Sweet rationing in WWII

Jars of traditional sweets on shelves

A great deal of Britain’s resources were placed on ration throughout WWII and beyond. As German forces targeted ships importing food and other goods, measures were put in place to ensure everyone got their fair share.

General rationing started on 8 January 1940 just a few months after war broke out.

Sweet and chocolate rationing started on 26 July 1942, only finishing 5 February 1953. The amount of sugar and therefore sweets which you were allowed fluctuated during the war, ranging from 16oz a month down to 8oz (227g) a month. Amongst the popular sweets you could get in your local sweet shop were lemon sherbets, flying saucers, barley sugar twists, liquorice, jelly babies, Fry’s chocolate creams, pear drops and cola cubes.

The goverment began the process of de-rationing after 8 years.

Some items continued to be on ration until 1954. On the day of derationing, toffee apples, sticks of nougat and liquorice strips were the best sellers. Some companies were even giving out free sweets to children at lunch time to mark the occasion. As a consequence of the end of rationing, spending on sweets grew by £1000m in the first year. Consumers now spend in excess of £5.5 billion.