Whether or not they enjoy the association, most Mormons will admit the cultural links between LDS members and Jell-O are obvious. But how did the two become so inseparably connected? How do Bill Cosby and the Olympics factor in? We’ve got the answers plus a few more fun facts you might not have known.
The Jell-O connection isn’t as old as you think. It may seem like Mormons have loved Jell-O for since the beginning of time, but it wasn’t until 1997 that people began associating the two together. It all began when Jell-O released a report as part of their 100th anniversary that said Salt Lake City purchased more Jell-O per capita than any other city.
It’s all in the family. It didn’t take long to figure out why sales were so high in the Mormon Corridor. In the 1990s, Jell-O was known more for Jell-O shots at frat parties than for family life. So Jell-O worked to rebrand its image, focusing on new recipes for kids (Jell-O Jigglers) and marketing to moms. With one of the highest birth rates in the country, Utah sales skyrocketed. It also helped that Jell-O keeps for a long time, which made it a staple in food storage for many members.
Jell-O is Utah’s official state snack… After only two years, Salt Lake City was edged out of the top spot by Des Moines, Iowa. Utahns were excited to claim the title back and in 2001 a resolution was passed to make Jell-O the official state snack of Utah.
…and Bill Cosby helped celebrate. As part of their re-marketing strategy, Jell-O brought in funny man Bill Cosby for their commercials. When Utah passed the resolution, Cosby came and did a free show for the Utah state Legislature.
It’s also on an Olympic Pin. For the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games, multiple collectors pins were created featuring the beloved and jiggly snack.
Today, LDS culture embraces Jell-O and now you know why.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.