In this series, we reveal the secrets, histories and quirky bits of trivia behind your favorite foods.
Let's face it: Candy corn is a polarizing Halloween treat. The tiny kernels' tooth-zinging sweetness, waxy texture and garish colors are a turn-off for many trick-or-treaters. Others (like one FWx editor) can't imagine a Halloween without it. Regardless of how you feel about the flavor, we can all agree on one thing: At least it's not called "Chicken Feed" anymore.
While the origin story of candy corn is not entirely clear, the candies first began appearing on American shelves in the late 1800s and were most likely created by George Renninger at the Wunderle Candy Company. But Wunderle's reign over the sugary orange-and-yellow candy didn't last long. The Goelitz Candy Company (now the Jelly Belly Candy Company) quickly overshadowed Wunderle in the cutthroat world of candy corn production and marketed the sweets as "Chicken Feed," complete with an illustrated rooster on the box and the slogan, "Something worth crowing for." It was so popular that companies tried making other vegetable-shaped candies, including pumpkins (still available today) and turnips. While it's not clear exactly when the treat dropped the moniker of "Chicken Feed," it's likely that somewhere along the line, either as actual corn kernel consumption became more common in the U.S. or mass ties to farming loosened, "Chicken Feed" became less appealing and the more straightforward "Candy Corn" caught on.
So why the connection between candy corn and Halloween? It's partly a nod to our country's agrarian roots and the fall corn harvest, and partly because the (originally) handmade candies were so laborious that the were only produced from March to November.
Whether you love or hate candy corn, you can put them to use in fun and festive candy corn/ chocolate chip cookies.