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Survey shows nation’s favorite jelly bean flavor. Turns out America is retarded.


Kramer
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WASHINGTON — As covered in this space, people are passionate about their candy, and the countdown to Easter raises a related issue for debate: best jelly bean.

You might dig a piña colada situation, for instance; I’m partial to the soda-based flavors.

Agree to disagree, but who is actually correct here?

 

Neither of us, apparently, and the real answer might surprise you: Most Americans seem to think the best jelly bean flavor is … buttered popcorn.

Wait. What?

That’s according to this year’s CandyStore.com ranking of the top 30 jelly bean flavors, which was “based on over 12,000 votes and over a decade of jelly bean sales data.”

The tale of the tape

Other factoids that were deliberately picked out of the survey’s jar:

  • Buttered popcorn sits atop the pile of beans in 10 states.
  • It unseats black licorice as top bean. The new No. 2 is still tops, though, in eight states.
  • Cinnamon, watermelon and cherry rounded out the top five nationally.
  • Virginia’s favored jelly bean flavor, cinnamon, ranked No. 3 nationwide.
  • Maryland’s favored jelly bean flavor, orange, ranked No. 7 nationwide.
  • The District’s favorite, cherry, sits at No. 5 nationally.

And before you question the legitimacy of the survey, consider this: Its top three mostly jibe with those of America’s leading jelly bean harvester.

According to Jelly Belly, buttered popcorn and licorice are among its top three in sales, too, spokeswoman Jana Sanders Perry wrote in an email to WTOP. (Cherry rounds out their top three.)

Jelly Belly’s is a crowded field that includes some pretty weird flavors. There are 50 “official” flavors (e.g., cantaloupe, chili mango and cotton candy), as well as a “citrus mix” variety (e.g., grapefruit, tangerine), a “sours” variety (e.g., sour grape, sour peach) and a “Krispy Kreme” variety (doughnut flavors, obviously).

And then there’s Jelly Belly’s “BeanBoozled” collection, which includes such flavors as dead fish, lawn clippings and canned dog food. (See the full list on Jelly Belly’s site and order some if you feel so inclined.)

Traditional candy values

The overabundance of odd flavors might make some yearn for the good old days, back when there were fewer flavors … and you liked it. To that point, we’d be remiss if we didn’t compare America’s favorites today with those of a former president forever linked to jelly beans.

“The president seemed to enjoy them all,” said John Heubusch, executive director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute. “He’d put his hand in the whole jar and eat away, but there was no question when he came upon a licorice one, that was his favorite.”

Our 40th president also didn’t seem to mind cherry, coconut or blueberry. Three and a half tons of those red, white and blue (respectively) jelly beans were shipped to D.C. for the 1981 inaugural.

Reagan developed a fondness for jelly beans in 1966 when he was running for governor of California, Heubusch said.

“He smoked a pipe,” Heubusch said. “He, like many other smokers, tried to find a way around it, a way to break the habit. So he — just on his own volition — decided, ‘Well, what if I just keep myself occupied with jelly beans?’”

(Pro tip: If you’re hoping to kick smoking with jelly beans, you probably should steer clear of those dog-food-flavored ones.)

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