Evolution of the Skrunch! Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch, that is.

As I teased yesterday, today’s article is the first half of a two-day span of coverage for the original two Wonka candy treats.

Today, we’ll be talking about Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch.  It might sound like an odd name, but for nearly a decade it was the chocolate bar face of the Wonka brand.

I’m going to be revealing wrappers today covering the entire life cycle of the bar, as well as its ultimate end.  Many of the pieces I’ll be showing can’t be found anywhere else, and today marks the first time most of these will be seen in the internet age.

Before we get to the wrappers, I’d like to pull an image from yesterday’s trade ad preview shot.  This is what an original 1970’s Willy Wonka Super Skrunch bar looked like, “unwrapped”:

Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch bar “unwrapped” – circa 1972

I recall gleefully consuming these bars on a number of occasions, and when I see this image I can nearly taste them again – that great peanut butter texture clear in my memory.  Yum!

Here’s a page from an early Willy Wonka Candy Salesman book:

Willy Wonka Candy Salesman book – Skrunch page – Courtesy Dan Goodsell

Quaker Oats owned the Wonka brand when it was first introduced, and the earliest Super Skrunch bars were branded under that company.  I don’t have any of the Quaker-branded Skrunch wrappers, but I do have a later example that retains the original design, as well as a 15-cent printed-on price:

Concorde Confections – Sunline – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch 15-cent candy bar wrapper – early 1970’s

This “full-body” Willy Wonka Super Skrunch bar wrapper design lasted from the 1971 introduction of the bar, likely until around 1974 or 1975.    Here’s another example of this first design wrapper.  This time sporting a slightly lighter weight (1 oz, down from 1 1/4oz), and without any printed-on price:

Concorde Confections – Sunline – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – early 1970’s – courtesy Dan Goodsell

Here is the bottom and top of a Super Skrunch display box from the early 70’s:

Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch – store display box top and bottom- Early 1970’s – Image courtesy Dan Goodsell

In 1975, the Super Skrunch wrapper would lose its original design, briefly being replaced by a wrapper with  an oddly-plain logo.   Uncovered earlier this year as part of the L.M. Kallok Collection, this wrapper serves as an important and fascinating piece in the Skrunch timeline.  This is the only known example:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – Magic Illusions – candy bar wrapper – 1975

Note that the early 70’s Willy Wonka’s logo remains, as does an inset image of the original Willy Wonka mascot.  Also of note is the mail-away offer for “magic illusions”.   That mail-away offer would be retained for one more year, when Super Skrunch would receive its recognizable late-70’s look:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – magic illusions mail-away – 20-cent wrapper – 1976

Over the next several years, the look of the Super Skrunch remained fairly stable, with minor changes made to reflect marketing and standards adjustments.  1977 saw the first Super Skrunch wrapper to include a bar code:

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – candy bar wrapper – 1977

Later that same year, Super Skrunch became Peanut Butterier and Skrunchier:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – NOW Peanuterier – candy wrapper – 1977

In 1979, focus was put on the Super Skrunch being larger than it had been:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – 43 percent more – candy wrapper – 1979

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s – Super Skrunch – more candy – candy wrapper – 1979

The following year (in 1980) Super Skrunch would, for reasons currently not known, be renamed to an adjective-less “Skrunch”.  The Wonka brand logo would also get a new look:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s Skrunch – candy wrapper – 1980

Here’s a vend bar variation of this same 1980 wrapper.  Note that the “Willy Wonka’s” logo and size information were printed to be read with the bar standing up, as it would in a vending machine:

Sunmark-Concorde – Willy Wonka’s Skrunch – vend candy wrapper – 1980

Finally, in 1981, the Skrunch bar would receive another major overhaul.  Not only would the wrapper be completely redesigned, but actual peanuts would be added to the ingredients list.  It would be a significant change, and would also be the final Wonka product to bear the name Skrunch:

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Skrunch – candy bar wrapper – 1981

1981 marks the first wrapper that lacks the Concorde company name, now replaced by Willy Wonka Brands.   It’s impossible to know what led to the discontinuation of the Skrunch brand name, but we can assume that it simply wasn’t competing well enough in the marketplace.  There must have certainly been changes in the company that might have led to some arbitrary desire to evolve and re-align the brand offerings.

Though 1981 was the end of the Skrunch bar in name, it turns out that it was not entirely dead.   Several months ago I made a startling discovery when I learned of the existence of a Willy Wonka Peanut Butter Bar, from 1982.   Upon close examination, Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar has an ingredients list which matches exactly the ingredient list of 1981’s Skrunch bar.

The gold foil Peanut Butter Bar wrapper is another CollectingCandy.com exclusive, and one I’m excited to wrap up with today.  The gold foil of this wrapper evokes the look and feel of the cinematic Golden Ticket from the original film.  At least it does to me.  It’s pretty awesome:

Sunmark – Willy Wonka’s – Peanut Butter Bar – foil candy wrapper – 1982

I can’t be sure, but my suspicions are that Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar was short-lived.   It was a dramatic redesign and re-branding of one of the two launch-pieces of the Wonka candy company – a final attempt to keep the Skrunch bar going, if not in name, at least in content.  But sadly it didn’t last.

So, what began in 1971 as Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch bar, ended in 1982 as Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar.   Beautiful in gold foil, but destined to become a near-forgotten part of confectionery history.

And that’s everything I’ve got to share today with regard to the history of the Skrunch.  Come back again tomorrow to check out our look at one of my all-time favorite treats: Willy Wonka’s Oompas!

