Gaga for Goo Goo Clusters

A Southern candy celebrates its 100th birthday

Oct 23, 2012 | By TFK Kid Reporter Faye Collins
COURTESY COLLINS FAMILY

What are the chances of a 100-year-old chocolate candy falling in your treat bag this Halloween? Though Goo Goo Clusters may not be as familiar as Kit Kat or Hershey bars, people of all ages have enjoyed this Southern staple for an entire century.

In 1901, a 19-year-old named Howell Campbell opened a candy store in Nashville, Tennessee. He made all kinds of sweets and hard candies with just two copper kettles and about a dozen employees. Then, in 1912, he made the first candy to combine chocolate with other ingredients such as caramel, marshmallow nougat, and peanuts. Originally, these clusters were hand-wrapped and sold under the counter at a few local stores with a sign reading, “A nourishing lunch for a nickel.” Now, they are known as Goo Goo Clusters. Nearly 20, 000 of these chocolate treats are made per hour in a factory in Nashville.

What else makes a Goo Goo so special? “In addition to it being the very first-ever combination confection created, its shape also makes it quite unique,” says Beth Sachan, Goo Goo Clusters’ senior marketing manager. “The Goo Goo Cluster is a big, imperfectly round mound of deliciousness!”

Celebrating 100 Years

The 100th anniversary of the Goo Goo Cluster is being celebrated throughout the month of October, the biggest candy-selling month of the year. About 40 restaurants in the Nashville area have created unique desserts inspired by Goo Goo Clusters to serve to their customers. Additionally, a Goo Goo-sponsored race called the “Jog ’n Hog” was held in Nashville on October 13. Adults and children ran three miles to the finish line after eating at least one of six Goo Goo’s from a bag they were given at the halfway point. A golden Goo Goo was hidden in one of the bags. The winner received a $100 gift certificate to the candy’s website, googoo.com. After the race, a scavenger hunt was held throughout the city.

In case this treat doesn’t show up in your Halloween bucket this season, don’t forget to try all three flavors to find the one you love best—original, supreme or peanut butter. Happy Birthday to Goo Goo Clusters, and Happy Halloween!