He’s cherry red with a big grin on his face and just as sweet as the candy he was created after. Who else could we be talking about but Mr. Jelly Belly, the official mascot for Jelly Belly jelly beans? Ever since his 1983 debut, this character has been beloved by jelly bean enthusiasts, even if most of them may not know much about his background. Grab a bag of your favorite flavor and gather ‘round — we’re spilling the beans on this loveable candy character just in time for National Jelly Bean Day on April 22.
1. One of Jelly Belly’s biggest fans was none other than former President Ronald Reagan. 3.5 tons of the candies were shipped to Washington, D.C. for his 1981 inauguration celebration.
Two years later, Mr. Jelly Belly made his first illustrated appearance to the candy retail trade in April 1983. That same year, the first Mr. Jelly Belly costume appeared at the 1983 Easter Egg Roll at the White House. The character was created specifically for this event, but caught on quickly with the public and would soon be seen across the country.
2. Mr. Jelly Belly has been branded just about everywhere over the years from packaging to merchandise. Packaging as old as 1986 features the character and he joined the world wide web in 1996 on the then-newly created Jelly Belly website. His first plush toy was made in 1998.
3. Where is Mr. Jelly Belly today? He can still be spotted online and on packaging, especially on the All American Mix of jelly beans. The icon waves an American flag on the bags containing an assortment of Very Cherry, Coconut, and Blueberry Jelly Belly beans.
4. If you want to meet the real Mr. Jelly Belly, he can be found in costume at the Jelly Belly Visitor Centers in Fairfield, California (factory tour) and Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin (warehouse tour and train ride). In the two locations combined, Mr. Jelly Belly gives 722 days worth of tours to his biggest fans. He can also be found as a large inflatable at the Visitor Centers, perfect for anyone who wants to snap a selfie on the go.
5. Above all, Mr. Jelly Belly is passionate about his jelly beans. After all, it takes 7-14 days to make a Jelly Belly bean and more than 15 billion of these beans are consumed in one year alone. Believe it or not, that many beans could circle the earth five times — we know, we’ve bean counting.