A Peek At How Peeps Are Made

Follow your favorite seasonal marshmallow through its factory fun.

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BETHLEHEM, PA - MARCH 12: Marshmallow Pepps are dropped into boxes from the production line for packaging at Just Born March 12, 2004 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Just Born, the manufacturer of Marshmallow Peeps now produces more than 1.2 billion individual Peeps per year. This year it's expected that more than 700 million Marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies will be consumed by men, women, and children throughout the United States. Strange things people like to do with Marshmallow Peeps include eating them stale, microwaving them, freezing them, roasting them and using them as a pizza topping. Marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies come in five colors. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
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Peeps: we eat them every spring, perhaps more as a matter of tradition than taste. But what are they made of, and where do they come from? Come along to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to the Peeps factory, and we'll show you.
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No, you cannot tell your children this is where babies come from. Just Born is the brand that produces Peeps, and this is the facility that produces approximately 1.2 billion little marshmallow chicks every year.
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You called it "melted marshmallow," we like "Peep Juice" -- either way, it sits heated in a pot before being run through the pressing machine to form Marshmallow Peeps.
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Meanwhile, employees spray yellow dye onto sugar that will coat the Peeps once pressed. Peeps also come in pink, blue, lavender, and green.
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We're following yellow Peeps, who will shortly get their "feathers." Just Born employee Lauren Easterly pours the dyed yellow sugar into the machine that will sprinkle it onto the Peeps from above.
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The little Peep booties are covered when the Peeps are pressed onto a sugared sheet from the marshmallow vat.
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After a little yellow shower, they roll down a conveyor belt toward the machine that gives them eyes. So many tiny marshmallow buns!
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Little Peep eyes are imprinted...
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...and then quality control employees like Jimmy Case ensure we never enjoy Teenaged Mutant Ninja Peeps pick out any badly-formed or otherwise defective Peeps.
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The Peeps then roll right off the production line and into their boxes. We'll give our Peeps an 8 for difficulty, but they're slightly out of sync and that'll cost 'em.
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Another round of scrutiny to make sure they're packaged properly...
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...and then Kathy MacDonald, among other employees, puts the wrapped packages into boxes for shipping.
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Sniff! It's like seeing your children off to college, if seeing your children off to college meant they'd end up in someone's digestive tract.
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Of the 1.2 billion Peeps produced annually, approximately 700 million of them are consumed in America -- or used in our art projects.
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Until next year...happy spring!
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