Take A Peek At These 15 Fun Facts About Peeps

There's a lot to know about Peeps. For example, did you know the inventor of one of the most popular Easter candies was actually a Jewish immigrant? Sam Born was once a rabbinical student in what is now modern-day Ukraine; however, his family had to flee. They first lived in France, where Born learned to make confections, but they eventually moved to the United States where he opened a confection shop.

Making good use of his last name, he hung a sign in the shop that read, "Candy is so fresh, it's as if it was just born that day!" This spawned the company name, and in 1923 Just Born was officially in business. The candy company did incredibly well owing in part to Born's ability to innovate with automation. In fact, in 1916 he invented the machine that inserted sticks into lollipops.

The company continued to grow, and in 1932 it purchased a manufacturing plant in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where it still makes its products today. Sam Born, along with his son Ira "Bob" Born, developed and expanded many products including the iconic Peeps, which were first introduced in 1953. Behind the sugar-coated crust, peeps offer a fascinating story.

Here's what Peeps are made of

Everyone's seen the brightly colored chicks at the store or in their Easter baskets. They are squishy and chewy, so you may be wondering what goes into them. The answer is surprisingly simple: Peeps are basically a marshmallow. The base is made with just three basic ingredients — sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin. They are coated in more sugar and contain small amounts of food coloring, potassium sorbate (which acts as a preservative), and some flavorings. And, of course, there are those eyes, which we'll talk about shortly. 

All of this creates the simple yet effective marshmallow chick. That said, they are a confection that's pretty high in sugar content. Just four Peeps have 25 grams of sugar, which is more than a Snickers bar (which has 20). However, they're reasonably low in calories as far as Easter candies go, with each Peep containing a mere 28 calories (140 calories per 5-Peep serving). 

Peeps' eyes are resilient

Now on to those beady black Peeps eyes. They may represent less than .5% of the total components of Peeps, but you may be interested to know that they are surprisingly resilient and also not entirely food.

The Peeps' marshmallow eyes are made out of carnauba wax. That's right. Wax. Carnauba wax is a kind of wax made out of the carnauba palm. It is used in furniture, leather, and shoe polish, as well as in candies and medicine. We know that's not the most appetizing of lists, but it should be noted it is USDA approved for edible use.

Peeps' eyes are the last thing to be added during the creative process and are also the most indestructible part of the candy. A (presumably tongue-in-cheek) study performed in 1999 on the durability of Peeps found that the sugary marshmallows are weirdly sturdy. Even when placed in harsh solvents, one part remained: Those black, beady eyes staring into your soul.

How long it takes to make Peeps

Peeps have been around for a long time, and in that time, automation and technology have advanced dramatically. It's not surprising that the time to make Peeps has been reduced significantly, but you might be surprised just how efficient Just Born has become at making them.

After acquiring the Rodda Candy Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1953, Just Born took over the company's three-dimensional chick-shaped marshmallow production — what could be considered the original Peeps. But the Rodda Company's process of hand-piping and shaping each chick was tedious — it took 27 hours to create just one Peeps. That's not horribly efficient and wouldn't make a sound business model. Thankfully, Ira "Bob" Born, the son of Just Born founder Sam Born, came up with a way to mechanize the process, and today it takes just six minutes to make a package of Peeps. 

The new method mixes the ingredients in large mixing tanks before pumping the mixture onto conveyer belts in the classic Peeps shape we know and love. The chicks then get bathed in whatever color the batch will end up being. Finally, a laser attaches the eyes. The Peeps are then ready to go! This fully automated system allows the brand to pump Peeps out for the masses in almost no time at all. Just Born can now produce over 5.5 million Peeps in a single day.

Peeps originally had wings

If you look at pictures of Peeps from decades past, you may notice that they actually had wings. These wings were on top of the back and spread out slightly over the sides of each chick. Peeps today, notably, no longer have these wings. And in fact, most people may not remember a time when these marshmallow treats had wings.

That's because Just Born, which originally premiered the confection in 1953, "clipped" the wings off the Peeps in 1955, so there were only two years of the winged versions. According to the company, this was done to "give them a sleek, modern look." We have to wonder, though, if it was also a way of helping speed up the production time with the conveyor belt system. No matter the reason, the wingless Peep is now an iconic look, and it's hard to imagine them any other way.

How many Peeps are eaten each year

Obviously, peeps are popular during Easter. These little marshmallow chicks are actually the top-selling non-chocolate Easter candy and have been for more than two decades, which is pretty darn impressive. In fact, they even outsell other classic Easter candies, such as jelly beans. So just how many Peeps are eaten each year? A truly shocking amount.

