The Unexpected State That Loves Peeps The Most

The triumvirate of candy-centric holidays — Easter, Halloween, and Christmas — ought to be an occasion for unbridled sugary delight. But those days are not without some rancor regarding which sweet treats rank as the worst to give or receive. Halloween may be the day for which the controversy is most sharply focused, as the candy "corn" that sprouts in candy dishes, or is dropped in trick-or-treat bags in tiny packets, comes in for a huge share of disdain. This year, candy corn was the runner-up in the CandyStore.com survey of 15,000 customers for worst Halloween candy, lagging behind only the marshmallowy orange circus peanuts. As far as Christmas, the 2021 CandyStore.com survey settled on the uncomfortably mouth-sticky Christmas nougat as the worst of the worst.

Regarding Easter, the bite-size cotton candy-like Peeps, pressed into the form of baby chicks and bunnies, engender significant dislike in the CandyStore.com surveys, although at least recently they haven't been in the top spot for worst Easter candy. Peeps were runner-up for worst Easter candy in 2020, moving up from third place in 2019, and "improving" to a sixth-place ranking in the 2021 CandyStore.com survey, in which the company noted that "Peeps are a regular on our WORST holiday candy lists." Peeps did, though, earn the top spot for worst-performing Easter candy in a 2021 RetailMeNot survey, with just 14% of respondents choosing Peeps as a favorite for Easter.

Where do people love Peeps the most?

Despite the poor performance of Peeps in terms of Easter popularity, a recent survey by the Instacart grocery delivery service, involving 2,000 people contacted online by The Harris Poll, nonetheless placed the yellow baby chicks iteration of Peeps at ninth among the top 10 candies sold in the weeks leading up to Easter, ahead of only Hershey's milk chocolate eggs. But in its survey, Instacart also discovered a reservoir of goodwill for the fluffy treat. According to Instacart, Peeps are the candy most associated with Easter, and although "a third of Americans (33%) agree that marshmallow chicks are among their least favorite Easter candies ... a quarter of Americans (25%) ... eat marshmallow chicks for the sake of tradition ... ."

In terms of where exactly in the United States that Peeps are popular at Easter, the Instacart survey showed that the top state for Peeps purchases is New Jersey, followed in order by Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and New York. A search of social media didn't turn up any particular reason as to why Peeps are so popular in New Jersey. Perhaps it was this year's addition of personally customizable Peeps to the product lineup, or maybe it had something to do with New Jersey's Brix City Brewing launching a Peeps-inspired beer – an India pale ale called "Get Peep'd" — last year around Easter time.