F. Hoffman & Company created Milk Duds in 1926. According to a representative at Leaf, Inc., who now owns the brand, the original idea was for Milk Duds to be perfectly round. But because of the consistency of the product, Holloway couldn’t achieve his goal. The non-uniform, homely, bite-sized pieces resisted any attempts to match the pristine spherical conception. Some anonymous visionary at the candy company thought of “dud” to describe the odd shape. And the “Milk” was added because from the start, the candy was loaded with milk.
Originally, the word “dud” was applied to a bomb or shell that didn’t explode. Now it is ascribed to just about anything that is worthless. Milk Duds might be the only food product to attain success by trumpeting its imperfection on every package it sells.
(Submitted by Heidi Zimmerman of San Diego, California)