This candy history blog post is brought to you courtesy of guest blogger Esther of Why’d You Eat That?
These days, candy corn is a given when it comes to Halloween. You see it at every party, in every store window display, and eat it by the handful while driving home from a really depressing day at the office only to discover stray kernels months later.
What I’m saying is candy corn has become kind of commonplace. It’s become expected, really. But that hasn’t always been the case. Candy corn used to be an exciting innovation. I know, right? Candy corn an innovation. Crazy, right? Not so much. That tri-color technology was mind-blowing.
The lil’ nibbles were invented by George Renniger, an employee of the Wunderlee Candy Company in Philadelphia. While Wunderlee is credited with being the first to sell commercially, the sale and production of candy corn is mostly attributed to Goelitz Confectionary Company. The candy corn business was started by the second generation of Goelitz candy makers in 1898. It kept the company afloat through the Great Depression and WWI and II. You may not have heard of Goelitz before. That’s because they changed their name to Jelly Belly.
At the beginning, candy corn was actually called “chicken feed.” This made sense considering in those days corn was chicken feed. People didn’t eat corn the way we do today, mainly cause it tasted icktastic. Chicken feed (the candy) had no association with Halloween or fall. It was, however, a seasonal candy due to the tedious nature of the work. Chicken feed was only available between March and November.
Candy corn was a type of “mellow cream.” A mellow cream (or mellocreme or mellowcream or mellowcreme) candy is made from corn syrup and sugar with marshmallow flavor. Goelitz originally called them butter cream candies. However, there was pressure to change the name in the 1950s since there wasn’t any actual butter in the recipe. False advertising, my friends. It shall not be tolerated.
The recipe for candy corn was simple: sugar, corn syrup, water, and other ingredients were put into massive kettles that could hold up to 45lbs of the mixture. It was cooked into a slurry and, once well blended, marshmallow and fondant were added to the kettles. This served to smooth out the texture and make the candy soft to the bite. The mixture was poured into buckets called “runners” and workers called “stringers” would walk backwards while they poured the mixture into large kernel-shaped, cornstarch molds. The workers passed over with the buckets three times, each time with a different color: white, orange, and yellow. Fun fact: candy corn is made from bottom to top. The yellow bit is the top and the white is the bottom.
Once dry, the kernels were removed from the molds and packed into wooden boxes, tubs, and cartons and shipped by wagon or train. The treat was perishable so it couldn’t travel for long periods of time. The butter cream candies were sold out of barrels in bulk candy and drug stores and became so popular that other companies tried emulating them. Rival companies made turnips, four leaf clovers, chestnuts, and other natural shapes, but those were nothing compared to the revolutionary tri-color candy corn.
In the 1940s, candy companies began making use of “family sized” clear cellophane bags, the better to keep candy fresh while still allowing consumers to see what was inside. It was important to continue showing off the three colors but now Goelitz could ship the candy farther than before.
In the 1900s, the demand for the tiny treat increased so much that Goelitz had to actually turn down orders. They didn’t have the production capacity to keep up with its popularity. That changed over the years and in 1951, the Goelitz Company had 12 factories around the country making candy corn. After WWII, candy corn was advertised as a Halloween candy and since then you can’t have Halloween without the candy corn.
And there you have it. A short history of candy corn. Now go impress your co-workers at the company Halloween party.
Bibliography for Candy Corn:
-”The Food Timeline–Halloween Food History: Traditions, Party Menus & Trick- or-treat.” Food Timeline: Food History & Vintage Recipes. Ed. Lynne Olver. 28 Oct. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.
-”Fun Facts About Candy Corn – Candy and Chocolate – NCA.” NCA – National Confectioners Association. National Confectioners Association. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.
-”Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, Inc. Fun Facts and FAQs.” Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company Home Page. Farley’s & Sathers Candy Company, 07 Mar. 2008. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.
