We made the first sweets in February 1921, in the upstairs of a modest two-story wooden building called Marjala in Vaajakoski. The factory name was at that time Sok's candy factory, and the workforce was entirely unaccustomed to their duties, so some of the confectionery items failed at first.
In the first year we still produced 66 139 kg of successful delicacies. The most popular titles were Kumipallo-, Lotta-, Herkku and Marmeladi-delicacies.
Sweets are luxury goods, which is easy to forget if you haven’t experienced shortages. Particularly sweets were enjoyed in family celebrations. The factory in Vaajakoski started also to produce chocolate covered sweets.
The new factory was completed in 1929 and the confectionery production moved into a new era. In spite of the shortage, the 1920s and 1930s were good for the factory, also in terms of confectionery production. Perhaps in difficult times, people substituted expensive pleasure goods with delicacies. Before war-time the factory operations were still handled mainly by horses. Pictured 18 horse powers.
That meant busy times for the factory! Although they worked two shifts at the factory, the demand was too high to meet. The year that chocolate was released from rationing the factory prepared 28 different kinds of Panda chocolate boxes for Christmas.
In the early 1950´s artist Bror Zetterborg chose the sympathetic panda for the cover of Panda Pop –chocolate bars. Soon it was on the cover of all products, and as the customers also liked it, Panda was chosen as the name for the whole factory! The demand for Panda delicacies started to increase also abroad. Quality chocolate and soft licorice was also appreciated in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Austria.
The hit products in 1954 were Auto -chocolate and Panama- bar. The next year Film star -chocolate was produced. The first chewing gum product came in 1956 with a brave name Pum-Pum, which was accompanied the following year by Tipitii – chewing gum. The actual hit product was surprisingly a 5kg chocolate block.
Liqueur confections such as Easter bunnies (pictured) and many other sweets were previously prepared by hand. They were served on special occasions in the drawing rooms of homes.
We humans are in that way touching creatures, that we will be happy for a piece of chocolate and for a bite of licorice. That is why Panda stays on top of the trends, and still brings us new delights to our everyday lives. Panda sweets should be enjoyed anywhere, where a little joy is needed.
Lähde: Kauppinen, Juha: Makeaa Elämää. Oy Panda Ab 80 vuotta. Jyväskylä 2000.