Jelly babies are a type of soft confectionery that look like little babies in a variety of colours. They are very popular in the United Kingdom. There are currently several companies that make jelly babies, most predominantly Trebor Bassett (famous for their liquorice allsorts) and also Rowntree (Nestlé).
Jelly Babies were launched by Bassett's in 1919 in Sheffield as "Peace Babies" to mark the end of World War I. Production was suspended during World War II due to wartime shortages and the fact that the name had largely become ironic. In 1953 the product was relaunched as "Jelly Babies". In March 1989 Bassett's were taken over by Cadbury Schweppes who had earlier acquired the Trebor brand.
Jelly Babies manufactured in the United Kingdom tend to be dusted in starch which is left over from the manufacturing process where it is used as a mould. Jelly Babies of Australian manufacture generally lack this coating.
Each Bassett's Jelly Baby now has an individual name and shape, colour and flavour: Brilliant (red - strawberry), Bubbles (yellow - lemon), Baby Bonny (pink - raspberry), Boofuls (green - lime), Bigheart (purple - blackcurrant) and Bumper (orange). The introduction of different shapes and names was a new innovation, circa 1989, prior to which all colours of jelly baby were a uniform shape.
Jelly Babies are similar in appearance to Gummi bears, which are better known outside of the United Kingdom.
According to the Marvel comics Doctor Who issue # 21, Jelly Babies are not sold in the United States because of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulation. The FDA determined that one or more of the food colorings used in making jelly babies are carcinogenic. Therefore the importation of the confection into the United States was banned. The comic was published in 1986. This reflects jelly babies from that era.