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by Kerry Cordy

If you are working on your Learn About Jelly Belly Badge through either the Frontier Girls or Quest Program or just want to find out more about these delicious treats, continue reading for all sorts of ideas and information.


Brief History of Jelly Belly

While the Goelitz Candy Company began back in 1869, their famous mini jelly beans were not created until 1965 when the company first infused flavor into the centers of their mini jelly beans.  In 1976 a candy distributor, David Klein, came up with the idea of creating jelly beans using natural flavors and approached Goelitz with the idea.  As a result, a new kind of jelly bean was born, one with intense flavor that used natural ingredients whenever possible.  In 1976 the first eight Jelly Belly flavors were born: Very Cherry, Lemon, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Root Beer, Grape and Licorice. These original flavors are still among the most popular the company makes today.

In 1980, Goelitz executives purchased the Jelly Belly Trademark from  Klein and a Garvey Nut partner and in 2001 Goelitz Candy Company officially changed its name to Jelly Belly Candy Co.  today they make more than 50 different flavors of mini jelly beans including their sour bellys, sports beans that contain electrolytes and their Harry Potter collection including beans such as vomit and ear wax.

Visit the Reference Business website for a more complete history of this fascinating company.

Ronald Reagan

Did you know that Ronald Reagan had ties to the Jelly Belly company? Walk the halls of Jelly Belly factories, and you will see Ronald Reagan memorabilia and  jelly bean portraits of him that adorn the halls.  Atlas Obscura has a great article on Why the Jelly Belly Factory Has a Shrine to Ronald Reagan.

Jelly Belly portraits of famous people have become quite popular, not just Ronald Reagan.  Check out their art gallery to some of your favorite people and characters made out of Jelly Bellys.  Are you inspired?  Try making your own Jelly Belly mosaic.

Jelly Belly Mosaic Project


  • Enough Jelly Bellys of each color need for your mosaic
  • Paint in the same colors as your Jelly Bellys
  • Glue Gun and Hot Glue Sticks (liquid glue will dissolve the sugar on the Jelly Belly and just create a mess)
  • Art Canvas (or a flat board or other sturdy surface to glue the beans to)


  1. Decide on an image you wish to create and paint it on your canvas.  It does not need to be perfect, but painting the image first will not only give you a map of where to put your beans, but will also keep the white canvas from showing through between the beans.
  2. Use the glue gun and hot glue to start gluing down beans.  It is usually best to work from the center of your design outward to ensure you have room for all your beans.


Jelly Belly Taste Experiment

The best part of learning about Jelly Belly is tasting all their fabulous flavors. Try this simple experiment to see how your sight and smell influence the flavor your brain associates with the jelly bean.


  • 3 Jelly Bellys of the same flavor for each participant.  It is important that you only use one flavor of Jelly Belly for the entire experiment, but do not let the participants know this fact.  It’s best to use one of the original flavored jelly beans (e.g., cherry, grape, lemon, orange)
  • Sheet of paper to write guesses
  • Pen or pencil


  • Jelly Bean #1
    • Participants need to plug their nose and close their eyes. It is important that they keep their nose plugged until after they have swallowed the jelly bean completely.
    • Give each participant a jelly bean
    • Have each participant guess what flavor they ate and write it down
  • Jelly Bean #2
    • Participants need to only close their eyes
    • Give each participant a jelly bean
    • Have each participant guess what flavor they ate and write it down
  • Jelly Bean #3
    • Keep eyes open and use all senses
    • Give each participant a jelly bean
    • Have each participant guess what flavor they ate and write it down

Discussion Questions

  • Did you guess correctly?  Were all your guesses the same?  If not why do you think they differed?
  • Which jelly bean (1, 2, or 3) was hardest to guess? Easiest? What do you think causes these differences?


Jelly Belly Flavors

In the early stages of its development, the Jelly Belly company released eight original flavors. More than 40 new flavors later, the Jelly Belly company has found a knack for producing quality new flavors that everyone loves. Check out the official Jelly Belly Flavor List to explore all of the flavors that Jelly Belly offers.  How many have you tried?  What are your favorites?  Try buying a mixed bag of Jelly Bellys and then sorting them by flavor. You can also check out Jelly Belly’s “recipes” to try. These unique combinations of Jelly Bellys create a whole new taste sensation in your mouth.


Jumping Jelly Belly Painting

Fantastic Fun and Learning gives you instructions for a fun way to paint using some of your extra candy.  All that is required is some paper, tape, and box with a lid.  Just make sure your box can either be washed or thrown out when you are finished. Set some beans aside, get acrylic paint, a painting medium, and a container out and you are ready to go! Perfect for preschool and kindergarten age kids, this activity will be fun and something that they can keep. For an extra fun twist, paint on canvas instead of paper and tape off a design before painting.  When the paint is dry, carefully peel up the tape to reveal your creation!


Edible Jelly Belly Clay

If the last few activities haven’t made you hungry, we are pretty sure that this one win over your sweet tooth. For something that is a little bit hands on, and a whole lot tasty, visit Lemon Lime Adventures and learn the steps to make your own edible jelly bean play dough. This dough will leave your hands smooth and sticky-less through sensory exploration, molding, and even taste testing!


Fun Facts About Jelly Belly

  • Did you know that Jelly Belly’s take anywhere between 7 and 14 days to produce?
  • Blueberry flavor was created for Ronald Reagan’s presidential inauguration in 1981
  • During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, Jelly Belly beans were served in the Oval Office and on Air Force One. A holder was designed for the plane so the jar of Jelly Belly beans would not spill during turbulence.
  • Enough Jelly Belly beans were eaten in 2019 to circle the earth more than five times.
  • Very Cherry remained the most popular flavor of Jelly Belly beans for two decades until 1998, when Buttered Popcorn moved into first place. In 2003 Very Cherry moved back into top position by a mere 8 million beans.




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