This post has actually been a long time in the making. Ever since I started Mid-Century Menu, I have wanted to have a Jell-O flavor timeline on the blog, but I could never nail down the dates well enough to feel comfortable with my information. Part of the problem was the fact that early on, Jell-O production changed hands a lot until they were acquired by General Foods in the 1930s. And General Foods is only able to give information from when they started making Jell-O, not from before.
But now, thanks to the wonderful research done by The Jell-O Gallery Museum, I am actually able to put a timeline together!
Isn’t it marvelous? I have been collecting images of Jell-O packaging for a while, but my collection got a huge bump after I visited the museum. I have some pretty good examples for the timeline if I do say so myself. Feel free to share it as many places as you like, just please credit the site and refrain from editing the timeline.
Also, if you have any additional images of flavors or Jell-O packaging, please feel free to share! I don’t want this project to be over, so I’m hoping people out there will have more than what I have!
And, if you like lots of detail, here it is all typed out!!
The Timeline of Jell-O Flavors From 1897 to 1997
1897 – The original four Jell-O gelatin flavors were raspberry, strawberry, lemon, and orange.
1904 – Cherry and chocolate flavors are introduced.
1907 – Introduction of peach flavor. (1907-1918)
1918 – Coffee flavor is introduced, but only in certain regions.
1930 – Lime flavor is introduced, accompanied by a recipe book.
1942 – Cola flavor is available, but is discontinued by the end of the year.
1955 – Apple flavor is available.
1956 – Three “deep, dark and delicious” flavors, black cherry, grape, and black raspberry are introduced.
1961-1965 – A variety of fruit flavors are introduced, including blackberry, orange-banana, lemon-lime, strawberry-banana, and pineapple-grapefruit. In addition, two “salad” flavors are available: celery and mixed vegetable.
1965 – Seasoned tomato and Italian salad are available.
1965 – Mr. Wiggle, and artificially sweetened gelatin for children, is introduced.
1968 – Wild strawberry, wild raspberry, and wild cherry are introduced.
1969 – Jell-O 1-2-3 offered for a brief time and reintroduced in 1989 and discontinued in 1996.
1975 – Peach flavor returns.
1978 – Apricot is added to the list.
1978 – Blackberry is reintroduced.
1992 – Introduced Berry Blue.
1993 – Introduced Watermelon.
1994 – Cranberry is introduced and grape is reintroduced.
1995 – Introduced cranberry-strawberry and cranberry raspberry.
1996 – Introduced island pineapple and peach passion fruit.
1997 – Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Jell-O, Sparkling White Grape, “the Champagne of Jell-O” is introduced.
So, that’s it so far! I hope you all enjoyed it because I had fun making it! Oh, and if anyone has a picture of Cranberry Jell-O boxes from the late ’90s, I could totally use a picture!
This is great, Ruth! I grew up in the 60s and 70s, so Jell-O was a constant. Seeing the 1-2-3 really takes me back. It sticks out in my memory as being one of the oddest things I’ve ever eaten. Not good, not bad. Just…odd. There was also an offshoot either by Jell-O or a competitor that had chocolate and vanilla pudding with a truly hideous hard chocolate shell on top.
I am soooo happy to see this! I have spent more than one afternoon clicking around on Google trying to figure out when specific flavors of Jell-O were available. Now I know where to go for a definitive history!
I love this! My husband and I were just reminiscing about Jello 1-2-3 the other night. We both remember our mothers making it. But…vegetable-flavored Jello? and chocolate Jello? Ugh.
That poke cake seems like a fun, easy recipe to try! Since the Jell-O cookies turn out pretty good, I bet that’s not bad at all.
Also, Mr. Wiggle is a cute mascot! Sugar-free Jell-O should still use him, if you ask me. 😉
I think I remember that Peach Creme thing from the 70s. I still think it’s one of Jello’s prettiest. The stripes in the pretty-in-the-ad blackberry dessert were impossible to duplicate, and the “white” layer wasn’t. That one was just a frustrating mess.
Anyway, I always liked pudding better.
Do they still make the sparkling grape? That was really good.
there great but its harder to get right than people say…. its like a fruit flavored marbled cake
Those “salad” flavors sound disgusting ….. although chocolate jello is curious.. but it being made in the 1890s …. id try it just to say I did …..
I came for “the champagne of Jello”, and I was not disappointed! I loved the sparkling white grape! This timeline is a fantastic achievement. Thanks for putting it together!
We used to make the Poke cake all the time. It IS good. I think I remember that a fork didn’t really work, and we switched to poking the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.
PS. I just now noticed that I keep referring to “we.” That would be my three sisters and me (and occasionally our brother).