-Huget, Jennifer L. “The Chemistry of Candy Corn.” The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 28 Oct. 2011. Web. 28 Oct. 2011.
-Watson, Stephanie. “What is candy corn and how is it made?” 29 September 2006. HowStuffWorks.com. 28 October 2011.
-”History of Candy Corn, King of Halloween Candy.” Haunted Bay. Haunted Bay. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
-Weston, Nicole. “The History Of… Candy Corn.” Slashfood.com. The Huffington Post, 30 Oct. 2006. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
-Kawash, Samira. “Where Our Love/Hate Relationship With Candy Corn Comes From.”The Atlantic — News and Analysis on Politics, Business, Culture, Technology, National, International, and Life – TheAtlantic.com. The Atlantic, 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
-Kawash, Samira. “1951 Goelitz Candy Corn Ad.” Candy Professor. 30 Oct. 2010. Web. 29 Oct. 2011.
-“Candy Corn.” 2011. The History Channel website. Oct 28 2011, 8:08.
As candy specialists, we know a lot of things about a lot of candies, and Halloween candy is one of our specific specialties. There’s a lot you can do right when it comes to pleasing trick-or-treaters.
Unique treats, popping candies, sour powders, and candy-toy novelties are all a good bet. When in doubt, stick to the classic candy bars that are just plain yummy.
Despite good intentions, some treat-givers still manage to raise the ire of oodles of little ghouls each year. And take it from the experts – you best not mess with a gaggle of ghastly ghosts
To help you avoid troublesome tricksters, here is our list of the top 20 treats that are most likely to get your house put on the “trick” list.
- Boxes of raisins
- Popcorn balls
- Black & white peanut butter kisses
- Small boxes of cereal
- Circus peanuts
- Nuts & pretzels
- Tiny bags of chips
- Leftovers from the bingo bake sale
- Old magazines
- Expired candy
- Stale candy
- Sugar-free candy
- Fig newtons
- Pencils & erasers
- Plastic spider rings
- Plastic & paper marble games
- Mr. Goodbar – It means all the good ones were taken
When costumed critters are creeping about creating a multitude of midnight mischief, the best defense is a good offense. Send the naughtiest neighborhood knuckleheads smiling through the streets, shouting your praises.
The best way to keep the TP off your house, the post-its off your car, and your pumpkins in one piece is to earn a reputation for great treats. Sure, every Halloween brings new kinds of candy, and some of them are great. But we’ve compiled for you a list of always awesome, not-to-be-missed, change-your-costume-and-come-back-for-more candies that are tried, tested, and been proven to pass the test.
Being in the online candy business means that we get to connect with all sorts of interesting people around the world. But sometimes the best connections happen right in our own neighborhood. In constantly striving to make our site better and easier to shop, we found ourselves in need of some dietary expertise.
Enter Rebecca Gilbert… a former competitive figure skater, founder of Yummy Plants, and advocate of a whole, plant-based diet with a self-admitted sweet tooth. Rebecca was a featured speaker at the 2012 New York City Vegetarian Festival and the 2012 Vegetarian Summerfest in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She’s helped us make our new vegan candy section a reality.
Q: Rebecca, you founded Yummy Plants to help people explore a vegan diet. How did you hear about Candy Favorites?
A: Luckily both Yummy Plants and Candy Favorites are based in Pittsburgh, PA. I met Jon Prince, owner of Candy Favorites, and learned that he was building a vegan candy section. I must admit that I began to drool a bit at the thought of my favorite vegan candies… all available in one easy place!!!
Q: You’ve mentioned that Yummy Plants is a community to help people discover a plant-based life – what do you offer your community members?
A: We actually just re-launched the site with a focus on the community aspect of Yummy Plants. Since its creation, we have offered vegan recipes, health and nutrition tips, vegan-friendly restaurants, product reviews, and lifestyle articles like interviews, and entertaining. As part of the re-launch, we just added a special “New? Start here!” section to help new vegans get started. Now we also offer our community members the opportunity to create profiles and connect with other vegans all around the world. It’s really valuable to new vegans and all community members to be able to ask questions, to get answers, and to have people share what works for them.
