Love It Or Hate It: The History Of Candy Corn

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Some people love it. Some people hate it. It is time to talk about the true enigma of Halloween sweets: candy corn. Whether it is the yellow part, the orange part, or the white part, no one knows what this candy tastes like. It looks like corn, and this is where the similarities end. Before giving my candy corn review, it is worth diving into its history.

According to Better Homes & Gardens, George Renninger of the Wunderlee Candy Co. in Philadelphia invented candy corn in the 1880s. It was not until the turn of the 20th century when Jelly Belly Candy Co., under its previous name of Goelitz Confectionery Co., brought candy corn to the masses. It was originally called, “Chicken Feed” with the tagline, “Something worth crowing for.” Candy corn is a better name. 

Candy corn was not always associated with Halloween. It started to be heavily advertised for the spooky holiday in the 1950s, according to The Atlantic.

More than 35 million pounds or 9 billion pieces of candy corn are produced each year making many individuals happy or infuriated that this many resources are devoted to this process. This may speak to the general unhealthiness of candy corn, but if unopened, candy corn lasts about nine months and up to three or six months if opened while stored away from heat and light at room temperature. The wonders of modern candy science.

While Jelly Belly Candy Co. still makes this Halloween treat, Brach’s is the top seller of candy corn. In 2019, this candy company produced approximately 7 billion pieces of candy corn and has a monopoly on the market. In fact, Peter Goldman, vice president of marketing for Brach’s and Seasonal Confections at Ferrara, told Fox Business that his company has an 85% share of the candy corn market during Halloween.

All this candy corn must be eaten, and everyone eats this candy in a different way. A majority of candy corn eaters eat the whole piece while less than a third start with the white end and even fewer start at the yellow end, according to the National Confectioners Association

For all you candy corn lovers out there who want to celebrate the reason for the spooky season, Oct. 30 is National Candy Corn Day.

While it has its own day, candy corn remains divisive. Google “Love/Hate Candy Corn” and you will find endless articles about people’s take on this Halloween delight. After scouring through the article links, a couple of USA Today articles noted one reason candy corn is so polarizing is due to it having no contrast in its taste and its waxy texture leading to this love/hate relationship.

Before I give my take, it is imperative I tell you candy corn’s ingredients. A nutritionist would not be proud. The ingredients are sugar, corn syrup, and then it contains less than 2% of the following: salt, glycerin, egg whites, confectioner’s glaze, natural and artificial flavors, mineral oil, honey, carnauba wax, vegetable oil (coconut and canola oil), Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1. If you are keeping score, candy corn is pure sugar.

Sean’s Review

After all the research and writing, I decided to eat a few candy corn pieces. The waxy texture lasts all of four pieces before I am ready to be done with it. Despite being fat-free, this is not a healthy candy nor is any candy but especially candy corn. Eating candy corn is like taking a sugar shot, but unlike taking shots of brown sugar like I did as a child, candy corn is not as sweet.

This fresh batch of candy corn is better because most candy corn tastes stale. This batch is chewy and melts with each bite, but the taste of the candy corn is not fulfilling enough to keep eating it. Candy corn’s distinct taste borders on: is this good or is this terrible? I am in the middle of the love/hate relationship.

One fun trait of candy corn is eating each color at a time. While I am in the minority, I enjoy eating a small bite of the white part, observing my work, then doing the same process with the yellow part, before demolishing the rest of the candy corn. Does any of it taste different? Absolutely not but I feel accomplished. 

Lastly, I love candy. I have given myself a sore jaw from eating too many Jolly Rancher Fruit Chews, made my tongue bleed from eating too many Sour Skittles, and it is not safe for me to go to a parade because I will leave with a stomach ache. The only candy which slows my addiction is candy corn. I can eat only a few pieces before my mind goes, “I’m good.” 

If there is any measure of whether I enjoy candy corn, it does not give me the same buzz as other candy. While I do not hate it like some people, there is better candy out in the world. I can eat a small portion of candy corn, and that is it. Overall, candy corn is OK.


by Sean Dengler

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