The History of Utah’s Love for JELL-O
The state of Utah consumes a lot of JELL-O, we get it. But why? According to Thrillist, (full article)
"Between the 1960s and the 1980s, Jell-O experienced slipping sales as American consumers abandoned the traditional meal structure of the early and mid-20th century. Desserts and fussy, structured salads, both ideal dishes for using Jell-O, became special-occasion, not everyday, items. Marketers blamed this shift alternately on decreasing family size and the “fast-paced” lifestyle of American consumers, who depended increasingly on prepared foods. Underlying both was the reality that women were expanding their work sphere to include out-of-home professions."
So basically, when the traditional family structure started to change, JELL-O's sales started to plummet. Wives didn't want to spend the time to make ridiculous dishes like the one displayed above.
So JELL-O changed course. Instead of marketing complex desserts that you can make with JELL-O they came out with JELL-O Jigglers. You cut the JELL-O into shapes and your wiener kid can eat it with his hands. And his little brain loves it because it's shaped like a dinosaur even though it tastes like cough medicine.
So JELL-O stabilized because of the jigglers and Utah was their top state in sales year after year. Big families, big family reunions, and church parties where you wanted to show off a crazy dessert you made.
Now, JELL-O also became famous at frat parties in the 90's, college kids would take "JELL-O shots" which caused a branding problem. Per Slate.com (full article)
"A family-friendly refocusing of the brand’s image was needed, and the 100th anniversary of Jell-O in 1997 provided the perfect excuse.
As part of the festivities, Kraft Foods (having merged with General Foods in 1988) released per capita sales figures of Jell-O to newspapers around the country. Salt Lake City came in as No. 1."
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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart