A new type of candy named “Butter Cream Corn” contained no butter, cream nor corn, but could easily be shaped to resemble a kernel of corn.
The invention of this candy is attributed to George Renninger, an employee of the Wunderle Candy Company of Philadelphia, PA in 1888. The ingredients of sugar, corn syrup and marshmallows were boiled in large kettles, then poured into molds – one color at a time – to produce a realistic kernel shape that was colored with white tips and a dark middle. Renninger dubbed this new chewy sweet “Chicken Feed” to appeal to rural customers. Following the popularity of the kernels, other vegetable-shaped candies were offered, as well.
A decade later, the A. & G. Goelitz Confectionery Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, began making their version of butter cream corn. Advertising still played off the association with chicken feed, using a crowing rooster and the slogan, “Something worth crowing for.”
It took generations of candy makers and candy eaters for the kernel’s colors to be changed to white, orange, and yellow and to be associated as a Halloween candy. As the recipe for butter cream corn was never patented, numerous candy companies offer this “candy corn” under their own brand.
While candy corn is offered year round, the same recipe (now called mellowcreme) and molding technique are used to create “harvest corn,” a white, orange and brown kernel-shaped candy. Once labeled “Indian corn,” cocoa is used to flavor and color the brown tip. Just in time for Halloween candy dishes, candy corn, harvest corn and a pumpkin-shaped candy are packaged as Autumn Mix or Harvest Mix, depending on the brand.
While the Wunderle Candy Co. went out of business years ago, the Goelitz Company continues to produce candy corn with the claim that they still use the original recipe. In 2001, Goelitz changed the company name to the Jelly Belly Candy Company to reflect its most popular creation.
The National Confectioners Association has proclaimed October 30 as National Candy Corn Day.