One of the most popular Easter candies, the Marshmallow Peep, was born in the 1950’s.
Easter is just around the corner and a lot of people have already stocked up on the holiday favorite, the Marshmallow Peep. This Easter basket staple has been delighting children and adults alike since the 1950’s.
Marshmallow Peeps are a product of the candy manufacturer Just Born, which was founded by Russian immigrant Sam Born. He opened a candy shop in Brooklyn in 1910 where he made and sold fresh candy until 1932. That year Born moved his shop to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and this allowed him to purchase several smaller candy companies. One of the businesses he acquired was the Rodda Candy Company in 1953. Rodda had a line of marshmallow chicks that were made by hand. They were piped out of pastry tubes and the entire process took 27 hours. Born’s son, Bob, devised a way to automate the production of the chicks, which saved countless hours. They started producing the Marshmallow Peeps in yellow, pink and white. Born would set out a sign that said “Just Born” in his candy shop, which was a play on his last name and also emphasized the freshness of his treats. It wasn’t long before Just Born became the largest marshmallow candy manufacturer in the world.
The original yellow chicks were joined by new shapes in the 1960’s, including the bunny. The lavender and blue colors were added in 1995. Other seasonal Peeps were added for other holidays including pumpkins for Halloweens and new flavors in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry were added from 1999 to 2002. Now some Peeps even come dipped in chocolate. They’ve also become a popular addition in recipes for s’mores, brownies, cookies and cakes.