See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com. My Google Profile+
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24 Responses to Evolution of the Skrunch! Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch, that is.

  1. Matt says:

    I remember the Super Scrunch bar with the 1970s wrapper. I remember very distinctly, after swimming at the Pawnee Park pool, we’d go to the Candy Shack and have one of these nearly every visit.

  2. Tom says:

    Well it’s a good thing Mr. Dealer *didn’t* discard that box top!

  3. JON MANKUTA says:

    Really great job dude…I had no idea about the last gold foil wrapper…super cool… 🙂

  4. Brandon says:

    Maybe the Wonka folks will see your post and do a revival of Skrunch and Oompas… if we’re lucky.

    Excellent post!

  5. Pingback: Wonka Weekend Wrap-Up – Oompas and Skrunch Timelines! | CollectingCandy.com

  6. leon says:

    Best candy bar in the world,please bring back
    4th grade 1971 east view Americus,Georgia.

  7. Kelly says:

    This is my favorite Candy Bar of all time. I feel like there are some on the market close but not near as good. I don’t know why they have not brought them back. Yum I can almost taste it……

  8. joe says:

    These were awesome!!! I used to by them by the case as a kid. Can we get these anywhere? Are they coming back??

    J

  9. Jimmy V says:

    Comic Book Day was every Thursday afternoon in 1976. My junior high was 2 blocks from the local drugstore, just outside of O’Hare Airport. A Super Skrunch bar always inevitably sat atop my weekly stack of books on the register counter. Its my favorite mass market chocolate bar to this very day. So damn tasty. And the rice made the interior perfectly light. Awesome. THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the photos & information. Great job. You put a smile on my face this warm summer evening. I’m a happy 6th grader all over again!

  10. Pingback: Tarot by the Mouthful - Six of Cups - The Tarot Lady

  11. vanessa cudnsy says:

    Anyone have the recipee for the candy bar? Was my favorite and then they quit making it.

    • Jason Liebig says:

      Vanessa,

      The recipe, if it even still exists at all, would be locked away in the corporate files of Nestle at this point. And they don’t give stuff like that out, because they might one day use it for something. But my guess is that since the bar was discontinued by the time that Nestle bought Sunline/Sunmark/Concorde, the actual recipe could be lost forever.

  12. Joel says:

    This remains my favorite candy bar of all time. I was very disappointed when it disappeared from shelves. My understanding from something I read years ago on the Web was that was discontinued due to the fact that it tended to be “meltier” on shelves than other candy bars tended to be, but I’m not sure I believe that.

    • Jason Liebig says:

      Joel,

      Thanks for your comment. The Skrunch bar is one of my all-time favorites as well. The mythology around why certain products are discontinued can sometimes be based on fact, and sometimes based on fanciful notions. I suspect the “melty” argument falls into the the fanciful notions group. If there was a problem with the “meltiness” of the bar, I just don’t think it would have been on shelves for a decade.

      Inevitably, these things come down to money. And to me, it seems clear that in the final years of the Skrunch bar, they were trying to play with the marketing to make it sell better than it was. After all, it went from “Super Skrunch” to “Skrunch” to “Peanut Butter Bar”. That seems to indicate the bar had branding problems, not melty problems. And the name-changing is at least concrete evidence of something.

      Though, without word from someone who worked on the brand for Wonka at the time, we can’t know for certain.

      • Joel says:

        Agreed on all counts. I only know that I would love to have another one again someday, and that’s pretty unlikely.

        What got me thinking about this was the fact that I just ate a Whatchamacallit, and was lamenting the fast that they changed the recipe on that many years ago, too. The original was so much better…but Super Skrunch beat them both.

    • Tim says:

      Mine too!
      Miss the Oompaa’s Too

  13. Tami martin says:

    This was my favorite candy bar. I wish they would bring it back. There’s nothing like it out there that is this good.

  14. Patricia Ford says:

    Absolutely the best candy bar ever lots of fond memories would love to see a comeback

  15. Spurwing Plover says:

    I used to buy them when they first came out totaly enjoyed them

  16. Kelly noble says:

    I loved the skrunch bar…! I was just thinking about it, and decided to look it up on the Internet to see if it was still sold somewhere. I used to eat it all the time in the mid 70’s til the end of the 70’s. Used to grocery shop with my mom in grade school and she would let me pick a candy bar. It would either be skrunch or a marathon bar which wasn’t made by wonka but was tasty anyway! LoL.thought about the skrunch bar a lot over the yrs. Knowing my kids and grandkids will never know how good they were…that’s sad.

  17. WENDY MATCHEN says:

    This was my FAVORITE candy. I was just a wee lass but I remember it well. By the time I got old enough to have my first job, it wasn’t around anymore. 🙁 I wish they’d bring it back. I mean even if just like for an anniversary or put them out for the holidays. I have found a few recipes online that try to mimic it. Really liked reading this. Maybe we could start a petition. lol. Be about like my attempt at getting mars to bring back the coconut m & ms. 😉

  18. Chris F says:

    I loved this candy bar. My 3rd grade teacher Mr. Foose read us the book and then one day hid one in each of our pencil boxes. I hadn’t seen my box since day one of school but he carefully dug it out from behind my papers put the candy bar in the box and re-buried it behind all the junk in my desk. Great memories! I can almost taste it when I saw the picture of the wrapper. They need to bring this back.

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