Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
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|Owner||The Hershey Company
(H.B. Reese Candy Company)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are a popular American candy consisting of a milk, white, or dark chocolate cup filled with peanut butter, marketed by The Hershey Company. They were created in 1928 by H. B. Reese, a former dairy farmer and shipping foreman for Milton S. Hershey. Reese was inspired by Hershey and left dairy farming to start his own candy business.
The H.B. Reese Candy Company
The Harry Burnett Reese Candy Co. was established in the basement of Reese's house in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Reese had originally worked at a Hershey dairy farm, and from the start he used Hershey Chocolate in his confections. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were his most popular candy, and Reese eventually discontinued his other lines.
Reese died on May 16, 1956, passing the company to his six sons, Robert, John, Ed, Ralph, Harry, and Charles Richard Reese. On July 2, 1963, the Reese brothers merged the H.B. Reese Candy Company with the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in a tax-free stock-for-stock merger with the six Reese brothers receiving 666,316 Hershey common shares, valued in 1963 at $23.5 million. In 2017, after 54 years of stock splits, those original shares now represent sixteen million Hershey common shares valued in excess of $1.7 billion, paying $39.5 million in annual cash dividends. The H.B. Reese Candy Company is maintained as a subsidiary of Hershey because the Reese plant workforce is not unionized, unlike the main Hershey plant. As of September 20, 2012, Reese's is the best-selling candy brand in the United States with sales of $2.603 billion, and is the fourth-best-selling candy brand globally with sales of $2.679 billion—only $76 million (2.8%) of its sales are from outside the United States market. Additionally, the H.B. Reese Candy Company manufactures the Kit Kat in the United States, which had 2012 U.S. sales of $948 million.
Hershey's produces "limited editions" of the candy that have included:
- Big Cups: an oversized version of the traditional cup (also available in white chocolate, with peanuts, mixed nuts, and with a combination of nuts and caramel, and most recently, with Reese's Pieces inside)
- Caramel: the traditional cup with an added layer of caramel filling
- Chocolate Lovers: a thicker chocolate cup with a thinner layer of peanut butter
- Crunchy Cookie Cup: a layered cup with crushed chocolate cookies and peanut butter filling (discontinued in 1999, but was brought back in 2008 as a limited edition. In 2017, Reese's announced to relaunch a new version.)
- Crunchy: a traditional cup with crunchy peanut butter, as opposed to the smooth peanut butter in the original
- Dark Chocolate: peanut butter filling in a dark chocolate cup
- Double Chocolate: chocolate fudge filling instead of peanut butter. Limited edition.
- Double Crunch: a traditional cup with peanut filling similar to a Snickers bar, released in the fourth-quarter of 2010
- Fudge: a thicker, darker chocolate cup with peanut butter filling
- Half-Pound Cup: a single cup weighing 226g; released in Canada in 2011
- Hazelnut Cream: hazelnut cream instead of the standard peanut butter filling
- Honey Roasted: a traditional cup substituting honey roasted peanut butter
- Inside Out: chocolate filling in a peanut butter cup (a reversal of the traditional version)
- Marshmallow: the traditional cup with an added layer of marshmallow filling
- Miniatures: bite-size versions available year round in bags. These chocolates come wrapped in black paper and gold foil.
- Minis: Unwrapped Mini Cups
- Peanut Butter & Banana Creme: a layered cup with a top chocolate layer, bottom banana creme layer, and peanut butter filling; released in tribute to Elvis Presley. It was available in standard, Big Cups and Miniatures sizes
- Peanut Butter Lovers: a layered cup with top peanut butter layer, thin chocolate layer and peanut butter filling
- White Chocolate: peanut butter filling in a white chocolate cup
- "World's Largest": World's largest cups weighing in at 8 oz each.
Other Reese's products
Other candy products of the Reese's division of Hershey include:
- 100 Calorie Peanut Butter Wafer Bars
- Chips Ahoy With Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- Reese's Bar: a chocolate bar with squares of chocolate with a peanut butter filling
- Reese's Brownies
- Reese's Cookies
- Reese's Crunchy Cookie Cups
- Reese's Cremes
- Reese's Crispy Crunchy Bar
- Reese's Fast Break
- Reese's No Bake Bars
- Reese's NutRageous
- Reese's Oreos
- Reese's Peanut Butter Bars (with either chocolate or fudge coating)
- Reese's Peanut Butter Bites
- Reese's Pieces with Nuts
- Reese's Pieces
- Reese's Pieces Cup
- Reese's Puffs Cereal
- Reese's Select Cluster
- Reese's Snack Barz
- Reese's Two Packs
- Reese's Whipps
- Reese's Swoops
- Reese's Sticks
- Selecta Ice Cream With Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (sold in only in the Philippines)
- Sweet 'n' Salty Bar Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (sold in Philippines only)
- Breyer's ice cream with Reese's flavor and chocolate and peanut butter pieces.
In September 2007, Hershey's began producing a new Reese's bar called Reese's Whipps. Featuring peanut butter-flavored nougat with a chocolate coating, it has been likened to a peanut butter-flavored 3 Musketeers candy bar owned by Mars, Incorporated.
Hershey also produces several "pantry" items under the Reese's brand, such as Reese's peanut butter chips (analogous to chocolate chips for baking), Reese's premier baking pieces (tiny cup-shaped pieces of chocolate filled with peanut-butter, also for baking), Reese's jarred peanut butter, and Reese's toppings (including peanut butter syrup, peanut butter and chocolate topping, and Reese's Magic Shell) and sprinkles for ice cream.
