Ever wonder where candy corn comes from?
With Halloween around the corner, we’ve been diving into the history of some of this holiday’s iconic treats and next on the list is candy corn.
This tri-colored treat has always been associated with Halloween, but for what reason? We wanted to find out so we did some digging and found some rather interesting facts about the history of candy corn.
Check them out!
Who invented candy corn?
Let’s go back to the 1880s when confectionery companies were experimenting with new types of candy including the famous mellocreme. Mellocreme is a mixture of corn syrup, food coloring, honey, and sugar that is beaten and heated in large kettles to produce an ultra-sweet syrup that can be molded into any shape.
This creamy and rich texture was something that mimicked the feel of chocolate but had the sweet taste of honey and sugar that people loved in hard candy. The best part about it was that you could put the liquid mellocreme into a mold to create any sugary shape you wanted out of the candy, including corn.
The person credited with creating candy corn in the first place is George Renninger, an employee from the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, PA. While most confectionery companies were making mellocreme shapes at this time, his company was the first to layer different colors of corn.
Why is candy corn called candy corn?
At this time, over 50% of the U.S. workforce was farmers living in rural parts of the United States, and confectionery companies wanted a way to target them as customers. Hence, they molded their mellocreme mixtures into pumpkins, gourds, corn, turnips, and other agricultural products that were common amongst potential consumers.
People were immediately drawn to the fall color combination they had never seen before and quickly candy corn was becoming a popular item amongst candy lovers.
This caught the attention of the Goelitz Candy Company (now known as Jelly Belly) in 1898 where they then picked up the recipe and started marketing it as “Chicken Feed”. With the backing of a major confectionery brand candy corn skyrocketed on the sales charts selling year around under term penny candy.
The history of candy corn.
In the early 20th century “penny candy” was the candy you’d find in the big barrels in your local candy shop. These candies were incredibly cheap and could be bought in bulk and carried around by kids.
As a penny candy, candy corn was eaten by most farmer kids and adults year round because Halloween was still a growing tradition in the U.S., hence people craved it all the time.
In the early 1950s, confectionery companies started bulking up their marketing budgets and pushing products like candy corn during specific seasons, one of which was Halloween.
Obviously, Halloween is one of the most popular candy holidays of the year so you can imagine how candy corn inserted its name into the mix rather convincingly and started to gain massive seasonal attraction.
Once candy corn was brought mainstream on the Halloween scene, it became a staple at parties and in trick-or-treat bags across the entire country.
The great debate about candy corn.
There’s been a long-winded debate about candy corn and whether it is actually good or not. Some say that it’s just a nostalgia play for people that love Halloween. They claim it’s an old candy that grandparents have kept alive for generations because it is so closely associated with childhood and Halloween and therefore, people still consume it.
Others say the candy is outdated and should be shelved permanently for better-tasting treats. But the reality is that candy corn sales are holding strong averaging around 35 million lbs of production every single year.
Yeah, you read that correctly: 35 million pounds of candy corn.
Brach’s, the largest producer of candy corn in the United States estimates that it crafted roughly 3 billion pieces of candy corn in 2019, making almost $73 million on the product alone. If that doesn’t tell you candy corn is still kicking, just look at the viral TikTok video of corn kid, and you’ll realize it’s not going anywhere any time soon.
We also forgot to mention the fact that 5 states (Alabama, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and South Carolina) put candy corn at the top of the favorite Halloween candy list too—talk about some serious cravings.
How do you eat your candy corn?
Although it would be quite interesting to watch people eat candy corn the same way they eat regular corn, there is a technique to eating candy corn. Or at least some would say that.
In a survey done by the National Confectioners Association, they found that 33% of people eat candy corn layer by layer instead of eating it all in one bite. That’s a third of people who eat candy corn basically saying they prefer to eat it like an animal in the woods, taking small bites one at a time.
Nonetheless, candy corn’s popularity is only growing with the day before Halloween being deemed National Candy Corn Day—which just so happens to also be Sugar Awareness Day.
Ironic? We thought so too.
Grab yourself some candy corn for the weekend!
There you have it, the sweet history of candy corn and why everyone’s sweet tooth comes calling for it during Halloween.
Now what are you waiting for?
The classic fall taste of candy corn is waiting for you in our digital aisles and you can get it right now for a special price. Check out all the flavors right here and we’ll ship them straight to your front door.