The holidays may not be back to normal this year. But spooky Peeps are back.
Last year Just Born, the candy company behind the marshmallow bunnies and chicks, paused production on its non-Easter holiday Peeps. That meant anyone seeking Halloween or Christmas-themed Peeps in 2020 was out of luck. Same for shoppers who wanted Peeps for Valentine’s Day this year.
But now, Peeps ghosts, dark purple cats, orange pumpkins and Frankenstein-type monsters have returned. There’s a new item on shelves this year, as well: decorated skulls that look like they’re designed to appeal to those celebrating the Day of the Dead. The treats come in new packaging this year, marking the first time Peeps has updated its Halloween packaging since 2014.
The company ditched non-Easter Peeps in 2020 because “the pandemic started in the heart of when we would be producing Halloween and Christmas,” Caitlin Servian, brand manager for Peeps, told CNN Business. “Now that we’re back to full time production, it’s a very easy decision to bring back Halloween and Christmas Peeps for 2021,” Servian said.
Still, things are different this year than they were in 2019.
“All candy companies are in the same boat in struggling with COVID-19 related issues,” Servian said. “Truck driver shortages [lead] to delayed shipping. And there are longer lead times on ingredients and packaging,” she said. To accommodate for the disruptions, Just Born gave itself extra time to bring the products to market.
“We actually were able to schedule things earlier this year to make sure that we would not be faced with some of the challenges,” Servian said.
The company also made its pumpkin Peeps bigger so that they are consistent with other shapes, a change that helps streamline packaging. The pumpkins also got a little makeover, with some sporting goofy expressions.
Just Born is based in Pennsylvania and makes the majority of its candies in the United States, Servian said, noting that local production helps put the company “in a great place” compared to peers who rely more heavily on international supply chains. It also to give US retailers peace of mind that they’ll be able to fill orders, according to Servian.
“Retailers are really leaning into seasonal brands that are produced in the US,” she said. Just Born is a private company that does not share sales figures, but said that its seasonal business, which includes Halloween and commitments for Christmas and Easter, is up about 30% compared to 2019. It noted that Halloween Peeps make up under 5% of its total Peeps production by volume.
Just Born also makes Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. The company resumed production of those items after it reopened its factory, but didn’t sell any special Halloween packaging last year. This year, it’s selling snack-size packs in 100-count bags, which can be used for Trick or Treat.
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