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Bad Product: Circus Peanuts

As much as I love hardened orange gelatin in the shape of a peanut shell, I’m going to start this blog off by mentioning the general public’s collective disdain for the candy known as “Circus Peanuts.” And since this is a blog about a buyer’s perspective of Corporate America’s product and service offerings, what better place to start than with one of the most infamously recognized and contemplated candy treats?

What are they? I’m sure you’ve seen them. They usually come in the 2 for 99 cents red and clear candy packaging at CVS. They’re mass produced by either Brach’s or Sathers, the same company who brought you the disgusting knockoff version of Swedish Fish, Darlin’ Marlins. They’re essentially stiff, stale neon marshmallows manufactured to look like a legume. Yet, strangely and inappropriately enough, they’re banana flavored. Mind-boggling.

I Wikipedia’d the origins of the Circus Peanut phenomenon and apparently they were created in the 1800’s, but were available only seasonally because sellers were unable to preserve them. Eventually, the polyethylene packaging revolution took over and Circus Peanuts were available year-round for our snacking pleasure. Another fun fact: a General Mills VP discovered how fantastic Circus Peanuts tasted in his cereal, thus opening the door for the world’s favorite hardened-marshmallow cereal, Lucky Charms. Who knew?

Aside from being hard as a cinder block, they actually are quite enjoyable. They’re horribly bad for you and eating more than two of them is vomit-inducing. But they dissolve in your mouth and the banana flavor is oddly pleasing. Not to mention you can eat them several years after you buy them because they taste stale regardless of when they were purchased.

Circus Peanuts were an ill-conceived and downright strange idea, but damn it, I love them.