Candy corn, the epitome of Halloween candy, has been around since the 1880s. For some reason, candy corn has the bad reputation of being one of the worst Halloween candies to ever exist. Though no one knows for sure, it is believed that candy corn was invented in Philadelphia by George Renninger of the Wunderle Candy Company.
This candy only became popular in 1898 when Renninger’s recipe was taken up by the Goelitz Confectionary Company. This company quickly became the nation’s largest producer of candy corn and they called these sugary kernels “Chicken Feed.”
Interestingly enough, Chicken Feed wasn’t even intended to be a Halloween candy. Trick or treating didn’t become widespread until the late 1940s, and Chicken Feed was, instead, marketed to the country’s large rural population, encouraged to be eaten all year round. Confectioners wanted to appeal to this market so badly that they even started making sugar pumpkins, turnips, chestnuts, and clover leaves.
The once family-run operation, Goelitz, is now the Jelly Belly Candy Company. Believe it or not, they still use the same exact candy corn recipe they used in the 19th century. In the 1900s, the candy corn making process was extremely labor intensive. Workers had to cook sugar, corn syrup, marshmallows, and other ingredients in kettles. Then they poured the hot mixture by hand into the kernel-shaped trays. Think of how much work that is for a candy many people have mixed opinions about.
People can’t stand candy corn for an array of different reasons. Some think it tastes too sweet or too waxy, while others can’t bare the chalky consistency. Despite some people's hatred for candy corn, manufacturers produced more than 35 million pounds in 2015 (almost 9 billion pieces). Not that I want any other reason to consume candy corn, but candy corn is now made for numerous holidays. There is even red and green “Reindeer Corn”, red and pink “Cupid Corn”, pastel “Rabbit Corn”, and red, white, and blue “Freedom Corn”.
Who knew candy corn had such an extensive history? So much for a candy most people can't even stand. Whether you like it or not, it definitely puts everyone in the Halloween mood and it's certainly come a long way.