There are plenty of intriguing candies on the market today but none quite like Peeps. The three-dimensional marshmallow chick, once created by hand using pastry tubes, was able to be mass-produced thanks to Ira “Bob” Born. Born, often known as “The Father of Peeps,” passed away on Jan. 29, 2023, at the age of 98.
Born took on that title after joining his father’s company, Just Born Quality Confections, in 1946. Just Born is a family-founded company that has passed through three generations and is responsible for manufacturing some of your favorite candy brands. Keep reading to find out more about Born’s role in creating the beloved Peeps treat and who owns Peeps marshmallows today.
Who owns Peeps marshmallows?
The Peeps brand is owned by Just Born Quality Confections. Although the company didn’t invent Peeps, it did acquire the company that did — Rodda Candy Company — in 1953. Just Born was founded by Born’s father, Sam Born, in 1923. Operations began in Brooklyn, N.Y., and were later moved to Bethlehem, Penn. in 1932.
Sam isn't only credited for starting Just Born but also for producing technology that could create Jimmies or chocolate sprinkles for all you Gen Zers out there. His innovations also led him to create the hard chocolate coating you now find on Eskimo Pies, as noted on the company’s website.
When Just Born acquired Rodda Candy Company, which was also known for its jelly bean technology, it was creating Peeps in small batches in Lancaster, Penn. The soft, pillowy treats covered in colorful sugar crystals, were being produced by “hand-squeezing marshmallows through pastry tubes” and took “27 hours to produce and package.”
However, after Bob came aboard in 1946, things changed, and for the better.
Why is Bob Born called the “Father of Peeps?”
Born didn’t acquire the title of the “Father of Peeps” because he invented the confections. Instead, he brought forth innovations that would help speed up the production process. After implementing his machinery, Peeps went from taking 27 hours to produce to only taking six minutes!
He was also selected to serve as Just Born’s president in 1959, a role he held for nearly 30 years.
Who is the CEO of Peeps?
Just Born Quality Confections, the owner of Peeps, is currently run by David N. Shaffer and Gardner “Chip” M. Jett, Jr., David’s son-in-law. Shaffer is a descendant of Jack Shaffer — Sam’s brother-in-law, who joined the company in the early 1920s. On Jan. 24, 2023, Just Born announced that Shaffer would be retiring as of March 31, 2023.
Before there was the Jett and Shaffer duo, Ross Born (Bob’s son) and Shaffer both served as Just Born leaders. Born retired in October 2021.
How much is Peeps worth today?
The Peeps brand is likely responsible for generating much of Just Born’s revenue. Every year, the company produces about 2 billion Peeps, though it isn’t clear how much it has earned from the sugary treats alone as the company is still private. However, in 2021, Just Born raked in roughly $301 million in revenue, though that figure hasn't been confirmed.
In addition to owning Peeps, Just Born also owns brands like Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Goldenberg Peanut Chews.