Q: What made you start Yummy Plants?
A: I remembered how overwhelming it was when I first switched to a vegan diet – and I wanted to make the path easier for anyone else to follow. My goal is to show people how easy (and yummy!) it can be to follow a vegan diet: at home, at work, and out on the town. We have a whole section called the Yummy Plants 101 to help people make a vegan diet workable in their lives.
Q: What made you decide to become a vegan?
A. It was a very roundabout story. I was a serious competitive figure skater. One day in college, my knee completely gave out. I went to many specialists and surgeons. I tried everything western medicine had to offer: cortisone, physical therapy, and eventually surgery. To my dismay, nothing worked. For about 5 years I lived in constant pain and a very debilitated state… hardly being able to walk on flat surfaces and absolutely unable to walk up and down stairs. I read about a Scandinavian study where the experimental group went vegan for six months and reported a significant reduction in their arthritic knee pain. The very next day I went vegan – and within five weeks I had healed so completely that I returned to the ice!
Q: Now that the Yummy Plants community is almost two years old, what are your plans for the site?
A: My vision is to connect people on a global level. Yummy Plants started as a place of unity on the Internet to help a community of new vegans, and it has grown to become a place of compassion and support to all people who are looking for more information about a vegan diet and how to implement it in their lives.
Teaming up with author and blogger Kate Hopkins has been a sweet experience indeed. We received some of the greatest candy stories ever as part of this contest. It’s amazing — candy really does tug at the heartstrings and preserve memories for a great many of us. Thank you for all of your anecdotes about what candy means to you.
Another thing that creates great memories is winning! So let’s get to it.
The winners of our Sweet Tooth Contest and their prizes are:
Signed Copy of Sweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy
- Donna Huff
- Natalie J Vandenberghe
- Marianne Tucker
- Marissa Stapleton
- Al Pittman
5 Pounds of Retro Americana Candy
- Dianna Yearout
Our thanks again to everyone who submitted a candy story.
Winners will receive an email to arrange delivery of their prizes.
It’s easy to overlook amongst the sweet corn, watermelon, and barbecue of summer, but Patriotic Candy is an integral part of the American tradition. As July 4th approaches, make sure to stick a pin in all your colorful ideas for later this year.
Executive Jelly Beans
One of the most incredible stories in American candy history is that of the Blueberry Jelly Belly.
When he was governor of California, Ronald Reagan developed quite a love for pectin jelly beans. Around the time of Reagan’s inauguration, Jelly Bellies only came in red, yellow, white, orange, and black. The Blueberry Jelly Belly was formulated specifically to match the red, white, and blue color scheme of the celebration!
During his time as President, Jelly Bellies were a standard part of doing national business. President Reagan kept a jar of them on his desk, and he even sent some to space as a surprise for the astronauts!
Show Your Colors
It may not be election time yet, but after a sweltering summer, November will be here before you know it. Plan an election party in advance so you and your friends can look forward to some solidarity in being either completely overjoyed or woefully, bitterly disappointed. No matter the color of your state or your side of the aisle, we have fun candies that will show where you stand.
Our Republican and Democrat buttermints are emblazoned with the logos of their respective parties. When things get ugly, it’s much more fun and friendly to whip candies at your enemies than to start slinging mud. After all, you are the one hosting this party, right?
Mix and Match
When it comes to red, white, and blue candy combinations, the possibilities are endless. You can put together a candy buffet or decorate your desserts with patriotic pearls. To see all the options in this Democratic Republic rainbow, check out our candy by color sections.
It proved to be a real winner for me because the Licorice was great and I would separate the little square one’s to make the candy last longer as Thirty days was a long time to wait for the next ration
My favorite was the pink and yellow round ones with the coconut on the outside and licorice center.
