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Jolly Rancher is an American brand of sweet, somewhat tangy or sour/sweet hard candy, gummies, fruit chews, jelly beans, lollipops, gelatin desserts, gum, and sodas. It is currently owned by The Hershey Company. The product was originally produced by the Jolly Rancher Company, founded by Bill Harmsen of Golden, Colorado. The Jolly Rancher Company made ice cream, chocolate and candy sold at several "Ranch Maid Ice Cream" stores in the Denver area. The name was meant to suggest a hospitable, western company.
Assorted flavors of Jolly Rancher candies
|Product type||Fruit flavored hard candy|
|Owner||The Hershey Company|
|Introduced||November 22, 1949|
|Previous owners||Jolly Rancher Company|
Bill Harmsen founded the Jolly Rancher Company in 1949, choosing the name to give the impression of a friendly Western company. He initially sold candy, chocolate and ice cream in the Denver, Colorado, area, but found that ice cream was hard to sell in the cold winter months, and so he decided to focus on hard candies which sold at all times of year. 
Jolly Rancher original flavors were watermelon, apple, and Fire Stix. They then introduced cherry, orange tangerine, lemon, grape, peach, and sour apple. Eventually, blue raspberry replaced lemon. Current flavors include cherry, blue raspberry, grape, green apple and watermelon. There are also sour, cinnamon, and smoothie varieties. In 2013, lemon was reintroduced in an all-lemon bag. In 2015, Jolly Rancher offered a "Fruity Bash" variety bag which includes strawberry, mountain berry, lemon, orange, and pineapple. In 2017, Jolly Rancher offered a "Hotties" variety bag which includes watermelon & cayenne pepper, blue raspberry & sriracha, cherry & habanero, and green apple & ginger. They also offer a "red" bag, which included cherry, watermelon, strawberry and fruit punch. As of 2012, the passion mix, which included the peach flavor, and the wild berry mix were discontinued by The Hershey Company.
Jolly Ranchers are amorphous solids, meaning their molecular arrangements have no specific pattern. They are hard, brittle, rigid, translucent and have low molecular mobility. Jolly Ranchers are formed from highly concentrated sugar solutions (greater than 95% sugar) and have extremely high viscosity. Their “glassy” appearance is a result of the way they are processed. During processing, the sugar syrup is cooled so rapidly that no crystals have time to form. Jolly Ranchers hold their solid shape when kept in temperatures less than the glass transition temperature (Tg). If the temperature is greater than the Tg, the hard and glassy-like structure of the Jolly Rancher becomes a soft and rubbery material.
Jolly Ranchers are manufactured by creating a solution of corn syrup, sucrose, glucose, or fructose syrup that is boiled to a temperature of 160 °C and cooled to create a supersaturated mixture that is roughly 2.5 percent water. As the mixture is cooled, natural and artificial flavoring and artificial colors (red 40, blue 1, yellow 5, yellow 6) are added to individual batches of syrup solution which are later mixed with malic acid to improve shelf life and add further flavor. Once the mixture begins to cool it is then extruded into long malleable strings that are cut to size and individually wrapped and packaged.
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