Since Just Born was able to ramp up its Peeps production with automation, the company produces over one billion Peeps per year. Most of the candy consumption happens during Easter, with estimates ranging from 600-700 million Peeps and Peeps bunnies being consumed around the holiday.

Of course, people eat Peeps in different ways, which probably helps boost overall consumption. Some people eat them as straight-up sugar-coated marshmallows, while others enjoy roasting their Peeps over a fire. You can even make s'mores out of them! The options don't end there. Some people eat Peeps frozen, while others put them on pizza ... which may be more controversial than the pineapple-topped pies. Regardless, there's no denying that Peeps are a beloved Easter treat. 

There are many different Peeps variations

Peeps are most commonly found in their chick form. However, there are more than just birds in the Peeps family lineup. Around Easter, Peeps are also found in bunny form. For Valentine's Day, there are heart-shaped Peeps. Halloween sees a whole lineup of Peeps shaped like ghosts, pumpkins, skulls, monsters, and cats. For Christmas, there are reindeer, trees, stockings, snowmen, and gingerbread men.

It really is astounding how many different shapes Just Born has been able to come up with for its marshmallow candy. We guess that's why they sell so many of them each year. They are clearly trying to corner the market, not just for Easter but for every major holiday. We are sure we are just seeing the tip of the Peeps iceberg, as every year, Just Born comes out with new lines of differently shaped Peeps for each holiday season.

Peeps come in different flavors

Peeps come in a wide range of colors and shapes, but they also come in different flavors. While the standard Peeps taste like a marshmallow regardless of shape or color (which is to say, the flavor is predominantly sugar and vanilla), Just Born likes to experiment with different flavor options, too. Remember those Halloween cat-shaped peeps? Well, they actually come in more than one flavor, including a chocolate mousse.

Of course, chocolate is fairly tame as flavors go, and Peeps are anything but understated. You may be interested and somewhat horrified to find out that Peeps come in flavors such as Dr. Pepper, Hot Tamales, kettle corn, fruit punch, and pancakes and syrup, just to name a few. 

In addition, Peeps also come in a completely sugar-free variety. Considering sugar is one of the main ingredients in Peeps, it may seem odd to have a sugar-free version, but offering a sugar-free Peeps makes them more accessible to those who need to limit their sugar intake. 

Yellow Peeps are a favorite

Of course, all the variety is fun, but there's one clear favorite among all Peeps colors and flavors: the classic yellow Peep. When the candy first appeared, they were first only sold in yellow and white colors. Then came pink. It wasn't until many years later, in 1995, that the lavender color was added to the mix. Now it's hard to remember a time when there was such a dearth of Peeps options, but up until then, Peeps only came in those basic colors.

After lavender, blue was added in 1998; this was followed by green and orange. Now, of course, there are even more colors, flavors, and shapes. However, the classic yellow Peeps chicks and bunnies remain the company's top-selling variety.

Interestingly enough, the other classic color, white, is not a top contender when it comes to sales, being outperformed by pink, lavender, and blue.

Peeps are made by the same company that produces other candy classics

Peeps are not the only popular candy that Just Born makes. The company has several other famous brands under its umbrella, many of which are actually older than the Peeps brand itself.

Just Born's oldest original candy that's still in production is Mike and Ike, which came out in 1940. Mike and Ike are fruity, chewy candies. The name is shrouded in mystery, but a popular belief surrounding its origin references the 1920s Vaudeville act, "Mike and Ike — We look alike." But we'll likely never know for sure.

In 1950, just three years before Peeps arrived on the scene, Hot Tamales were born. Hot Tamales are hot, cinnamon-flavored chewy candies and are the top cinnamon candy brand in the United States.

Simultaneously, the oldest and newest Just Born brand is Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. They rank as the oldest because they were created in 1917, but they are the newest because Just Born only acquired the candy in 2003. The candy consists of peanuts, molasses, and dark chocolate, all combined in a tasty treat. They were originally created to make good use of rations for the military in World War I.

You can find a giant Peep in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Although the actual Peeps candy may be small, that hasn't stopped Americans from doing what we do best — supersizing it! So, if you're looking for an alternative to the classic New York Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop, you might be interested in checking out the 400-pound Peeps (it's 4 feet, 9 inches tall), being raised, then dropped on one of two consecutive nights (December 30th and 31st). That's exactly what happens each year at PEEPSFEST, a New Year's event held in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and hosted by the Just Born company.

