Peeps are marshmallow candies, sold in the US and Canada, that are shaped into chicks, bunnies, and other animals. There are also different shapes used for various holidays. Peeps are used primarily to fill Easter baskets, though recent ad campaigns tout the candy as "Peeps - Always in Season". They are made from marshmallow, corn syrup, gelatin, and carnauba wax.
Peeps are produced by Just Born, a candy manufacturer based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Peeps were introduced in 1952 by Russian immigrant, Sam Born. When Just Born acquired Rodda Candy Company in 1953, they automated the process (originally the chicks were formed by hand) and mass-produced them. The yellow chicks were the original form of the candy — hence their name — but then the company introduced other colors and, eventually, the myriad shapes in which they are now produced.
In 2009, Just Born expanded the Peeps product line further by introducing Peeps Lip Balm in four flavors: grape, strawberry, vanilla, and cotton candy. The first Peeps & Co. store opened in November 2009 in Prince George's County.
Contests and competitions
An annual "Peep Off" is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted. The first such event was arranged by Shawn Sparks in 1994, and had only six participants. Dave Smith started Sacramento's record holding annual Peep Off after contacting Jack Eidsness, a participant in the first Peep Off, with a question about it, through Mr. Eidsness' Peep-themed website.
The Seattle Times has an annual contest of Peeps used in photos. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was the first newspaper to hold an annual Peeps diorama contest and receives hundreds of entries every year. The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and other newspapers also hold a Peeps diorama contest every Easter. MIT has held Peeps contests.
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