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The brightly coloured marshmallow chicks have been made by candy company Just Born Inc. in Bethlehem, Penn., since 1953. Here, seven facts you need to know about this favourite Easter treat:

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In 1953, it took 27 hours to create a Peep; today, after automation, it takes six minutes.Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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Just Born Inc. will produce more than one billion Peeps this year, enough to circle the earth twice. (Here, Peeps move through the manufacturing process before getting their sugar coating and eyes.)Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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The Peeps’ wings were “clipped” in the late 1950s to give them a sleek and modern look.Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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Peeps have been the No. 1-selling non-chocolate candy at Easter in the U.S. for more than 20 years, outselling even jelly beans. (Here, Roger Hildebeitel inspects Peeps as they move through the manufacturing process.)Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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Yellow is the best-selling colour, followed by pink, lavender, blue, then white.Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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Each Peep has 32 calories and 0 fat grams. (Here, Gail Counterman adjusts a Peeps box as it moves along the line.)Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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The first Peeps were squeezed from pastry tubes and the eyes painted on by hand. Today, the factory's automated equipment paints 3,500 eyes a minute.Matt Rourke/The Associated Press

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Americans eat more than 600 million marshmallow Peeps and Bunnies at Easter. Just Born Inc. also makes Hot Tamales, Mike and Ike, and Teenee Beanee gourmet jelly beans.RICK SMITH/The Associated Press

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