For the July 2008 release of the Batman feature film The Dark Knight, Reese's released two limited time products: blue and black Reese's Pieces with Batman's likeness on the packaging, and Reese's peanut butter-filled chocolate Batman logos which were sold individually and roughly the size of two Reese's cups combined.
The fact that Reese Sticks digressed from the normal Reese's naming pattern was pointed out by Paul Lukas in his zine Beer Frame. As Lukas noted, even though the official name was Reese Sticks, most people he casually surveyed pronounced it unknowingly as Reese's Sticks. In 2009, Hershey's changed the name officially to Reese's Sticks.
During the seasons when retailers offer holiday-themed candies, Reese's Peanut Butter candies are available in various shapes that still offer the standard confection theme of the traditional Reese's cup (peanut butter contained in a chocolate shell). They are sold in a 6-pack packaging configuration but are usually available individually. Although exterior packaging is altered to reflect the theme of the representative holiday, the actual holiday itself is never presented.
Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts
Available mainly during January and February, these are heart-shaped confections representing Valentine's Day. At various retailers, an individually-packaged, larger heart is available as well. These are packaged in all-red exterior packaging.
Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs
Available mainly during March and April, these are egg-shaped confections representing Easter. Exterior packaging is usually yellow and orange (milk chocolate), white and orange (white chocolate), or dark brown and orange (fudge-flavored chocolate). This is the only holiday-themed item available in three various chocolate varieties. A larger, individually-packaged Easter Bunny Reese's peanut butter item, known as Reester Bunny, is available as well. Also, Reese's Pieces are offered in Pastel Eggs.
Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins
Available mainly during September and October, these are pumpkin-shaped confections representing Halloween. The packaging is standard Reese's orange with a jack-o-lantern picture and the word "Pumpkins" prominently displayed.
Reese's Peanut Butter Ghosts
Available mainly during September and October, these are ghost-shaped confections representing Halloween. The packaging is Halloween themed with the word scary on it. The ghost replaces the letter "a" in the word scary. First released in 2016.
Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees
Available mainly during November and December, these are evergreen tree-shaped confections representing Christmas. At various retailers these may be available in standard milk chocolate or white. Initially, the packaging was green, white, and orange, but has been changed to a winter scene with a snow-covered ground and a snowman with a central large orange evergreen tree-shape in the center of the package. Another product offered is Reese's Peanut Butter Bells, which offers miniature Reese's cups in a Christmas bell shape. A third product is a milk chocolate-covered Reese's Snowman, wrapped in a snowman foil. The peanut butter snowman is three times larger than the peanut butter tree, egg or pumpkin.
Hershey licenses the Reese's brand (name, logo, etc.) to various companies for the production of other products beyond the traditional realm of candy. For example, General Mills produces Reese's Puffs, a brand of peanut butter and chocolate flavored breakfast cereal. Several companies, including Breyers, Baskin-Robbins, and Dairy Queen, produce various licensed Reese's ice cream products.
Marketing and advertising
In the United States, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups typically come in packs of 2, 4, 5, 10 or 20 in distinctive orange packaging, set on thin but rigid paperboard trays. The "Classic" two-pack is a 0.75 oz. cup since 2001 (originally a 0.9 oz. size, reduced to 0.8 oz. in 1991), the "King Size" four-pack introduced in the early 80's is a 0.7 oz. cup (originally a 0.8 oz. cup until 1991) and the "Lunch" eight-pack is a 0.55 oz. cup. "Large Size" packs of three 0.7 oz. cups, as well as bags containing 0.6 oz. cups, are also available. The "mini" cups come in various bag sizes and foil colors for seasonal themes like red, gold and green for the Christmas holiday season. In Canada, where they are packaged as Reese Peanut Butter Cups (except Reese's pieces), but still widely referred to by their American name, they come in a standard pack of three 0.55 oz. cups or the king-size variation with four cups. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, they were originally available only in two-packs, though are now only available in three-packs, imported from Canada. In 2008 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were made available in Europe by Hydro Texaco and 7-Eleven. In Australia, Reese's products can be found in many specialty candy stores, as well as from American stores such as Costco.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a series of commercials were run for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups featuring situations in which two people, one eating peanut butter and one eating chocolate, collided. One person would exclaim, "You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!" and the other would exclaim, "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!". They would then sample the mixture and remark on the great taste, tying in with the slogan "Two great tastes that taste great together."
In the 1990s, the product's slogan was: "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's." The current slogan, introduced in the mid-2000s, is: "Perfect".
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are made with the controversial ingredient PGPR (Polyglycerol polyricinoleate, E476, a.k.a. Palsgaard 4150), which is used as a replacement for cocoa butter. The FDA has determined it to be "safe for humans as long as you restrict your intake to 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Otherwise you’d be open to reversible liver enlargement at higher intakes".
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- Gluten indicated at celiac.com
- Cox, Dan (27 November 2015). "Seriously, people are upset this year's Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees don't look enough like Christmas trees". Inquistr. Retrieved 28 Nov 2015.
- "REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups".
- "Manufacturers overlook cocoa butter savings" (PDF).
- "Have A Little PGPR In Your Chocolate".
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