This year the Hershey company has given the confectionery world a tasty flashback with their latest revival of Reese’s Crunchy! It’s exciting news and prompted me to look back over the history of Crunchy’s various revivals as well as its late 1970’s launch. Make the jump to take a look!
Reese’s Crunchy was introduced to consumers way back in 1979. Here’s the earliest mention of them I could find, in the form of a newspaper ad and coupon:
Reese’s Crunchy launched with a wrapper design and large logo that emphasized the nut-filled nature of the offering. The initial design only lasted a couple of years, but Hershey produced at least a few subtle variations on it. I have four of them to share and since no two are identical, I’m including them all. One of these was likely a vending version while the differences in the others could be explained by the wildly unstable sugar prices and/or inflation of the late 1970’s:
Here’s the same 1.2 oz size wrapper but with a 20-cent printed-on price:
And here’s a 20-cent version for a larger 1.5 oz:
And finally a 25-cent printed price version in a 1.4 oz size. This one is likely the vending version wrapper, as it sports a bar code different from the previous three:
In 1981, the wrapper design for Reese’s Crunchy was altered to emphasize the Reese’s name. The previous version could have appeared to some consumers as a unique product called “Crunchy” while the 1981 wrapper revision clearly communicated that it was a variety of the classic and beloved Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup:
I also have a single cup wrapper for this second Reese’s Crunchy iteration. Since this one lacks a bar code it was probably sold as part of a multi-pack:
After its introduction here in the United States, Hershey of Canada was quick to get the Reese’s (Reese) Crunchy into distribution up north. Hershey of Canada differentiated its packaging by giving it a bright yellow background color, as opposed to the standard Reese’s orange:
I have one last pair of Canadian Reese wrappers to show and they strike me as odd, due to the identifying color schemes being swapped, meaning the Crunchy sports the classic orange while the standard peanut butter cup is bright yellow:
Back to the United States, it seems clear that the original Reese’s Crunchy was eventually discontinued but it made a return in the 1990’s with a largely brown wrapper:
I’ve not been able to determine when the 1990’s version ended, but its 90’s retirement would also give way to revivals in the following decade.
The first revivals I could find didn’t actually invoke the Reese’s Crunchy name. Rather, they were marketed as Reese’s “with Nuts!” and “with Chopped Nuts!”.
Though I missed it at the time, this period also brought a delicious-sounding Reese’s with Mixed Nuts [special thanks to my pal Brad Kent and his wonderful wrapper site.]
These would follow with a couple renewals, the first of which I found dating back to 2008 with this limited edition:
That would follow with a near-identical release in 2011 without the Limited Edition branding though it appears that it was, in fact, limited.
And finally, we’ve got the current revival which is hitting shelves now in both standard and Big Cup Crunchy versions. The packaging has been redesigned for 2015, though the colors are evocative of the most recent limited edition release wrappers:
And that’s everything I’ve got to share on Reese’s Crunchy!
I do have two more items to showcase though, because Hershey also added nuts to their Reese’s Pieces product line in the last decade. Here are the two packages I have from those releases:
And that’s everything! It’s awfully cool to have Reese’s Crunchy back on shelves again and I hope you’ve enjoyed our look back at their origins and history.
See you next time!
Excellent coverage – as always! These look tasty! I can’t be certain, but i’m almost positive I have tried these, back-in-the-day. However, this is the first time seeing crunchy Reese’s Pieces. Thanks, I was enlightened by seeing that wrapper!