Where Did Junk Food Come From?

"Junk food" is a term we use to describe snack foods that and full of calories and sugar and/or fat but has little  to no nutritional value (yes, we are talking about that bag of chips you probably have open on your desk right now) — baked goods, candy bars, and other salty snacks.

Where Did Junk Food Come From? (Slideshow)

Today, junk food is popular the world over, from Israel 's Cheetos-like Bamba to Peru's Doña Pepe, a chocolate cookie doused in sprinkles. We recently published an article callked This is What Junk Food Looks Like Around the World, and our research got us thinking: Exactly where did junk food come from in the first place? 

Unsurprisingly, its origins trace themselves back to our own country, where two brothers selling a delicious concoction of popcorn, peanuts, and molasses at the Chicago World Fair might well have invented the genre.

Since then, the junk food wheel of creation has continued to spin, churning out everything from chocolate bars and corn chips to today's creations of cake pops or yogurt-covered pretzels (and no, just because they are covered in yogurt does not mean they are healthy). 

Here are the stories behind some of the world's most popular junk food.

Cracker Jack: 1893

It all began in 1893, when two vendors – brothers Frederick and Louis Rueckheim – at the World's Fair in Chicago made a concoction of popcorn, peanuts, and molasses that was wildly popular. A few years later, in 1896, their sweet invention went on to become sold commercially as Cracker Jack. Twenty years after it was created, Cracker Jack became the best–selling sweet in the world.

Hershey Chocolate Bar: 1900

We could recognize the wrapper the world over. After a couple of years of experimenting in chocolate making, Milton S. Hershey created and introduced what he decided to call a chocolate bar around the 1900s. From that point forward, Hershey Chocolate became the country's largest chocolate manufacturing company.