Baby Ruth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Baby Ruth
Product typeConfectionery
OwnerFerrara Candy Company
CountryUnited States
Introduced1921; 102 years ago (1921)
Previous owners

Baby Ruth is an American candy bar made of peanuts, caramel, and milk chocolate-flavored nougat, covered in compound chocolate.[1] It is distributed by the Ferrara Candy Company, a subsidiary of Ferrero.[2]


In 1920, the Curtiss Candy Company refashioned its Kandy Kake into the Baby Ruth, and it became the best-selling confection in the five-cent confectionery category by the late 1920s.[3][4][5] The bar was a staple of the Chicago-based company for more than six decades.

Curtiss was purchased by Nabisco in 1981. In 1990, RJR Nabisco sold the Curtiss brands to Nestlé.[6] Ferrero acquired Nestlé USA's confectionery brands, including Baby Ruth, in 2018.[7] Ferrero folded production of the acquired brands into the Ferrara Candy Company.[8]

Ferrara relaunched Baby Ruth in December 2019. The new recipe includes dry-roasted peanuts grown in the United States, whereas previous versions contained peanuts roasted in oil.[9] It also removed the food preservative TBHQ.[10]


Box of Curtiss' Baby Ruth candy bars at a general store in Portsmouth, North Carolina

Although the name of the candy bar sounds like the name of the famous baseball player Babe Ruth, the Curtiss Candy Company traditionally claimed that it was named after President Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth Cleveland.[4][5] The candy maker, located on the same street as Wrigley Field, named the bar "Baby Ruth" in 1921, as Babe Ruth's fame was on the rise, 24 years after Cleveland had left the White House, and 17 years after his daughter, Ruth, had died. The company did not negotiate an endorsement deal with Ruth, and many saw the company's story about the origin of the name to be a devious way to avoid having to pay the baseball player any royalties. In a patent appeal, Curtiss successfully shut down a rival bar that was approved by, and named for, Ruth, on the grounds that the names were too similar.[1][11]

In the trivia book series Imponderables, David Feldman reports the standard story about the bar being named for Grover Cleveland's daughter, with additional information that ties it to the President: "The trademark was patterned exactly after the engraved lettering of the name used on a medallion struck for the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and picturing the President, his wife, and daughter Baby Ruth." However, this may have been an after-the-fact covering maneuver.[12] He also cites More Misinformation, by Tom Burnam: "Burnam concluded that the candy bar was named ... after the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Williamson, candy makers who developed the original formula and sold it to Curtiss." (Williamson had also sold the "Oh Henry!" formula to Curtiss around that time.) The write-up goes on to note that marketing the product as being named for a company executive's granddaughter would likely have been less successful, hence their "official" story.[13]

However, David Mikkelson of denies the claim that the Williamsons invented the recipe, as George Williamson was head of the Williamson Candy Company, producers of the Oh Henry! bar. He continues to say that "the Baby Ruth bar came about when Otto Schnering, founder of the Curtiss Candy Company, made some alterations to his company's first candy offering, a confection known as 'Kandy Kake'".[14][15]


The Baby Ruth sign at Wrigley Field

To promote the candy, company founder Otto Schnering chartered a plane in 1923 to drop thousands of Baby Ruth bars, each with its own miniature parachute, over the city of Pittsburgh.[5][6] Thereafter, Schnering performed the parachute drops in various cities in over forty states.[5]

In 1929, the Curtiss Candy Company sponsored The Baby Ruth Hour, a CBS Radio program.[5]

As if to tweak their own official denial of the name's origin, after Babe Ruth's "called shot" at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series, Curtiss installed an illuminated advertising sign for Baby Ruth on the roof of one of the flats across Sheffield Avenue, near where Ruth's home run ball had landed in center field.[16] The sign stood for some four decades before being removed.[17]

In 1985, Nabisco paid $100,000 for the product placement of Baby Ruth to appear in the film The Goonies.[18]

In 1992, the company sponsored Bill Davis Racing's NASCAR Busch Grand National Series #1 Ford for future NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon. The following year, the sponsorship moved to Jeff Burton's #8 Ford.

