|Owner||New England Confectionery Company|
Necco Wafers are a candy made by the United States-based New England Confectionery Company (Necco). Necco Wafers were first produced in 1847 and are considered by Necco to be its core product. Each roll of Necco Wafers contains eight flavors: lemon (yellow), lime (green), orange (orange), clove (purple), cinnamon (white), wintergreen (pink), licorice (black), and chocolate (brown). The ingredients in Necco Wafers are sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, gums, colorings, and flavorings.
Necco Wafers date back to 1847. Oliver Chase, an English immigrant, invented a lozenge cutting machine with which he produced the wafers. At the time of the Civil War, these were called "hub wafers" and were carried by Union soldiers. In 1901, Chase and Company merged with two other companies to incorporate the New England Confectionery Company. By 1912 the wafers were being advertised as "Necco Wafers", a name they still carry today.
During World War II the United States government ordered Necco to produce its wafers for soldiers overseas. As a result of this action, Necco saw its sales of the wafers peak. Upon returning home, many former soldiers became faithful customers who continued to buy the wafers.
Changes in formula
In 2009, Necco changed the formula for its Necco Wafers. Artificial colors and flavors were eliminated. The candy was made softer through the addition of glycerine. The lime flavor was removed due to difficulties in creating an all-natural green coloring, resulting in a 7-flavor Necco Wafer roll.
According to Jackie Hague, Necco's vice president of marketing, switching to all-natural flavors and colors "would draw young mothers concerned about their children's diet." The new cinnamon flavor is "less like Red Hots", the new lemon, "less like paper candy dots and more like lemon meringue pie filling." The chocolate flavor—previously a vanilla flavor "with a hint of chocolate flavoring"—switches to a more intense all-cocoa flavor. The traditional eighth Necco flavor, lime (green), was dropped in the move to all-natural flavors. In addition, the Necco Chocolate assortment changed from 100% of the standard Necco chocolate wafers into a four-flavor chocolate assortment.
However, the change was not popular with long-time customers. The company received "stacks and stacks of letters and e-mails that said, 'Why did you do this? You ruined it,'" according to vice president of sales Steve Ornell. Less than two years after the change, sales of Necco Wafers had fallen by 35 percent. In response to these concerns, Necco Wafer production switched back to the original formula in the summer of 2011.
Necco Smoothies are the latest addition to the Necco Wafer line, and come in blueberry (pale blue), banana caramel (yellow), tropical pineapple/coconut (white), peach (orange), and strawberry creme (pink).