Who invented Skittles? It’s a simple question with many answers. An internet search would lead you to believe they were created by either Paul Michaels and Rick Walden. Further digging proves that Paul Michaels is the current Global CEO of Mars, Inc, and Rick Walden is supposedly a worker at Mars, Inc.
Neither answer is satisfactory since Skittles “were first made commercially in 1974 by a European company.” It wasn’t until 1979 that Mars Inc, became involved with the rainbow flavored candy when they began importing it into the United States. The candy does not have American origins.
Another unlikely source states that skittles were invented by “a tiney little skittle man that actually came here from Jupitar.” Although humorous, the grammar alone discredits the candy’s alien origins.
So where do Skittles come from? Let’s start with the most credible source, Mars North America.
Mars states that “SKITTLES® Bite Size Candies were first introduced in the United States in 1974, made by a company in England. In 1982, production of SKITTLES® Bite Size Candies began in the United States.”
Does it seem strange that even the mother company doesn’t want us to know who the inventor is? I became suspicious and took a trip to London, England to do my own private investigation.
I started off at the British Library (BL) the national library of the UK. The building houses over “150 million items in all known languages and formats: books, journals, newspapers, magazines… patents, databases … and much more.” After days of digging through stacks of dusty patent files, confectioners journals, and police reports, I was able to piece together the story.
In 1971 Flavio Skitella an Italian confectioner moved to England with his family. He opened a candy store “Flavi’s Candys” where one of the most popular items was an Italian confetti candy (Jordon Almonds). This popular wedding candy is traditionally a white sugar coated almond which is thrown at the wedding couple as they leave the church to represent good fortune and money.
Soon after opening his shop, there was an almond shortage and Flavio was forced to create a recipe for the confetti’s without almonds. His new recipe was very chewy, and very cheap. Children loved them. At nearly every wedding British children could be seen crawling on the ground gathering and eating these chewy treats. They loved them.
They became so popular, that Flavio began selling the white and now also a black candy, not as Confetti, but as “Skitteles.” British children from miles around came to Flavio’s shop to get their “25 for 5 pennies” candy which they referred to as “Skittles” which was easier to pronounce.
Demand for the candy grew and Flavio and because he could produce them cheaply without almonds, he began adding new colors and new flavors. By 1973 he had replaced the original black and white “Skitteles” with lemon yellow, green lime, orange, red strawberry, and purple grape. He also embraced the children’s pronunciation and began calling them Skittles.
Demand became so high that Flavio was forced to turn his hand made creation over to a factory. Their production capabilites allowed them to put a black S on each candy, but similar to the M’s that the similarly shaped M&M’s candies had.
By 1974 the candy’s popularity had spread from England, across Europe, and by 1979 they were being exported to the United states.
Strangely, in November 1979 a police report documents that Flavio Skillete visited Mars Inc, in America to work out a distribution deal. He never returned. According to the report his body was never found and the case was closed after just 2 weeks. The only clue that was ever recovered was a letter he wrote to his wife postmakred on the day of his disappearance.
It said, “ I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, I came down here from London, England for a short meeting and I was mugged at gun point last night at the park of the hotel where we lodged all cash and documents, credit cards were stolen off me, thank God we have our life and passport.
I’ve been to the UK embassy and the Police here but they’re not helping issues at all, they asked us to wait for 3 weeks but we can’t wait till then. Our flight leaves in less than 3hrs from now and we are having problems settling the hotel bills.
The hotel manager won’t let us leave until we settle the hotel bills. I will be washing dishes, and I may never return.
P.S, The meeting went great and I gave the rights to Skittles to Mars Inc. They now own the rights to produce and market my delicious candy. Taste the Rainbow.”
It was here that I ended my investigation for fear of my life. I began receiving troubling hang up calls at my hotel room and got the sense that I was being followed. When I returned home, someone kept throwing pebbles at my bedroom window, and then some kids knocked over my garbage cans. I’m not sure if Mars had anything to do with it, but for now I’m going to say that I believe that Skittles were invented by a Tiny Skittle man from Jupiter.