In 1995, a company representing the Ruth estate licensed his name and likeness for use in a Baby Ruth marketing campaign.[19]

On p. 34 of the spring 2007 edition of the Chicago Cubs game program, there is a full-page ad showing a partially unwrapped Baby Ruth in front of the Wrigley ivy, with the caption, "The official candy bar of major league baseball, and proud sponsor of the Chicago Cubs."

Continuing the baseball-oriented theme, during the summer and post-season of the 2007 season, a TV ad for the candy bar showed an entire stadium (identified as Dodger Stadium) filled with people munching Baby Ruths, and thus having to hum rather than singing along with "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.


A Baby Ruth bar

The original flavor U.S. edition, listed by weight in decreasing order, contains sugar, roasted peanuts, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm kernel and coconut oil,[20] nonfat milk, cocoa, high-fructose corn syrup and less than 1% of glycerin, whey (from milk), dextrose, salt, egg, monoglyceride, soy lecithin, soybean oil, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, TBHQ, citric acid (to preserve freshness) and caramel color.[21]


In addition to the single 2.1-ounce (59.5-gram) bar (sold in packages as Full Size), Baby Ruth is also sold in a 3.7-ounce (100 g) (King Size), a 3.3-ounce (93.5 g) Share Pack (two pieces), and in packages of Fun Size and Miniatures.[20][22]

Related products[edit]

Nestlé produces a Baby Ruth ice cream bar with a milk chocolate coating, chocolate-covered peanuts, and a vanilla-and-nougat flavored ice cream center.[23] Nestlé also produces Baby Ruth Crisp bars, which are chocolate-covered wafer cookies, with a caramel-flavored cream and crushed peanuts. This is part of a line of Nestlé products under the Crisp name, including Nestlé Crunch Crisp and Butterfinger Crisp.

In popular culture[edit]

The Baby Ruth bar is infamously featured in a scene in the 1980 movie Caddyshack that takes place at a pool party, in which the bar is mistaken for human feces.[24]

Baby Ruth was used in the American film The Goonies[25] by Chunk to befriend Sloth.

In the film The Sandlot, Scotty Smalls (after using his stepfather's Babe Ruth-autographed baseball in a game and wanting to get it back after he hit it over the fence into a backyard) mistakenly tells his friends that it was autographed by "Baby Ruth"; his friends knew what he meant to say and shout "BABE RUTH!" before running to the fence to see the ball before it is taken away by a demonic dog that they call "the Beast".

In the Ghostbusters novelization by Richard Mueller, Egon Spengler frequently is said to be eating Baby Ruth candy bars.

In a 1960 episode of Leave It to Beaver, Beaver and his friends lose an old autographed baseball belonging to Beaver's father. They find another ball and try to fake the signatures. One they add is "Baby Ruth".

In the film The Mighty both Max and Kevin are awarded Baby Ruth bars for taking care of a problem in a local store.

In the film Hellboy, a Baby Ruth bar is used to lure and mollify the infant Hellboy when he is discovered after the destruction of the Nazi portal.

A popular song from the year 1956 was "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," written by John D. Loudermilk and recorded by George Hamilton IV.[26]

In the movie Four Brothers, Angel Mercer (played by Tyrese Gibson) offers to give a local kid playing baseball an entire box of Baby Ruth bars if he helps Angel by creating a distraction so Angel can ambush a dirty cop at his home.

In the television series Friends, Rachel Green (played by Jennifer Aniston) and Ross Geller (played by David Schwimmer) are discussing baby names, almost settling on the name Ruth until Rachel excitedly says "Yes! We're having a little baby Ruth..." and they realise the obvious brand recognition joke.

In a 2002 episode of The Simpsons called "The Great Louse Detective", Bart Simpson pranks people at a luxury spa by floating a Baby Ruth down a mineral bath.

