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Chicks Dig It: Peeps Marshmallow Candies Are a Lehigh Valley Staple

Learn how a factory in Bethlehem, PA, brings multicolored marshmallow Peeps candies to store shelves around the world, bringing delight to consumers young and old.

By Gary Wollenhaupt on March 30, 2015

The Lehigh Valley Region of Pennsylvania has a colorful manufacturing legacy – literally. The region, which includes Allentown and Bethlehem, is the home of Binney & Smith, the makers of Crayola, a staple in every school kid’s book bag.

The region is also where Peeps, the multicolored marshmallow candies, were raised and still make their home today. From a factory in Bethlehem, multicolored marshmallow Peeps candies make their way across the country and onto store shelves, bringing delight to consumers young and old.

Peeps have been made in Lehigh Valley since 1932, when Russian immigrant Sam Born decided to move his burgeoning candy business, Just Born Quality Confections, to the area from New York City. It was a big step to relocate a company in the midst of the Depression, but the move has paid off over nine decades. Just Born, a privately owned company, also produces Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews candies, but its marshmallow Peeps creation – chicks, bunnies and eggs – that has found its way most into American popular culture, inspiring all manner of artwork, crafts and games. Just Born alone offers numerous examples of Fun With Peeps, with the marshmallow candies adorning drink garnishes, serving as toppings for mini topiary cupcakes and riding in tricked out Easter Bunny bumper cars. Here are some Peeps facts that Just Born shares:

  • In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a single Peeps chick by hand with a pastry tube. Today, thanks to the founder’s son, Bob Born, and advances in technology, it takes roughly six minutes.
  • White Peeps chicks are making a comeback after a 10-year hiatus.
  • Yellow is America’s best-selling color of Peeps chicks and bunnies, followed by pink and then blue.
  • Just Born produces enough Peeps marshmallow candies in one year to circle the earth three times.

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