Coffee Jell-o was introduced to meet an already existing market. Coffee was one of the few strong flavorings that could be added to unflavored gelatin without really necessitating any other changes to the recipe. So people had been making coffee-flavored gelatin for decades by the time Jell-o saw that there was a market for it and started producing it themselves.
I’m not sure what regions coffee Jell-o was first introduced in, but I learned about homemade coffee gelatin as a New England thing. I picked up this lore at the Durgin-Park restaurant (which, after continuous operation since around 1827, unfortunately closed in January). The food there was good but no spectacular, and they took pride on the menu being basically unchanged since around 1900. The service was also notable; the seating was at long trestle tables, and the servers known for being pushy. If you complained about cutting your prime rib, a waitress might just grab your plate and cut the meat up for you.
This is amazing! I’m so jealous of your visit to this museum. #goals
Cranberry jello is the main star in my favorite thanksgiving jello. There is a picture in my recipe post but it’s not very good. Feel free to use it is you want to. https://hugskissesandsnot.com/cranberry-orange-spiced-jello-salad/
I think the flavors of the past I would most like to try would be Cola and Apple. The flavor that sounds worst to me is Chocolate. I checked the Jello website to see what their current flavors are and Fruit Punch sounds really good.
Do you know when Jello Jigglers became a thing? I just remember they were really popular when I was about 10 in the early 90’s.
DURGIN PARK CLOSED?!?! I was born in PA but grew up in New England (and lived in Boston for a few years while I was in college – I live in NYC now) and remember walking by that place countless times. I’d always think, “I should really eat there one day.” And now I can’t. *sigh*
Is coffee-flavoured stuff a New England thing? I remember seeing coffee ice cream ALL THE TIME when I lived there (I never liked it) but now that I live elsewhere it is actually kind of hard to find.
I need to go straight home and take photos for you! My kids mock me for my Jello box collection (yes, ok, most do have vintage 90s jello powder still in them) but I know I have at least one flavor you don’t have listed.
I’m quite excited you’re on top of this. I always thought it would be fun to recreate the period boxes. It’s tough to find images of every side of the boxes though.
Chrissy!!! That is so awesome!! I can’t wait. Yes, I would love anything you have. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise we can go through Google Drive share if you don’t want to email everything.
I had to laugh a little at the Sparkling White Grape Jell-O, as I haven’t seen it in a number of years. My mother had surgery and could only eat clear liquids that were not colored red, purple, or blue for a few days, so she bought a large quantity of that flavor since it was relatively clear. 3 days of the “Champagne of Jell-O” was enough for her. To this day she cannot stand the taste of anything that is “White Grape”.
If I check my stash of Jell-O-bilia, I believe I still have the 100th Anniversary ring mold which was a giveaway with X number of boxes of Sparkling White Grape. And the accompanying recipe hangtag. I’ll send photos!
Loved this post! I don’t have any Jell-O memorabilia — it went with my parents’ estate sale. If I had only known you back then. I have lots of stories revolving around jelled creations, though. Good, bad, and really, really ugly. 😉 (We had those salad flavors in our cupboard.)
This is awesome!!! And the Jell-O Museum is so fun! I wrote my Master’s thesis on Jell-O, and I made a tomato aspic in a salmon mold with celery scales and olive eyes to serve at my defense. A brave few tried it 🙂
So cool, Erin! Total props for the salmon mold!!
I’m impressed, and intrigued: what was your major?!
American Studies with a food studies focus
I wish I could remember how long ago it was, but there was cocktail flavored Jello for a short time. I remember margarita and pina colada specifically. Wish I had bought it!!!
I found a box of the Pina Colada gelatin in my pantry! “Best by” 2017, oops. It was produced by Jel Sert (a competitor of Jell-o) under the “Margaritaville” brand name. I’ll make it tonight, it’s probably still viable. Maybe. I hope.
Nice!!! Any flavor notes or interesting ingredients listed would be awesome to help us recreate it!
I was always surprised that they never made a “fruit cocktail” flavor. It would make sense, lots of people add fruit cocktail or any mixed fruit to Jell-O. Maybe it will happen in my lifetime, we’ll just have to wait and see.
What happened to mixed fruit jello?
I’m with you on the chocolate jell-O. And coffee? Bleah. But I sort of get the vegetable – tomato aspic was a staple of my Mom’s ladies’ luncheons in the 50’s and 60’s!
I love jello. It’s a tasty way to get extra collagen into my diet, and so I’ve become fascinated with old retro recipes. I’m so disappointed they don’t make the savory flavors anymore. Can you come up with a way to recreate those old flavors with unflavored gelatin? Please? They all sound so good! I am especially interested in a clear tomato gelatin for salads, regular tomato aspic is cloudy and I want my shrimp and vegetables floating in the clear red gelatin. The coffee jello also sounds really good, I want them to make it again.