Flying Saucers have been a popular sweet since their invention in the 1950s, and the unique confectionary has been enjoyed by many generations since then. Indeed, the joyous memory of buying a bag of Flying Saucers from the local sweet shop, stirs up nostalgia for many people over a certain age. But the reason for their invention will surprise you!
The company that invented Flying Saucers, Belgica, was experiencing a decline in sales for its communion wafers, which were used during the religious ceremony, in churches across the country. At this time, developments in technology (especially space exploration) created a surge in the popularity of sci-fi movies about outer space and alien beings, with classics including The Day The Earth Stood Still and It Came From Outer Space.
With people swapping church for Sci-fi, this left Belgica with a stockpile of rice paper, so they came up with the idea of creating UFO shapes from the rice paper, dying them in pretty colours and then filling them with a sweet powder (which is sherbet in the UK). They became an instant hit, and by the 1960s, the sweet had become popular in the United Kingdom, too.
Their shape resembles the iconic spheroid or disc-shaped spaceship (UFO) from the old sci-fi movies (particularly the 50s B-movies) and also the shape often described by UFO spotters.
The term 'flying saucer' was first used in 1947, when the pilot of a private aeroplane reported seeing nine strange objects moving at speed across the sky ‘like a saucer skipping on water’.
Called UFO's in Belgium, the confectionary has different names in different countries, and are named Flying Saucers in the UK and Satelite Wafers in the U.S. In some areas they are called Discos.
It's not just the novelty Sci-fi theme that has ensured the sweet has remained popular to this day, but also the fact that people enjoy the unique taste experience of Flying Saucers. The rice paper melting in your mouth, leaving the sweet and delicious, tingly sherbet on your tongue is very enjoyable.
Belgica is now owned by Astra Sweets, who still manufacture the popular UFO sweets in four varieties; Pearl, Fruit, Citric and Cola. The Pearl variety contains tiny balls of sherbet.
I guess, we should literally thank the Lord for Flying Saucer sweets, or rather, the decline in the popularity of people visiting church to worship the Gods!
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These feature the traditional, sherbet-filled wafer discs in a purple colour, and with the unique fruity taste of Vimto fizzy pop. They are made by Nicholls PLC in Merseyside, England. Vimto itself was established in 1908. Quick Video Review
I hope that you enjoyed discovering the history of the retro sweet. You may also like our post The Explosive History of Popping Candy