|Addicted at an early age.|
HAPPY EASTER!--It’s spring in San Diego, the sure signs are squirrels busily running up and down the neighbors huge ficus tree ignoring the incessant yaps of the bored terriers directed at them. Cats yawn at the squirrels. Wild pink primrose have bloomed where no pedigree flower dares to take root. The blood moon has come and gone and once again the ravages of winter have spared the village.
Now, it’s time when important thoughts rush forth in Margaritaville, for example, does the nearby Vons supermarket have its supply of PEEPS® displayed? Today is Easter and it’s Peep time. Traditions are meant to be kept.
While biting into a new sour watermelon flavored PEEP® I checked the package and noticed for the first time, exactly who made PEEPS®. I was looking to see if they listed on the package—as a public service—an 800-number for the local PEEPS Anonymous group. One more package of these colorful, chick-shaped marshmellow confection and I’m ready to sign up.
In keeping with the motto of this blog: everything we don’t know is news, we had to know who made PEEPS®
As it turns out, PEEPS® and other popular candy brands—like MIKE AND IKE® and Hot Tamales just to name two are produced by Just Born, a family-owned candywerks based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The Just Born candy tradition began in 1910 when Sam Born emigrated to the U.S. from Russia. A candy maker by trade, Born used innovative technology to produce chocolate sprinkles, known as Jimmies, and the hard chocolate coating for ice cream bars. In 1916, Born invented a machine that mechanically inserted sticks into lollipops.
In 1923, Born opened a small candy-making and retail store in Brooklyn, New York. He marketed the freshness of his line of daily-made candy with a sign that declared, “Just Born.” Not long after opening the Brooklyn store, Born invited his brothers-in-law, Irv and Jack Shaffer, to join him in the business.
The company thrived in spite of the economic depression of the 1930s and, in 1932, moved its operations to an empty printing factory in Bethlehem, PA.
The company continued to grow, aided by several key acquisitions. In 1935, Just Born acquired the prestigious Maillard Corporation, well known for elegant hand-decorated chocolates, crystallized fruits, Venetian mints, jellies and “the best bridge mix in the country.”
In 1953, Just Born acquired the Rodda Candy Company of Lancaster, PA. Although Rodda was best known for its jelly beans, it also made a small line of marshmallow products that included a popular Easter Peep that was made by laboriously hand-squeezing marshmallow through pastry tubes.
Sam Born’s son, Bob, who had joined the company in 1946, helped mechanize the marshmallow forming process and Just Born has become the world’s largest manufacturer of novelty marshmallow treats.
Other popular products have been introduced over the years; including MIKE AND IKE® chewy fruit flavored candies in 1940, spicy, cinnamon-flavored HOT TAMALES® in 1950, TEENEE BEANEE® gourmet jelly beans in 1977, and sour ZOURS® in 1999.
Under the current leadership of Co-CEO’s Ross Born and David Shaffer, Just Born acquired Goldenberg Candy Company, makers of PEANUT CHEWS® and CHEW-ETS®, in 2003.
PEEPS® Fun Facts
In 1953, it took 27 hours to create one PEEPS® Marshmallow Chick. Today, thanks to advances in technology, it takes six minutes.
Just Born produces enough PEEPS® Brand Marshmallow Candies in one year to circle the earth twice.
In the late 1950's PEEPS® wings were "clipped" to give them a sleek, modern look.
PEEPS® Brand Candies have been the #1 non-chocolate brand at Easter for over 20 years*. *Source: IRI Total U.S. FDMx.
Yellow is America's best selling color of PEEPS® chicks and bunnies.
Yellow and white PEEPS® chicks and bunnies came first, followed by pink, lavender, blue, green and orange.
PEEPS® branded products have made celebrity appearances on many programs including: Good Morning America, The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning, The Early Show, Saturday Night Live, Martha Stewart, Ellen, South Park, and The Daily Show.
If you had 8,000 PEEPS® bunnies, and you stood them in a straight vertical line, you could reach the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago.
PEEPS® have become gourmet favorites as fondues, Crème Brulee ingredients and cappuccino toppings!