Peeps, the popular marshmallow candy is an Easter classic. Learn how the production, packing, and shipping of this confection have evolved over the years.
How Peeps Candy Finds Its Way to Your Easter Basket
What’s in the article:
How Peeps were discovered
The evolution of Peeps production
How Peeps are packaged and transported
The arrival of Peeps on retail shelves signals the approach of the Easter holiday. And for many Americans, it’s not Easter without Marshmallow Peeps.
That’s a big deal because Americans consume over $3 billion worth of candy at Easter making it the 2nd biggest candy holiday. Over 700 million Marshmallow Peeps shaped like chicks, bunnies, and eggs are sold each Easter season, making Peeps the #1 non-chocolate Easter candy.
Over 700 million Marshmallow Peeps shaped like chicks, bunnies, and eggs are sold each Easter season, making Peeps the #1 non-chocolate Easter candy.
Peeps Were a Happy Accident
Peeps are manufactured by the Just Born candy company which was founded by Sam Born in 1923. The marshmallow confections were a happy accident, stumbled upon during a tour of the Rodda Candy Company in 1953 as Just Born was acquiring the business for its jelly bean technology. That’s when workers were seen in the back room of the Rodda factory making peeps by hand.
There are a Variety of Peeps
These marshmallow treats are available in a variety of holiday-themed shapes for Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas, and include classic chicks and bunnies, plus hearts, snowmen, pumpkins, and sugar skulls.
Peeps take on various colors and have been offered in over 19 flavors during their existence. Flavors have ranged from classic, chocolate caramel swirl-filled delights, and coconut delights dipped in dark chocolate, to blue raspberry, vanilla crème, and orange sherbet. Plus this year’s Easter 2023 lineup includes Mike and Ike flavored Pops, Dr. Pepper Flavored Peeps Chicks, and Kettle Corn Flavored Chicks.
The Peeps Production Evolution
Just Born is the tenth-largest candy company in the country, operating a half-million-square-foot manufacturing plant in Bethlehem, PA. This is where Peeps are produced year-round at a rate of 5.5 million peeps marshmallow candies per day, totaling over 2 billion candies per year.
Back in 1953, fulfillment of today’s demand for the product would have been impossible because the handmade chick-shaped candies took 27 hours to produce.
Back in 1953, fulfillment of today’s demand for the product would have been impossible because the handmade chick-shaped candies took 27 hours to produce. The original handmade candies were made with wings, but in 1955, Just Born started manufacturing them without wings to modernize their appearance and streamline the automation process.
When the founder’s son, Bob Born, got his engineering degree he automated and shortened the manufacturing process to just 6 minutes!
Peeps Packaging Automation
In mid-2013, Just Born automated the packaging, case packing, and palletizing process to contain costs and reduce liability risks from manual operations. The system requires a specialized conveyor to keep the Peeps trays upright throughout the process to avoid product damage or smearing on the packaging film. And this specialized, high-speed case-packing device is capable of collating stacks of trays at 510 per minute.
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Peeps Shipped to Retail and Consumers
During the shipping process, Peeps are usually placed in trays or containers and then packed into larger boxes for shipping. These boxes may be stacked on pallets and transported by truck or shipped by air or sea depending on the destination.
To ensure that the Peeps arrive in good condition, they may be packed with cushioning materials such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts.
Some companies may use temperature-controlled shipping methods, such as insulated packaging or refrigerated trucks, during the summer months or in hot climates to prevent the Peeps from melting or becoming too soft during transit.
Peeps are generally shipped at room temperature, typically between 65-75°F (18-24°C). They are stable at room temperature and do not require refrigeration or freezing during transportation. Some companies may use temperature-controlled shipping methods, such as insulated packaging or refrigerated trucks, during the summer months or in hot climates to prevent the Peeps from melting or becoming too soft during transit. This can help to ensure that the product arrives at its destination in good condition and help to avoid an abundance of claims.
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