LITTLE ROCK, Ark (KARK) – ‘Tis the season for holiday greetings, cheers and the iconic candy cane treat, but don’t let anyone tell you how to eat it – there may be more ways than you thought.

The National Confectioners Association (NCA) took the question to U.S. candy cane eaters to determine the most popular way people enjoy the treat.

The poll showed 57% of the people surveyed eat the cane straight end first, the most popular strategy, while 27% start at the curved end and only 16% of the participants break the cane into pieces.

The original red and white striped peppermint “J” or hook-shaped treat has a long history, according to a recent study done by the NCA.

History of the candy cane

According to the association, the candy cane has been around for more than three and a half centuries. In 1670, the choirmaster at a Cologne Cathedral in Germany gave the original peppermint sticks out to the youth singers to keep them quiet during long ceremonies.

In 1847, the German treats traveled across the pond with a German-Swedish immigrant named August Imgard who decorated his Christmas tree with the hook candies in Ohio.

A man named Bob McCormack began creating the handmade treats in the 1920s in Georgia. According to the NCA, the process was laborious, so McCormack’s brother-in-law created the first automatic machine for the candy’s production, kick-starting the national McCormack candy-company legacy.  

Candy cane quick facts from the NCA:

  • The noticeable red stripe was not added until around the 20th century.
  • National Candy Cane Day in the United States is celebrated on December 26.
  • Candy canes are the best-selling non-chocolate candy in the month of December.
  • Considered a seasonal item, 90% of candy canes are sold at the peak of the Holiday season in the U.S., from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
  • The biggest single week for candy cane sales is the second week in December.

After research, there is no determined correct or incorrect way to enjoy the sweet-peppermint cane, just keep in mind that they pair very well with holiday cheer and festivities.