the first few seasons of the first of Lucille Ball's two 1960s television series, The Lucy Show, cast members including Vivian Vance often did commercials for Jell-O.
In 1995, Jell-O carried the tagline "It's alive!" and had the phrase "J-E-L-L-OOOOOOO!".
In culture 
Jell-O is especially popular among member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often referred to as "Mormons". The Mormon Corridor region, which has the highest Mormon populations, has been nicknamed the "Jell-O Belt", referring to the 20th century Mormon cultural stereotype that Mormons have an affinity for Jell-O (a gelatin-based food). In support of this image, Jell-O was designated as Utah's official state snack food in 2001. When drafting the resolution, the Utah Legislature gave many reasons to recognize Jell-O, including that Utah had been the highest per capita consumer of Jell-O for many years, and how citizens of Utah had rallied to "Take Back the Title" after Des Moines, Iowa exceeded Utah in Jell-O consumption in 1999. The culture of Utah, petitions by Utahns, and campaigning by students of Brigham Young University were also mentioned as reasons for recognizing Jell-O. Bill Cosby, longtime spokesperson for the Jell-O brand, appeared before a joint session of the Utah Legislature in support of the bill. "He told the assembly that he believes the reason people in Utah love Jell-O is that the snack is perfect for families -- and the people of Utah are all about family."Jell-O is often served with homemade cookies or cakes and milk at LDS Church socials.
The stereotype of Mormons love for Jell-O is actually a recent one. Media reports in 1969 and 1988 on foods popular among Mormons or in Utah make no mention of Jell-O, and a 1988 article mentions Jell-O as being a Lutheran tradition. The Bill Cosby advertising campaign and the promotion of Jigglers was much more popular in Utah than in other areas, in large part due to higher birth rates among Mormon populations. The stereotype was solidified in 1997 when Kraft foods released sales figures, revealing Salt Lake City to have the highest per-capita Jell-O consumption.
The Jell-O stereotype developed during a time when the LDS church, led by Gordon B. Hinckley, more actively engaged with wider society, such as by giving interviews with the press. As many non-Mormons believed their religious practices to be strange, they similarly lumped the love of Jell-O as part of the strange aspects of being Mormon. Many incorrect explanations of this stereotype attribute it to Mormons refusal of alcohol and tobacco. However, the high level of Jell-O consumption has nothing to do with either religion or a refusal to drink alcohol, but simply reflects the nationwide trend towards processed foods. Mormons embraced the stereotype of Jell-O consumption to assert their religious and cultural identity.
Current flavors 
The following are the flavors of Jell-O products that are currently being produced:
Discontinued flavors 
See also 
- Jello salad
- List of generic and genericized trademarks
- Aeroplane jelly
- Jell-O Museum
- Jello Biafra
- Green Jellö
- IMPROVEMENT IN THE PREPARATION OF ... - Google Patent Search
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- List of Current Jell-O Flavors
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- How to Make Jello