The History Of Abba-Zaba Candy Bars

in Candy Blog

Do you recognize this candy bar?

Abba Zaba Candy Bar single serving

This might be one of the most iconic candy bar wrappers of all time—do you agree? Turns out this candy bar and its wrapper have quite the back story.

Here’s the short and sweet history of Abba Zaba!

The early years of Abba Zaba

Abba Zaba’s origin story starts with the Colby & McDermott Candy Company, in Los Angeles, California. In 1922, they were on a mission to create a candy bar that combined taffy and peanut butter. It’s not known when, but between 1922-1950, Colby & McDermott sold the rights for Abba Zaba to Cardinet Candy Company, the makers of the U-No bar.

For the next 25 years, Colby & McDermott would sell the combo of Abba Zaba and U-No until 1978 when they sold the rights to all the recipes to the Annabelle Candy Company.

Annabelle Candy Company is one of the largest independently owned and family-operated candy companies in the United States. Founded by Russian immigrant 1950, Sam Altshuler, who named the company after his daughter, Annabell was the first producer of the famous Rocky Road Bar. With 4 different flavors, it would be their primary product for the first 23 years of its existence.

Then in 1972, Annabell acquired The Golden Nugget Company, which owned the rights two famous candy bars—Big Hunk and LOOK. 6 years later, in 1978, they would make another massive acquisition with the purchase of the Cardinet Candy Company, the then owners of the Abba Zaba Bar and U-No candy bars. This would prove to be the permanent residence for Abba Zabba production to this day. 

In 2016, Annabelle Candy Company won the Guinness World Record for the largest taffy which weighed over 500 pounds! Sadly they didn’t stuff any peanut butter into the middle to make it a giant Abba Zaba.

So what exactly is Abba Zaba?

If we’re talking about the ingredients, Abba Zaba is a mixture of corn syrup, sugar, peanut butter, dextrose, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and lecithin salt. But we’re not here to talk about ingredients, we're here to talk about what makes Abba Zaba great.

Abba Zaba Candy bars are unique for a few reasons. The first and most obvious is their eye-catching wrapper. You can walk into almost any candy store and Abba Zaba is going to be the first bar that catches your attention The infamous black and yellow checkerboard print has been their primary design for over 40 years and continues to hold its iconic spot in candy history.

Once that wrapper is opened, Abba Zaba consists of two confectionery classics—taffy and peanut butter. Unlike other taffy candy during the ‘60s and ‘70s, Abba Zaba was one of those taffy candy bars that packed a completely new combination of flavors. The sticky, yet creamy taffy mixed with irresistible peanut butter made for something that the west coast sweet tooth had never tasted before.

As it continued to rise in popularity, Annabelle started throwing different flavors into the center of their taffy bars including chocolate and green apple, though they never held up against the popularity of the original peanut butter flavor.

Today, Abba Zaba offers two primary flavors: original and mystery. Mystery Abba Zaba was introduced to the market with the concept that the middle flavor is always changing. Whether it be fruity or minty, consumers all over the country have tried different versions of the mystery flavor and reports have varied across the board. 

Abba Zaba collection assorted

Abba Zaba in pop culture.

The grocery store and candy shop aren’t the only places you are going to find Abba Zaba. The famous candy bar has stuffed its way into American culture, from movies to television and even music. You remember the iconic cowboy actor John Wayne, right? Turns out the man loved himself some Abba Zabba—rumor has it that he always had one on set with him.

He’s not the only one either. Singer and songwriter, Don Van Vliet, was known for his obsession with Abba Zaba, using the checkerboard pattern for album art and even naming a song “Abba Zaba.” 

Jump over to tv and film and you’ll find that Abba Zaba has been featured in a few flicks over the course of its time. It’s featured in multiple episodes of Saved By The Bell, Mary Hartman, and Salute Your Shorts. It also was a major highlight of Dave Chapelle's widely popular blockbuster Half Baked. 

Looks like you need an Abba Zaba...

There it is, the short and sweet history of Abba Zaba candy bars. I can imagine all this talk about taffy and creamy peanut butter has you craving some Abba Zaba for your sweet tooth. Well, guess what, we have some right here for you in our digital aisles.

Go ahead and grab a handful of Abba Zaba right here and we’ll ship it straight to your front door!

Stay sweet!

I have loved abba zabba candy bars for over 65 years


As I remember it…I grew up across the street from where Colby & McDermott made Abba Zaba..I personally knew McDermott, so I think that the information they have on selling dates to Carbinet Candy is Wrong, As I remember McDermott and I watched the Dodgers when they were playing in the Coliseum and pretty sure that was either 1958/59 I was doing some cleaning work upstairs of the factory where Mac Lived, and he told me to stop and come and watch the dodgers
Now as far as I knew they were still making candy at that time there on 12th Street in Los Angeles

Gary O'Dell

I’d like to try some when I get some money

Aimee Reimers

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