Nobody likes you

And by you, I mean Peeps. (So much for getting them as a sponsor.) Also, 7 other things worth your time.

Today on the menu: Peeps, the highly controversial candy—adored by some, loathed by others. I'm pretty sure there's no middle ground.

We're at peak Peeps season with Easter Sunday just days away. (Hence the news that Pepsi is introducing a limited run Peeps-infused flavored cola.)

As you have no doubt guessed by now, I am firmly in the anti-Peeps camp, among the many who find the concoction to be virtually inedible. I am not alone.

OK, maybe that last dig is a little milquetoasty. But you get the gist.

I do have to salute to the acumen and ingenuity that allowed a series of family entrepreneurs to come up with Peeps—and then to build their popularity into a seasonal sugary success.

The history starts with the Rodda Candy Company, which started making Peeps in the 1940s, but as more of a decoration to give away to loyal customers than a candy.

Truly, I don't think they originally thought anyone would actually eat them. 

Back then, it took 27 hours to make each batch of Peeps by hand. In 1953, however, another family company called Just Born Quality Confections bought Rodda Candy, and Just Born figured out how to drastically reduce Peeps production time: 27 hours became six minutes.

They became more popular, they were easier to make, and now Just Born Quality Confections now churns out 2 billion Peeps per year.

That's an unbelievable amount of "sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin" plus "less than 0.5 percent" of other ingredients, as revealed by Dianna McDougall in Adweek.

"Mass production and automation," said Matt Pye, senior vice-president of sales and marketing. "When the market started to grow, we were able to keep up."

Perhaps some of the popularity had to do with the fact that regardless of how they taste, Peeps are nearly an indestructible food. Just Google "peeps in microwave," and you'll get the idea.

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I checked out The Washington Post's annual Peeps diorama contest without fail, even though I'd never eat one of the things.

Alas, that annual contest ended a few years ago. A rival paper picked it up it up for a while, but Covid might have killed that tradition, too.

Regardless, like them or not, Peeps are part of the secular cultural fabric of Easter in the United States. The Easter season accounts for 75 percent of Peeps sales, and 100 percent of my grumpy newsletters complaining about candy.

Although, that does give me an idea for a few more articles. I mean, nobody really likes candy corn, right? And, can we all agree that cilantro actually tastes like soap?

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7 other things worth your time

  • The White House on Tuesday announced President Joe Biden’s first slate of federal court nominees. They’re a “list of barrier-breaking candidates in an aggressive first push to counterbalance the wave of conservative judges confirmed over the past four years.” (BuzzFeed News)

  • What will office dress codes look like post-pandemic? Get ready for “elevated casual,” according to one theory. (Inc.com)

  • “Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend. U.S. church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.” (Gallup)

  • Once upon a time, Ft. Lauderdale was synonymous with crazy spring breaks. Now, some in Miami Beach want to study what that city did to revise its image, and maybe try the same thing. (Miami Herald)

  • Remember that wild video of a Coast Guard officer jumping on a narco sub in the middle of the ocean ? Now, police in Spain say they’ve captured the first such vessel in the European drug trade. (Business Insider)

  • Sign of the times: Fixer-upper house goes on the market. Result? 88 offers, including 76 “all-cash,” and a final sale nearly 70 percent over asking. “There is such low inventory out there and people feel like that is a way they can get into a home.” (CNN)

  • Children’s author Dav Pilkey says he’s pulling a 2010 book from his wildly popular Captain Underpants series because it contains “passive racism” that he didn’t understand when he wrote it. Also including the author’s statement below, mainly because I have never seen someone do it this way: Write a statement on a computer, print it, shoot a “pan-and-scan” of the written document, and then post it to Youtube. (Fox News)


Thanks for reading. Photo from Pepsi. I first wrote about this horrendous candy for Inc.com a while back. If you’re not a subscriber, please sign up for the daily Understandably.com email newsletter—with thousands and thousands of 5-star ratings from happy readers.

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