Yes, I still separate the little square ones.
Hello, all you fans of retro candy and sugary sweets! We need your help! CandyFavorites.com is one of just 100 Pittsburgh area companies to be accepted into the local round of Social Madness.
Let’s cut to the chase – we want your votes!
This nationwide social media competition pits companies all over the U.S. against each other to hash out who has the most social media prowess. The contest will take place in 3 rounds. Each time we advance to the next round, we’ll deliver an amazing special sale to all our social media fans, followers, and readers. At the end, donations will be made to charitable organizations in the names of the winning companies. If you enjoy our contests, flash sales, retro candy, and new novelty products, please give us your vote.
Radz is all about making candy fun, and a big part of that is our collection of colorful Radz characters. Meet Twig, Scorch, Antic, Max and Bubbs!
They’ve each got their own personalities. We like to think of them as your typical group of friends, each with their own passions and quirks.
We’ve got Twig, the outdoorsman.
And Scorch, the extreme sports loving “bro.”
There’s Antic, the prankster of the group.
Max is the traveler, ever on the go.
And finally, there’s Bubbs, the loyal buddy always ready to lend a hand.
We’ve taken a lot of care getting to know our characters (and yes, we can even tell you who’s frenemies with who) and we’re very excited to share them with the world through our candy dispensers (available soon at CandyFavorites!) and our fun, free online entertainment portal. But we also know we’re hardly the first to figure out that tasty candy and fun characters make an awesome duo.
So, in the spirit of CandyFavorites, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at some other candy characters and mascots that have appeared over the years.
Choo Choo Charlie was the face of Good & Plenty starting in 1950.
He may not be around anymore, but many fans still remember how much Charlie loved trains and his Good & Plenty! Check out one of Charlie’s commercial’s here.
M&Ms have been around since the 40s, but it wasn’t until 1954 that the characters Red and Yellow made their debut. Remember these guys?
The characters got an overhaul in the mid-90s, when a computer animated Red and Yellow began appearing in TV commercials, soon be followed by Blue, Ms. Green, Orange, and the recently introduced newest member of the M&M bunch, Ms. Brown.
The Dum Dums Drum man was developed for Spangler Candy in 1966.
Wally Warhead burst onto the sour candy scene in the 1980s with his signature puckered lips.
And Mr. Jelly Belly first appeared in 1996.
Did we miss your favorite candy character or mascot? Let us know in the comments! And come check us out and learn more about the Radz characters at candyfavorites.com and radzworld.com!
Brach’s Neapolitan Coconut Sundaes are classic candies that imitate a Neapolitan ice cream sundae. They were among the original candies offered by Brach’s, and have always been made from real coconut.
We’re sad to report that Brach’s Neapolitan Coconut Sundaes will be discontinued in June of 2012. We’ve got them in stock (and on sale!) so if these are your kryptonite, it’s time to place your order, warm up your time machine, and send some to your future self.
Outsmart Those Neapolitan Nabbers
Sure, some people just like coconut. But others among us have more important reasons for loving Brach’s Neapolitan Coconut Sundaes.
You know how it goes. You nab a carton of neapolitan ice cream to enjoy the trifecta of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors. Then while you slave away at work, your deadbeat roommate (or son, or husband) sneaks a scoop every few hours. Come quitting time, you wipe your brow and head home to the only reward that can lift your weary spirits. You open your freezer, lift the lid off the carton, and wail in disgust. Some nasty Neapolitan nabber has eaten all of one flavor.
Don’t let it happen to you! Brach’s Neapolitan Coconut Sundaes are the only sure way to experience the trio of Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry — any time, anywhere, without a spoon.
Stock Up for Posterity
Finding these is about to go from difficult to impossible. So stock up now and hide them well. The only problem you’ll have then will be deciding whether to eat one flavor at a time or bite across the strips of color.