Though Peeps creator Bob Born recently passed away, his candies will live on in our hearts, and possibly stomachs, forever.
Just Born Quality Confections was founded in 1923 by Born’s father and produces a range of sweet treats, including its bestselling brand Mike and Ike.
The company’s claim to fame, though, is the humble Peep — 5.5m of which are produced daily (that’s ~2B chicks a year).
But it wasn’t always like that
In 1953, Peeps were made mostly by hand, and the process took 27 hours from start to finish.
Born, after earning his engineering degree, spent nine months building a machine that could turn sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin into Peeps in six minutes flat.
Peeps began as yellow chicks — Just Born inherited the candy when it bought a smaller competitor — but have since mutated into a variety of colors and shapes.
Then people got weird:
- There’s a standing world record for eating 255 Peeps in five minutes.
- Many are obsessed with exploding the little guys in microwaves.
- Recipes abound: s’mores or, even worse, vodka.
Stranger still, The St. Paul Pioneer Press started a Peeps diorama contest in 2004, and ~80 newspapers across the country followed suit. (The Washington Post took its 2022 contest to TikTok and the entries are epic.)
If you’re a Peeps fan, be sure to mark your calendars for Pennsylvania’s Peepsfest, where a giant Peep is dropped on New Year’s Eve.
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