The candy corn season has arrived. The familiar triangular shape and color palette haven’t changed for over 100 years: white tip, orange middle, and yellow background. It tastes the same too.
This sweet-sweet waxy, tri-color piece is made with corn syrup and just a little bit of honey mixed in. Sweet corn has become a Halloween staple in America.
Most historians agree that sweet corn was created in the late 1880s by young confectioner George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderle Candy Company in Philadelphia, a company owned by Philip Wunderle.
Apparently a very dedicated and talented confectioner, Renninger is credited with inventing all kinds of âsoft buttercream candies, known asâ chewy creams, ââ wrote Danya Henninger, a Philadelphia reporter.
(Wunderle remained a local candy company, with Philip’s sons George and Harvey joining the business. When George Renniger died in 1944, at the age of 87, his obituary indicated that he was associated with Wunderle Candy for 68 years.)
A&G Confectionary Company of Belleville, Illinois was the first company to manufacture candy corn on a large scale. The company was founded in 1898 by brothers Adolf and Gustav Goelitz. They learned candy making from their father and uncles. Members of the Goelitz family began coming from Germany to the United States in the 1840s.
âThe Goelitzes may have bought the recipe from Wunderle or made their own version of candy corn,â suggested Kate Kelly, editor of America Comes Alive! Website. “Regardless, Goelitz is the company that has firmly established sweet corn in the market.”
The product was first named and advertised as âchicken feedâ. The candy boxes featured a photo of a rooster boasting that the treat was “something worth singing about.” He has been nicknamed “the king of the sweet cornfield”.
If you look at a piece of sweet corn upside down, the yellow part looks like a kernel of corn, and on the farm the corn was what you fed the chickens. They adore it. It’s their favorite food.
Was this an early form of “targeted marketing?” In the Midwest, in particular, farm families made up a large portion of the population from the 1890s through the 1940s.
Meghan Overdeep of Southen Living magazine reminds us: âPeople didn’t start calling it candy corn until the 1940s, when trick-or-treating took off after WWII. The candy’s harvest hues and low price made it a popular choice for treats, and it quickly became associated with Halloween.
It’s easy to bypass the numbers when trying to predict Halloween 2021 candy preferences because there are so many more products than there were before. Still, Sara Broek of Better Homes and Gardens magazine is betting that 95% of Halloween holiday shoppers will stock up on tricolor treats this year.
The National Confectioners Association predicts that easily over 35 million pounds (or 9 billion pieces) of candy corn will be produced this year.
Kate Kelly proposed the analogy: âSweet corn is on Halloween what candy cane is on Christmas. We might not dream of eating one or the other, but each is the iconic candy of their vacation.
Sweet corn is not particularly good for the waistline or for the teeth. Eat in moderation. About three treats a day. Brush your teeth within minutes of consuming each treat, and you should be fine.
For a nice Halloween decorating activity, build a whole corn cob on the cob with your candy corn kernels. Directions are easy to find online.