Candy Corn: Why do we love it so?

Hunting for Seasonal decor  will inevitably lead you to a local drug store or larger big box store where at some point you will be face to face with the display of Candy Corn. Bags of that sugary, low nutritional value, full of coloring but oh so delicious fall favorite will call your name. Why can’t we resist? We know we will eat them until we are in some sort of sugar comma followed by guilt for ingesting 100’s of empty calories. I needed to get to the bottom of the sweet treat’s history. Here is what I found…

According to the National Confectioners Association, approximately 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold each year! {not all by me FYI}

In a recent newsletter, Mental Floss stated that is was “created in the 1880s by George Renninger for the Wunderlee Candy Company, it was then produced by the Goelitz Candy Company (now known as Jelly Belly). Each kernel of candy corn was initially crafted by hand. Workers mixed the main ingredients-sugar, water, and corn syrup-then added fondant and marshmallow to the mixture to increase its smoothness. The mixture was poured into molds, one color at a time.

Today, machines do most of the work of creating the candy corn kernels, which are three times the size of an actual kernel of corn. At Brach’s, the top manufacturer of candy corn, the process takes 24 hours: Corn starch is poured, top to bottom, into a tray with kernel-shaped depressions. The colors are added-yellow, orange, and white, in that order-and when the cornstarch hardens, the kernels are polished, bagged, and sold. Each year, consumers buy enough of Brach’s candy corn that, if the kernels were laid end to end, they’d circle the Earth 4.25 times.”


According to The Atlantic, National Candy Corn Day, an unofficial observance with murky origins in the early 2000s, comes around on October 30, the day before Halloween. But the association between candy corn and Halloween has not always been so intimate….Brach’s ad from 1957, for example, features candy corn as one of “Brach’s Summertime Candies,” alongside circus peanuts, orange slices, and jelly beans. A 1951 grocery store ad celebrates candy corn as “The candy all children love to nibble on all year long.” Through the first half of the 20th century, candy corn was first and foremost a variety of “penny candy,” those inexpensive candies sold in bulk, primarily for children. A penny or a nickel would buy you a nice little sack in virtually any candy shop or drugstore. Today Brach’s and Jelly Belly (formerly Goelitz) are the only national brands of candy corn, but throughout the 20th century many major candy companies included candy corn in their offerings.

What ever the true origins are, I can’t get enough. I try to wait as long as possible to purchase the first bag of Brach’s because I know there is no stopping me. Well, until I get the sugar induced stomach ache. Hey at least my weakness isn’t spiked cider.

Enjoy your corn proudly ~ Krayl

PS – Thanks BTW for my friends at Marathon Marketing Services for providing research to this fascinating story.

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