Did you know a Sheffield student invented Jelly Tots by mistake?

Dr Boffey invented Jelly Tots.
Dr Boffey invented Jelly Tots.
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Did you know that Jelly Tots were invented by a Sheffield University student by mistake?

The sweet treats which have been wolfed down by generations of youngsters were created by accident - and we've got a former University of Sheffield student to thank for them.

The sweets were a by product of Dr Boffey's research.

The sweets were a by product of Dr Boffey's research.

Dr Brian Boffey, who graduated from The University of Sheffield in 1959, came up with the sweets while working for confectionery giant Rowntree's in the early 1960s - but the discovery was actually a happy accident.

He first first came to the Steel City in 1956 to undertake a BSc in Chemistry and completing a PhD in the subject in 1959.

And when the York based sweet firm contacted the University looking for experts, Dr Boffey's name was put forward and he went off to become a research scientist.

It was during his time at Rowntrees that he inadvertently invented the humble Jelly Tot.

Dr Boffey studied at the University in the 1950s.

Dr Boffey studied at the University in the 1950s.

He was 28 at the time and was trying to develop a way to produce a powdered jelly that set instantly when it was added to cold water.

After much experimentation, he deemed the research to be a failure but the consequence of the experiment were tiny droplets which he initially considered to be collateral damage.

Flavour and colour were added to those droplets and within weeks they were being sold across the country.

Brian commented: "I’m not sure if you have children but you’ll find that to keep them quiet, a little bag of jelly tots goes a long way - although I’m actually more partial to a slab of chocolate myself!”

But despite his Jelly Tot invention, Dr Boffey never pocketed a penny. In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post he said: "Rowntrees were very good to me and I certainly don't mind not having been recognised as the man who invented Jelly Tots at the time."

Rowntrees were then approached by NASA to help with the process of freeze drying food for the Apollo space mission so Dr Boffey was sent to Chicago.

They succeeded in their objective, however, Dr Boffey said: ‘It didn’t taste very nice but it gave them the nutrients that they needed!"