In the 1880’s, candy companies were trying to create candies with an agricultural theme, due to the fact that half of the labor force was made up of farmers. Candy corn is a innovation of the three colors used for pumpkin, turnip, and chestnut candies.
Employee of Wunderle Candy Company, George Renninger, in Philadelphia was said to be inventor of candy corn. According to the National Confectioners Association, Wunderle was the first company to sell these treats. However the Jelly Belly Candy Company, then the Goelitz Candy Company, was the one who popularized Candy Corn, which they called “Chicken Feed.” This is because before WWI, Americans thought of corn as food for chickens not people.
In the beginning of the 20th century, children loved to buy candy corn as “penny candy” because they could buy these treats in bulk for cheap. Candy corn didn’t become solely associated with Halloween until the 1950’s, when there was a dramatic spike in October advertising. At the time, it cost just 25 cents per pound.
Candy Corn is actually one of the healthiest- or least unhealthy- Halloween candies available. This fat free candy is only 140 calories per handful with just 28 grams of sugar. Another plus is that the candy lasts a very long time. Unopened, candy corn will last nine months. If opened, it will last up to six months.
Candy Corn is made from a mixture of sugar, corn syrup, fondant, vanilla, and marshmallow crème. All these ingredients are then melted into a liquid, colored, and molded. The final product is actually polished with an edible wax, creating an irresistible shine.
Candy corn is made in all different colors throughout the year.
- During Thanksgiving, candy corn is known as Indian corn. The colors are brown, orange, and white.
- At Christmastime, the candy comes in green, white, and red.
- Valentine’s Day’s Cupid Corn is pink, red, and white.
- The Bunny Corn of Easter comes in a variety of pastel colors.
According to the National Confectioners Association, over 17,000 tons, or 35 million pounds, or 9 billion pieces of candy corn are produced every year. This fact may come as a surprise given that only 50% of consumers actually enjoy the taste of candy corn!
Fun Fact: National Candy Corn Day is October 30.