Every Easter Americans go to town on jelly beans, consuming around 16 billion of the small candies. It's the third most popular Easter candy — first place goes to the chocolate bunny, and second place belongs to marshmallow Peeps.
Now, thanks to a ranking from CandyStore.com, we know what each state's favorite jelly bean flavor is and the 32 most popular flavors across the nation. The company used their sales data from the past nine years and coupled it with SurveyMonkey and Facebook polls of 10,000 candy enthusiasts.
The top five flavors in the country are both surprising and not surprising: black licorice, buttered popcorn, watermelon, cherry, and cinnamon. Black licorice earning the number-one spot is alarming, considering how controversial the flavor is. Much like cilantro, people have strong feelings about licorice, which is derived from the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant.
"People either love it or hate it and, as far as I can tell, it's not a learned like or dislike," Marcia Pelchat, an associate member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, a nonprofit center that researches taste and smell, tells NBC. "I don't know a specific gene that is associated with liking and disliking licorice. [But] it does seem to be something that people are born with."
Incidentally, black licorice was one of the original eight flavors conceived by Jelly Belly in 1976 (the others were Very Cherry, Root Beer, Cream Soda, Tangerine, Green Apple, Lemon, and Grape). Ronald Reagan reportedly turned to jelly beans to quit smoking. His favorite flavor? Black licorice.
Licorice jelly beans pop up as the most popular flavor for 11 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Jersey.