Altoids, the "curiously strong" mints, have long been an American favourite. The brand has changed hands from company to company after its creation in the eighteenth century but has continued to grow in popularity. Altoids, famous for their packaging as well as their flavour, are now one of the most well-known mints in America.
Altoids were not originally created to cure bad breath. In fact, they were created to help lessen stomach aches and intestinal discomfort. Altoids were created by the founder of a London-based company, Smith and Company. Smith Kendon created the lozenge recipe in 1781. Smith and Company was taken over by the company Callard and Bowser, a popular confectionery company, in the mid-1800s.
Altoids Reach America
Altoids did not become popular in America until 1918, many years after their creation. The lozenges were marketed as "curiously strong" and claimed to help rid poisons in the stomach. This was linked to the large amount of peppermint oil included in the Altoid recipe. Shortly thereafter, consumers began turning to Altoids as mints rather than for stomach aide. Starting in the 1920s, Altoids were sold in metal tins rather than the cardboard box they had previously been sold in. This added to the peppermint's charm.
Altoids changed hands over the years, beginning with Callard and Bowser and ending with Wrigley. The company Callard and Bowser was sold to Terry's of York in 1982 and was later taken over by Kraft/Phillip Morris in 1993. Wrigley of Chicago bought the Callard and Bowser brand from Kraft for almost £1.0 billion in 2004. Wrigley has since been added to the Mars company, which was created in 1932.
Altoids can now be found in various flavours as well as gum and sours. The first variety, Wintergreen, was introduced in 1997 and since then Spearmint, Cinnamon, Creme de Menthe, Dark Chocolate Cinnamon and Dark Chocolate Creme de Menthe have been added to the popular mint brand. Sugar free varieties and "smalls" are available now as well. The chewing gum version of Altoids was introduced in 2003 and now includes Peppermint, Spearmint, Cinnamon, Wintergreen as well as Sour Cherry and Sour Apple. Hard candies were introduced in 2002 and include the flavours of Sour Apple, Raspberry, Mango and Passion Fruit, and they are sold in a tin like their predecessors.
Altoids are now the number one mint in America. Consumers prefer the tin over other packaging types because they are kept clean and are easy to dispense. Sales continue to rise for the amazingly strong mints with the only downside to them being the dust they leave on fingertips, which can spread to clothes. Altoids are now manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee having been moved from Wales because their sales are higher in the U.S.
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