It appears in the Family Guy episode "Hell Comes to Quahog" when Meg feeds Sloth from the 1985 film The Goonies.[27]

In the Taxi episode "Louie and the Nice Girl", Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito) brags about getting the first Baby Ruth out of the vending machine after Zena (Rhea Pearlman) restocks it.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Klein, Christopher (September 25, 2014). "Babe Ruth or Baby Ruth: Who Was the Candy Bar Named After?". History. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  2. ^ "Brands | Ferrara Candy Company". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  3. ^ Smith, A.F. (2007). The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. Oxford Companions. Oxford University Press. pp. 31–32. ISBN 978-0-19-988576-3. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  4. ^ a b Kawash, S. (2013). Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-374-71110-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Smith, A.F. (2012). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of what We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. pp. 33–34. ISBN 978-0-313-39393-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Zeldes, Leah A. (June 27, 2011). "Named for slugger or president's kid, candy is Chicago's baby". Dining Chicago. Chicago's Restaurant & Entertainment Guide. Archived from the original on June 7, 2019. Retrieved June 30, 2011.
  7. ^ "Ferrero Completes Acquisition of Nestlé USA's Confectionary Business". Business Wire. March 31, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Watrous, Monica (May 23, 2019). "Inside Ferrara Candy Co.'s playbook". Food Business News. Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  9. ^ Sherred, Kristina (May 28, 2019). "As Kellogg-Keebler deal closes, Ferrara poised to reach $3bn in sales". Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  10. ^ Myers, Anthony (February 12, 2020). "Baby Ruth named Candy Bar Product of The Year winner". Retrieved February 8, 2023.
  11. ^ George H. Ruth Candy Co. v. Curtiss Candy Co, 49 F.2d 1033 (Cust. & Pat. App. 1931) ("That confusion is likely between appellee's mark, "Baby Ruth," and appellant's mark, "Ruth's Home Run, George H. 'Babe' Ruth," is apparent.").
  12. ^ Feldman, David. What Are Hyenas Laughing At, Anyway? (1995), p. 84.
  13. ^ Feldman, David. How Do Astronauts Scratch an Itch? (1996), pp. 288–289.
  14. ^ Feldman, David. Do Elephants Jump? (2004), pp. 264–265.
  15. ^ Mikkelson, David (December 31, 1998). "Baby Ruth". Snopes. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  16. ^ Wrigley Field. Potomac Books. 2006. p. 254. ISBN 978-1-61234-411-9. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  17. ^ Johnson, S. (2008). Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today. MVP Books. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-7603-3246-7. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  18. ^ Cones, J.W. (1997). The Feature Film Distribution Deal: A Critical Analysis of the Single Most Important Film Industry Agreement. Southern Illinois University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-8093-2082-0. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Sandomir, Richard (June 6, 2006). "Baseball adopts a candy, whatever it is named for – Business – International Herald Tribune". New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2009.
  20. ^ a b Gomstyn, Alice (November 14, 2008). "Chocolate Lovers Pained by Candy Changes". ABC News. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  21. ^ Congressional Record, V. 147, PT. 18, December 11, 2001 to December 12, 2001. U.S. Government Printing Office. 2006. p. 2131. ISBN 978-0-16-075591-0. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  22. ^ The NutriBase Guide to Fat & Fiber in Your Food. Avery. 2001. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-58333-111-8. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  23. ^ MacInerney, D.M.L.; Ryan, C. (2016). Ed. F. Kruse of Blue Bell Creameries. Texas A&M University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-62349-363-9. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  24. ^ Praeger, D. (2007). Poop Culture: How America Is Shaped by Its Grossest National Product. Feral House. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-932595-21-5. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  25. ^ Molinari, M.; Kamm, J. (2002). Oops!: Movie Mistakes That Made the Cut. Citadel Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8065-2319-4. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  26. ^ Coston, D. (2013). North Carolina Musicians: Photographs and Conversations. McFarland. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-7864-7461-5. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  27. ^ Iverson, Dan (September 25, 2006). "Family Guy: "Hell Comes to Quahog" Review". IGN. Retrieved November 28, 2007.
  28. ^ "Taxi: Season 2, Episode 1 script | Subs like Script". Retrieved January 26, 2023.

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