On Halloween 2022, a photograph of Claussen “pickle candy corn” was shared to Facebook by The Big Dill (@worldslargestpickleparty):
In an appended status update, The Big Dill wrote: “Honestly i’m cornflicted.” The image did not link to any related information, and the post was shared tens of thousands of times.
For additional context, the standard honey-and-butter-flavored, waxy confection popularly known as “candy corn” was a divisive topic on (and off) social media in October and November of any year. KnowYourMeme.com maintained an entry titled “The Candy Corn Debate,” which summarized the annual candy corn discussion:
The Candy Corn Debate refers to the online discussion about whether or not the seasonal confection candy corn tastes good. Coinciding with Halloween, candy corn is often the subject of memes, with many expressing how they’re disgusted by it or how they feel it’s the worst candy ever made.
Pickles accumulated similar debates of sorts, with two August 2022 articles about pickle-flavored food items. Mashed.com’s “Sonic Is Bringing Back A Controversial Slushy Flavor” heralded the return of pickle juice slushes at Sonic, while FastCompany.com’s “What’s behind America’s pickle craze?” examined the rise of pickle flavored everything.
That excerpt conspicuously mentioned pickle ice cream, pickle cotton candy, and pickle marshmallows, and Claussen’s pickle candy corn would have fit the theme of the article well — but it wasn’t mentioned:
Move over bacon and ranch dressing. There’s a new hot flavor in town.
A pickle craze is sweeping the nation, with dill pickle toppings and seasonings in such high demand that they’re appearing on popcorn, chewing gum, seeds, and nuts.
The pickle obsessed can now order a pickle pizza with a side of pickle potato chips and wash it down with a pickle beer.
Need dessert? Choose from pickle cotton candy, pickle ice cream, and pickle marshmallows. Or you can head over to your local Sonic Drive-In and order a Pickle Juice Slush.
Yet for all the hoopla, pickles remain an acquired taste that some are never able to appreciate. Part of the reason may be rooted in your personality. But if you’re able to get over that initial aversion, pickles can become perfect complement to any dish.
Google Trends data indicated “Breakout” levels of interest in Claussen pickle candy for the seven-day period ending November 2 2022. Popular searches included “Claussen candy corn, ” “Claussen candy pickles,” and “pickle candy corn.”
Claussen’s verified Twitter account shared the image on October 21 2021, a year before the viral Facebook post circulated:
At the first glance, it appeared the @ClaussenPickles account was responding to users asking where to buy the item. But a closer look at the thread indicated the queries and responses occurred months after the tweet appeared, and seemingly only had to do with Claussen brand pickles.
Claussen did not have a dedicated website; a sparse sub-domain on Kraft’s myfoodandfamily.com was the closest thing available. Its two clickable buttons (for “pickles” and “recipes”) either did not work or led to an error page, and the site lacked a search function.
TinEye Reverse Image Search returned a total of seventeen matches for the image in The Big Dill’s Facebook post, the oldest from 2015 and the newest from 2021. All but two of the matches (the newest two) depicted a stock image of candy corn — not a branded jar with a “Claussen’s candy pickles” label.
A Google search for “Claussen ‘pickle candy'” returned a scant 25 results, none of which involved any brand of pickle candy corn. No alternate images of the purported pickle candy appeared anywhere on social media, nor did anyone claim to have obtained or sampled the product.
The Claussen’s pickle candy corn image was apparently a mockup. It was not immediately clear if Claussen created the image or simply shared it, but we found no iterations of the image before the tweet, and no searches we did turned up product listings (active or inactive) evidencing the existence or sale of the candy.