Reese's Pieces

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Reese's Pieces
Reese's Pieces, current design
Reese's Pieces candies
Product typeConfectionery
OwnerThe Hershey Company

Reese's Pieces are a peanut butter candy manufactured by The Hershey Company; they are oblate spheroid in shape and covered in candy shells that are colored yellow, orange, or brown.[1] They can be purchased in plastic packets, cardboard boxes, or cup-shaped travel containers. The candy was introduced in 1977,[2][3] and introduced to Canada in 1980.[4]

The then relatively new product became very popular with the 1982 release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, in which the candy is featured.[5]

These are also sold in the UK, but still manufactured in the US.[6]

Reese's Pieces are a product extension of the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups line; this new product was designed to capitalize on the success of the chocolate-covered peanut butter cups, though unlike the cups, they have no chocolate.[7]


Anatomy of a yellow Reese's Piece

The candies were first manufactured using panning machines that had been used to make Hershey-ets, a chocolate-filled candy that had been discontinued. Designers knew that they wanted a peanut-flavored candy but had some problems with the filling. Original plans called for filling the candy shells with peanut butter, but the oil leaked out into the shell, leaving it soft, rather than crunchy.

The developer of the project turned the problem over to a team of outside scientists, who created a peanut-flavored penuche filling.[8] More experimentation was needed to determine the correct thickness of the shell. Finally, the colors of the candy coating were designed to coordinate with the color of the Reese's package. The goal color distribution is 50% orange, 25% brown, and 25% yellow.[citation needed]

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial[edit]

In 1982, the Mars candy bar company rejected an offer for the inclusion of its key product M&M's in the Steven Spielberg movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Hershey accepted the offer, and with the film's blockbuster success its product sales dramatically increased, perhaps as much as 300%.[9]

Product line expansion[edit]

In 2010, The Hershey Company expanded the Pieces line to include York Peppermint Pattie Pieces, Hershey's Special Dark Pieces, and Almond Joy Pieces.[10] Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds Pieces became the fourth expansion of this line in 2012.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Reese's Pieces Ingredients". Flickr. July 25, 2010. sugar; partially defatted peanuts; partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel and soybean oil); reduced minerals whey (milk); dextrose; contains 2% or less of: corn syrup; artificial color yellow 5 lake; red 40 lake; yellow 6 lake; blue 1 lake; salt, resinous glaze; soy lecithin; modified cornstarch; carnauba wax; vanillin, artificial flavor.
  2. ^ "Celebrate Pennsylvania!". Candy Industry. 2008-08-15.
  3. ^ Smith, Andrew F. Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food. p. 228.
  4. ^ "Outer space gives Hershey a nice little plug". The Montreal Gazette. 1982-08-13.
  5. ^ David van Biema (1983-07-26). "Life is Sweet for Jack Dowd as Spielberg's Hit Film Has E.T. Lovers Picking up the (Reese's) Pieces". People.
  6. ^ "Reeses Pieces Peanut Butter at Morrisons". Morrisons.
  7. ^ "Lose weight & improve your health with a real food diet - Fooducate".
  8. ^ Brenner, Joel Glenn (2000). The emperors of chocolate: inside the secret world of Hershey and Mars. Broadway Books. p. 274.
  9. ^ Snopes: Taking it E.T.
    Business by its very nature is cut-throat; competitors rarely aid one another because one company's success almost invariably comes at the expense of the other's vitality. When such leg-ups occur, they are often inadvertent — the result of one firm's having failed to take advantage of an opportunity that its competitor later cleaned up on. Such was the case when Mars, Inc. passed on the chance for its flagship product, M&Ms, to be the candy used in 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Its turn-down cleared the way for Hershey Foods Corporation to make a remarkable splash for its Reese's Pieces.
  10. ^ "Candy Makers Cut the Calories, by Cutting the Size". The New York Times. 2010-02-16.
  11. ^ "Candy Tease November 2011". Candy Blog. 2010-08-11.

External links[edit]