Do you love candy corn or loathe it? Science may explain your answer.

Halloween candy corn spilling from glass Mason jar

Whether you love it so much that you look forward to it every fall or you simply love to hate it, you can likely agree that few sweets are as polarizing as candy corn. But whatever side of the fence you are on, you might wonder why in the world other people have such a strong opposing opinion about the sugary little kernels.

Would you believe your fondness or aversion to the autumnal sweets might be more profound than flavor or texture? At least one expert thinks you might be hard-wired to love or loathe candy corn.

Marie Wright is the chief global flavorist — one of just 300 such experts in the world — at nutrition leader Archer Daniels Midland who has developed more than 1,000 flavors for major food and beverage companies. Wright believes there’s a major reason that candy corn is so divisive.

“It’s funny really, it seems to be a very emotional candy. People have a real strong opinion. It’s almost like, if you want to start a little bit of a heated discussion, you can ask somebody about candy corn,” Wright told Today. “It seems to evoke a very strong response.”

Adobe | Jorge Moro

MORE: Candy corn trees are a cute retro addition to your Halloween decorations

The nostalgia of the confection might draw pro-corn people.

“The area of the brain where we process smell (which has a major impact on how we process taste)… is in the same part of the brain where we store memories and evoke emotion,” Wright explained. “In that primitive part of the brain, often there is a strong connection between an event, especially when it’s food, especially childhood.”

But the overwhelming vanilla-marshmallow sweetness combined with the unique, waxy texture of the kernels can be too off-putting for some.

“From a sensory perspective, the hatred of candy corn can be explained because, unlike many candies, its flavor profile doesn’t incorporate contrast,” Paul Adams, a senior editor at Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, told USA Today. “It’s just intensely sweet-tasting, which can produce palate fatigue, like eating spoonfuls of honey or sugar.”

Candy corn was invented in the 1880s by George Renninger at Wunderlee Candy Company, and the Goelitz Candy Company (now Jelly Belly Candy Company) started producing it around the turn of the 20th century. According to the National Confectioners Association, candy corn is the third-favorite Halloween candy of Americans. Only chocolate and gummy candies are more popular with trick-or-treaters and their parents.

MORE: New ‘Monster Teeth’ candy corn tastes like blueberry cobbler

Are you a candy corn enthusiast, or do you believe the best place for it is in the trash?

Curiosity, Food
, ,

Related posts

Can sour candy help ease anxiety attack symptoms?
Brach's FRIENDS conversation hearts
'Friends' Conversation Hearts are returning for Valentine's Day
Two of the new Peeps flavors for Easter 2024
Four new Peeps flavors will be out in time for Easter
Sweethearts launches 'Situationship' candy hearts for Valentine's Day

About the Author
Tricia Goss
Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

From our partners