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What are Neccos®?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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Necco Wafers or Neccos® are a type of lozenge candy manufactured by the New England Confectionery Company (NECCO), which lends its name to its flagship wafers. This candy is readily available at most markets and candy stores, and many people have very fond memories of Neccos® from their childhood, since the candy is cheap and virtually indestructible, making it accessible to people all over the world in an assortment of socioeconomic classes.

NECCO was founded in 1847. Shortly after its founding, innovators at the company came up with two independent inventions which led to the Necco Wafer. The first was a sugar pulverizer, which could be used to grind sugar into a paste with other ingredients. The second was a lozenge cutter, which stamped the desired shape from sheets of the rolled out sugar paste. These inventions led to the development of Neccos® and another product made with the same ingredient, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts. These flagship products have been the cornerstone of NECCO's business ever since they first hit the market.

The classic packaging for Neccos® is a roll of the famous disc-shaped candies wrapped in wax paper. The package contains a combination of lemon, lime, orange, chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, clove, and wintergreen flavored Neccos® in an assortment of colors. Since the candy is made in huge batches, one flavor at a time, several machines are used to shake the candy flavors together, encouraging randomization in the package, which typically contains around 38 wafers, according to NECCO.

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Neccos® are not to everyone's taste. Some people find them chalky, as they have a very distinctive texture. They can also seem extremely sweet, and some of the flavors are a bit unusual, leading people to be very choosy about which Neccos® in a package they will eat. In households where one particular flavor is especially popular, arguments over Neccos® have been known to break out.

Vegans and vegetarians cannot eat Neccos®, because they contain gelatin, an animal product. However, Neccos® are manufactured in a gluten-free facility, making them safe for people with gluten intolerance and celiac disease. These candies also have a very long shelf life, and they will not melt in hot weather or become compromised by extreme cold. This makes them an excellent candy for long trips; famously, the United States military supplied soldiers with Neccos® for morale while they fought overseas.

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