In addition to the Peeps drop, there are also Peeps S'mores making, a PEEPFEST 5k, and pictures with PEEPS chick (the Peeps mascot). If this Peeps-filled time sounds like something you might enjoy, we don't blame you. It sounds Peeps-tactic, and we cannot wait to get a view of that absolutely enormous Peeps.


We can't let the people at Oscar Meyer have all the fun with the Weinermobile. Since at least 2003, the PEEPSMOBILE has graced neighborhood streets with its fun and eye-catching design.

The base of the car is incredibly appropriate, because let's be honest, what car is cute, little, and looks great in yellow? A Volkswagen Beetle, of course! Atop this yellow Beetle sits the most popular of all Peeps — a bright yellow chick. The curves of the Beetle perfectly blend with the curves of the giant Peep. Its presence is certainly striking.

In 2003 it took to the road to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Peeps, traveling across the United States along with two Peeps fun buses. Now, the PEEPSMOBILE shows up at events at different locations, and yes, it's a part of PEEPSFEST. So if a giant Peeps and Peeps mascot didn't get you excited about visiting Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for New Year's Eve, maybe the PEEPSMOBILE will do the trick.

There are a lot of different Peeps products available for purchase

Peeps haven't gotten this far without Just Born being at the forefront of marketing ingenuity. Sure, they have the typical hats, T-shirts, and onesies. Who doesn't? But the company doesn't stop there. Peeps have capitalized on the brand's pastel color pallet and have partnered with Sally Hanson to create Peeps nail polish. They also make Peeps lipgloss, pet clothing, stuffed animals, bath bombs, and Peeps-shaped pancake skillets.

But that's not all. Just Born has struck numerous deals with other food companies and created some interesting collaborations. Should you so choose, you can consume Peeps flavored Pepsi or Peeps breakfast cereal. And what do you need to go with your Peeps breakfast cereal? That's right, Peeps milk is sweetened and flavored milk made with their partner, Prairie Farms. Finally, in 2016, Peeps teamed up with Menchie's, the frozen yogurt brand, to create a marshmallow-flavored yogurt inspired by Peeps that also offered mini Peeps as mix-ins. It is amazing we're not all living in Peeps-branded houses at this point.

Peeps have some famous fans

Peeps are well known, and given that celebrities are really just regular people, it should come as no surprise that Peeps have some famous friends. In fact, Justin Bieber once confided to the late-night show host Conan O'Brien that he loved Peeps, stating that they were his then-current favorite candy. O'Brien agreed they were delicious before pelting Beiber with the popular yellow chicks. Joe Jonas is reportedly a fan as well. He introduced his nieces to the joy of microwaving peeps in a TikTok video, so we think that counts.

iCarly star Miranda Cosgrove was pictured with the Peeps mascot while attending Muskifest, showing the candy some love. Finally, Dylan Lauren, founder of Dylan's Candy Bars and daughter of Ralph Lauren, is also said to be a fan. So if you like Peeps, don't be afraid to admit it. You are clearly in good company.

Peeps fans hold some unique records

You may love Peeps, but we can almost guarantee you don't love them more than the people who have set some impressive world records involving these marshmallow candies.

In 2017, competitive eater Matt Stonie broke the record for most Peeps eaten in five minutes. Stonie managed to down 255 Peeps in that short time frame, breaking the previous record of 200. It was a record that Stonie previously set in 2016. For his efforts, he won $1,750 and a cool, Peeps-filled trophy.

In an even shorter timespan, in 2012, competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi managed to eat 25 Peeps in just 30 seconds. That's nearly one Peeps per second. This shattered the previously held record of 7 Peeps. In 2017, Kelsey McDonald managed to fit 14 Peeps into her mouth at one time, breaking the previous record of 16 Peeps.

We think it's safe to say that these people really love Peeps.

2020 saw a year without Peeps

While 2020 was not entirely devoid of Peeps, the candy's production was halted entirely, which caused a mass shortage and a year that saw no specialty or seasonal Peeps.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Just Born made the decision to close its factory for the safety of its employees, halting production of its products, including Peeps. This was in March, which of course, led people to worry about being able to source their favorite Easter treats. Thankfully, the company assured the public that Easter supplies had already been shipped. Unfortunately, they warned there could be shortages, and they were right.

As the holiday season began to roll around six months later, no new specialty Peeps were available. The company only resumed production on a much smaller scale in May, and because production typically takes place so far in advance, this didn't allow for any seasonal Peeps. 

After skipping Valentine's Day in 2021, the company was back with seasonal flavors just in time for Easter in 2021.