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It used to take 27 hours to make a peep.  

In 1953, Bethlehem, Pennsyl-vania–based confectioner Just Born Inc. was planning to buy another candy maker, Rodda, which was famous for its jelly beans. On a factory tour, Just Born’s owners found out that Rodda also produced bird-shaped marshmallow treats called Peeps. “They looked at each other and said, ‘This is a gold mine,’” says Matt Pye, Just Born’s VP of Corporate Affairs. At the time, the chicks were hand-sqeezed through pastry tubes and needed hours to firm up. From mixing to final packaging, the whole operation took more than a day. But within a year of the acquisition, Just Born had automated the process,  paring it down to six minutes. The factory now produces 5 million chicks a day. It might be the only time it’s OK to count them before they hatch.

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