The History of Candy Corn

October 30, 2018
Candy corn

Dreamstime

Candy corn is a Halloween favorite. But where did this popular treat come from? Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by a Wunderlee Candy Company employee named George Renninger. Its original name was “Chicken Feed.” Wunderlee was reportedly the first to produce the candy, followed by the Goelitz Candy Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company), which has been producing the tri-colored candies since 1898.  

Originally the candy was made by hand. Manufacturers first combined sugar, corn syrup, carnauba wax, and water and cooked them to form a slurry. Fondant was added for texture and marshmallows were added to provide a soft bite. The final mixture was then heated and poured into shaped molds. Three passes, one for each colored section, were required during the pouring process.

The recipe remains basically the same today. The production method, called "corn starch modeling," likewise remains the same, though tasks initially performed by hand were soon taken over by machines invented for the purpose. As of 2016, annual production in the United States was 35 million pounds, or almost 9 billion pieces of candy.