DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Candy corn: you either hate it or love it.
Regardless of your opinions toward it, you’re likely seeing it on grocery store shelves ahead of Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Before it became the candy corn you’ve come to love (or hate), the controversial candy had a different reputation.
The beginning of candy corn
George Renniger at Wunderlee Candy Co. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been thought to be the original creator of the treat. While it’s said Renniger created the candy in the 1880s, there is no physical proof of it.
Around 1898, Jelly Belly, then known as Goelitz Confectionery Company, began making candy corn inside of their factory in Cincinnati, Ohio. Jelly Belly is said to be the company that has been making the treat the longest.
The company still uses the original recipe to create the tri-color candy.
The name was…what?
Candy corn was originally called “chicken feed,” and its target audience was agricultural and rural families.
It was difficult to make – more on that in a moment.
Because of the tedious work, ‘chicken feed’ was reportedly only available between March and November. It would ultimately become a fall-time treat (though there are different varieties for other holidays as well).
The orange, white and yellow-colored treat was originally made by hand.
“In order to make a tri-color kernel, a candy-maker, called a ‘runner,’ made three separate passes with 10 pounds of hot steaming fondant depositing a little bit of candy at just the right rate into cornstarch molded with the kernel shape,” Jelly Belly explains.
“These passes required great strength and endurance since the runner had to lift and carry the big buckets called “stringers” of hot cooked candy which appears to come out of the bottom of the bucket in “strings.”
The “same essential manner” is still used today to make the candy, but a machine does the work.
While Better Homes & Gardens reports over 17,000 tons of candy corn are created each year, Jelly Belly claims nine billion kernels are sold per year.
Consumers are able to purchase candy corn to celebrate different seasons and holidays, like Reindeer Corn around Christmas and Cupid Corn for Valentine’s Day.
If you do enjoy the treat, National Candy Corn Day is celebrated on Monday, Oct. 30.