Necco Wafers

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Necco Wafers
Necco Wafers.jpg
Package of Necco Wafers
Product type Candy
Owner Sweetheart Candy Co. LLC[1]
Country Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Introduced 1847
Previous owners Oliver R. Chase

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.[2] 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.[3]


NECCO Wafer Advertisement—Nine Flavors Separate or Assorted. The genuine has the seal on the wrapper of each roll, - - - - - At all good stores. Made by New England Confectionery Co., BOSTON
1916 Advertisement

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.[4]

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.[2]

The water tower of the Necco facility on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts, painted in 1996 to resemble a roll of Necco Wafers.[4]
Necco Wafer Memorial Sculpture,1998, cast bronze, located in University Park at MIT near the former Necco factory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In March 2018, Necco announced that it would have to lay off most of its workforce if it could not find a buyer.[5] Online sales of Necco Wafers and other products subsequently spiked, with buyers concerned that the candy would be discontinued.[6][7][8]

On May 25, 2018, it was announced that the bankrupt New England Confectionery Co., received an $18.83 million bid from Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company, maker of Dum Dum lollipops and Circus Peanuts, at a federal bankruptcy auction. This bid was rejected, making way for the next highest bidder, Round Hill Investments LLC, which also owns Hostess Brands to obtain Necco for $18,580,000.[9]

Changes in formula[edit]

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.[2]

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."[10] The new cinnamon flavor is "less like Red Hots", the new lemon, "less like paper candy dots and more like lemon meringue pie filling."[10] The chocolate flavor—previously a vanilla flavor "with a hint of chocolate flavoring"—switches to a more intense all-cocoa flavor.[10] 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 as popular with long-time customers as anticipated.The company received “some complaints about the new formulations” [2] In response to these concerns, Necco Wafer production switched back to the original formula in the summer of 2011.[2]

Other varieties[edit]

Tropical Necco Wafers launched in 2012 and offer a new assortment of tropical fruity flavors: mango, passion fruit, coconut, banana, lime, and strawberry[11]

The Chocolate Necco Wafers is a single-flavor roll composed completely of the Chocolate wafers.[12]

Necco Sour Wafers are in a roll of six tart flavors: Watermelon, Wildberry Grape, Sour Apple, Lemon, Extreme Tangerine, and Blue Raspberry. As of June 2018, these are not shown on NECCO's varieties website, but could still be found in some stores. NECCO Wafers - Assorted


  1. ^ Conti, Katheleen (2018-06-01). "In a sweet plot twist, the owner of Twinkies is Necco's buyer". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-06-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "In with the old, out with the new", The Boston Globe, Tuesday October 25, 2011, pages B5, B9.
  3. ^ NECCO Wafers from the company's website
  4. ^ a b About Us from the company website
  5. ^ Conti, Katheleen (March 12, 2018). "Not so sweet: Necco employees may face layoffs". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  6. ^ Eltagouri, Marwa (April 10, 2018). "Necco Wafers, America's least-favorite candy, are suddenly its most sought after". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  7. ^ Zhao, Helen (April 12, 2018). "Speculators hoard Necco Wafers before candymaker's possible closure". CNBC. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  8. ^ Clarke, John (April 8, 2018). "For Candy Fans, the Only Thing Worse Than Necco Wafers Is No Necco Wafers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  9. ^ Conti, Katheleen (2018-06-01). "In a sweet plot twist, the owner of Twinkies is Necco's buyer". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-06-01. 
  10. ^ a b c Sugar and Spice, an October 2009 article from The Atlantic
  11. ^ Necco Tropical Wafers
  12. ^ Necco Chocolate Wafers

External links[edit]