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Idaho Life, Spud bar edition: The candy bar that made Idaho famous

The Idaho Candy Company on 8th Street has been churning out these tasty spuds for over 100 years. We got an inside look at the company's Boise plant.

BOISE, Idaho — Nothing says Idaho like an Idaho Spud (bar).

The iconic candy found in most Idaho grocery stores and gas stations is made to look like, what else, a potato.

At its plant on 8th Street in downtown Boise, the Idaho Candy Company has been cranking out these confections since 1909, long before there were national candy companies.

T.O. Smith, a journeyman candymaker, first opened the company in 1901.

In 1984, the Wagers family bought it.

"We made almost all the candy for the area, so when you go into a store you would see all the candy bars, they would all be Idaho Candy candy bars," Idaho Candy Company president Dave Wagers said. "You would maybe have a Hershey milk and a Mars bar and a (pack) of Wrigley gum, but everything else would be Idaho Candy products."

The whipped cocoa-flavored marshmallow center covered in dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut is by far their best seller.

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While some new machinery has been installed in the warehouse, not much else has changed since 1909, including the recipe.

Whether you love them or hate them, the Spud bar is more about nostalgia than it's ingredients.

"We are an old, nostalgic candy company," Wagers said. "In some ways we sell stories. We connect people back to Idaho. We connect people back to their roots. We connect people to Boise in this funny, quirky way like where else can you a candy bar that's named after a potato? Only in Idaho."

Credit: KTVB
Idaho Candy Company's plant in downtown Boise.

So just how many Spud bars are cranked out every year?

"We do a couple million Idaho Spud bars a year," Wagers said. "We do about 30,000 a day."

To put that in perspective, that's 1,200 pounds of chocolate a day and 10,000 pounds of coconut in a week.

Wagers says they ship Spud bars to 12 states and around the world, thanks to internet orders.

If you're craving an Idaho Spud bar, or one of their other candy bars, like the 'Huckleberry Gem,' or the 'Cherry Cocktail,' stop by the store on 8th Street for a free sample.

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