Leo Hirshfeld

Tootsie is a chocolate candy that has been manufactured in the United States since 1896. The manufacturer, Tootsie Roll Industries, is based in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1896 its founder Leo Hirshfeld, an Austrian immigrant to the United States of America, started his candy business in a small shop located in New York City. He wanted a chewy candy that would not melt easily in the heat, and would be an economical artificial alternative to traditional chocolates. He named the candy after the nickname of his daughter, Clara “Tootsie” Hirshfeld. By 1905, production moved to a five-story factory. In 1917, the name of the company was changed to The Sweets Company of America, and the business became a listed company in 1922. In 1931, the Tootsie Pop—a lollipop with Tootsie Roll filling—was invented. Its low price made it popular in the Depression era. During World War II, Tootsie Rolls became a standard part of American soldiers’ field rations, due to the hardiness of the candy under a variety of environmental conditions.

It was the first penny candy to be individually wrapped. The current U.S. ingredients of a chocolate Tootsie Roll are: sugar, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil (a trans fat), condensed skim milk, cocoa, whey, soy lecithin, and natural and artificial flavors.In 2009, Tootsie Rolls became certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.