pez sweet pez

You've seen them everywhere, those PEZ sweet dispensers. Why are they so popular and why are they so addictive? A little insight;

"PEZ" is an abbreviation of the German term for peppermint which is Pfefferminz. It is a candy that was first made by an Austrian company in 1927. They also made a dispenser for the candy which was designed to look like a cigarette lighter. Apparently, along with the breath mints sweets, they were marketed as an alternative to smoking.

So, you have breath-mint-like sweets and cigarette-lighter-like dispensers; i.e., a psychological aspect of addiction (associated with a lighter), and a sugar pill :). I think the addictiveness question answers itself.

As for why they're so popular, well, there were many flavours of candy, but many, many more dispenser designs. The dispensers were usually fashioned after characters from the popular culture of the day such as Disney's Mikey Mouse and Father Christmas.

The original characters from the 1920's and 30's are very valuable today because collectors would pay big money for the most rare or most desired ones. The ones from the 40's to 80's (even the 90's sometimes) are trading on eBay for a surprisingly healthy amount of cash too. Since then, however, there have been thousands of characters made - including fake replicas of course.

Nowadays, they are made very cheaply (probably in China) as fun sweet dispensers marketed mainly to the children's toys market. They are still quite popular with grownups though due their nostalgia value.

Some of the present day Pez sweet dispensers designs include popular characters from franchises like;

My Little Pony
Justice League 
Despicable Me
Toy Story
The Avengers

These modern PEZ dispensers are very cheap but well made and make great party favours items or Christmas presents. They are especially ideal for 'pass the parcel' or 'secrete Santa' games in the workplace, again because of their nostalgic factor.

Which is your favourite PEZ dispenser character?


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