Goo Goo Clusters are a particular Nashville treat. They were created accidentally in 1912 by Howell Campbell Sr. and Porter Moore at the Standard Candy Company that was located at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville. Campbell, who was the founder of the company, prided himself on using only quality ingredients to supply Nashville with great chocolates and confections, and he was simply testing new ingredients when everything seemed to click. The little drops of milk chocolate, peanuts, caramel, and marshmallows are considered the first combination candy bar in existence, and the recipe has not changed significantly from the day they were invented.
The melty clusters were originally hand-dipped and sold under counters in Nashville stores before they began wrapping them in tin-foil. The current packaging continues the tradition of silver foil, and Goo Goo clusters are now shipped around the world. The Goo Goo name has a few explanations, but the legend says a school teacher on the same streetcar as Campbell suggested it because “It’s so good, people will ask for it from birth.”
They were also marketed as a "Nourishing Lunch for a Nickel," and were sold throughout the Nashville area. Campbell’s son, Howell Campbell Jr., eventually merged his company, Huggins Candy Company, with his father’s Standard Candy Company, and made them the largest candy corporation in Nashville. He also made the Goo Goo Clusters a sponsor of the Grand Ole Oprey, increasing the candy’s reach and making it a household brand. Goo Goo Clusters are now available with the original combination of peanuts, or one with pecans known as the Supreme Goo Goo Clusters, as well as a Peanut Butter Goo Goo Cluster.
The candy company was purchased by another father and son combo, but the Goo Goo Cluster did not change. It will always be a Nashville treat, a sweet taste of home for Southerners. They now make over 75,000 clusters a day, shipping them around America.