It’s always fun for me to discover some piece of candy history that I was never aware of before – and such was the case with Hershey’s M&M’s-like product, Hershey-ets.
Introduced sometime in the early 1950’s, it seems clear that they were intended to be a direct competitor to M&M’s. A small, candy-coated round tablet of chocolate in multiple colors. They’re still around today, at least during certain times of the year, but even so, you may have never heard of them. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
Here are the historical Hershey-ets pieces I’ve been able to bring together.
First up is a package that I believe represents the earliest style put on sale. It features a “new” call-out right on the wrapper:
I think you’ll agree that the color and type work are quite evocative of the era they were created in. I can also show you a later-run proof of this wrapper that lacks the “New” designation:
Here’s a mint-flavored version from this same era. Though these don’t actually call themselves Hershey-ets on the wrapper, it’s pretty clear that’s what they are:
Hershey-ets were also sold boxed in the 1950’s as you can see here:
Like so many confections through the years, Hershey sold Hershey-ets through 5-cent vending machines. I’m fortunate to have an example of a vending insert card for one:
That classic 1950’s package design would eventually see a major refresh in 1963, as indicated in this candy trade news clipping:
I’ve been hunting for one of those 1963 packs for a few years to no avail. Eventually I’ll track one down but for now I’ll share an example from a friend’s collection:
From what I’ve found, by the 1970’s Hershey-ets were no longer being sold in standard-size candy packs. At least not here in the United States. I have tracked down a standard-sized candy box that was still being sold in Canada in the 1970’s. It’s quite a departure from what was seen in the USA, and I like it quite a lot.
As I said at the top of today’s post, Hershey-ets are still being produced, but you might not notice them unless you do a bit of baking. Here’s an example of a Hershey-ets package that you might have found in the 1970’s or 1980’s:
The other place you might recognize Hershey-ets from would be holiday tubes from Hershey. I feel like I never see them, but my good friend Cybele over at CandyBlog.net did a fantastic write up of them back in 2009. She features the current version of Hershey-ets and also does a direct comparison to current M&M’s – check it out here.
So, Hershey-ets started as a competitor to M&M’s and while they didn’t find long-term footing in that area, they would eventually find their own way in the world of candy.
Of course, Hershey’s haven’t thrown in the towel on the candy-coated chocolate category. Not by a long-shot. If you’ve visited a candy isle in the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly encountered Hershey’s latest answer to M&M’s; their lineup of candy-coated Pieces. Building on the success of Reese’s Pieces, they’ve now got York Peppermint Pieces, Almond Joy Pieces, and Hershey’s with Almond Pieces. But that’s an article for another day.
For now, that’s everything I have on Hershey’s original answer to M&M’s – Hershey-ets.
See you next time!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Hershey’s chocolate, but there was always something off about those Hersheyettes in the Holiday candy cane tubes. They just didn’t taste like M&Ms and were always a disappointment for me at Christmas.
I just have to say that I always found Hershey’s Hershey-ets to taste so much better than M&M’s. In fact I won’t even eat M&M’s at all. With Hershey-ets I can’t stop eating them as they are almost addictive. The best taste ever. I just wish they were more readily available. I always ask anyone going to Hershey in PA to bring back a few bags for me. I just recently got 3 bags and they are all gone. I’m ready for more.
I’m with you, I love Hersheyettes and stock up on them at Christmas, they seemed to taste a little different this year, oh well
Surely you jest ….
I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with you on that Tom. I was the other way, when I was younger I would look forward to getting the “imitation M&M’s” in the cool crazy tubes during the holidays. And I still do. They definitely do taste different from M&M’s. In my opinion, the chocolate used by Hershey is better “in favor and flavor” than that used by Mars.
To each their own.
I agree that the chocolate in Hershey-ets has a much better flavor than that used in M&M’s. Maybe is they had an easier name to remember them by they would be more popular. I always look for the tubes and candy canes filled with Hershey-ets around the holiday season. They also have the larger size “eggs” around Easter time made by Hershey. They are great as well.
Steve I agree with you. I think Hershey-ets are better than the m&m’s. I tried to get a can of them from Hershey but they don’t have any. So I just have to be satisfied with the cane.
I had a craving recently, so I went to the Hershey’s website.
They’re there, but listed as not being available RIGHT NOW.
I’m guessing then it’s a Thanksgiving/Christmastime kinda treat. lol
I’m gonna check again in a month, so try that too.
where can I buy Hershey-etts. I love them and can only find them at Christmas.
The Hershey Store website.
I’d give you the link right here, but I’ve never posted here before today,
so I don’t know what the policy is on that: some blogs don’t allow it at all.
But just google: “Hershey store online” and it’ll be the first result.
my kids can’t eat M &M’s because of thier allergies but they can eat Hershey-et’s but I can never find them. Does anyone know where I can grab a few bags?
Google “Hershey store online” around November-ish.
I love the Hershey-ets, too. I buy the holiday ones, but hate throwing out the plastic containers. It’s so wasteful. I wish we could just get them in bags, like before.
The key feature of the early Hershey-ettes was their football shape. As a kid
I remember playing with them because of their shape. I think the outer shell of these football Hershey-ettes was harder than the M&M candy shell. Note, too, the light green packaging — very rare color for food packaging, then or now!
You can get the “ets” at beulahs candy land on ebay. They sell them in various sizes.
Hershey-Ets are still available at Chocolate World in Hershey PA. they are $5.99/17oz bag, found next to the one register. they are in a clear poly bag and red n green Hershey-ets. I love both, but if i had to choose-it’s Hershey-ets for me.
Growing up with M&M’s i prefer the Hershey-ets taste. However i hate the taste of the ones in the Christmas candy cane like tubes.
Some years ago, when Giant Foods named the Hershey Bears hockey rink, The Giant grocery stores had Hershey-Ets on the shelves for about a month then they disappeared again.
I heard a story a few decades ago, that a conversation occurred between the two companies that if Hershey didn’t pull their “ets” then M&M Mars was going to produce a similar product to the Reese’s peanut butter cup. Don’t know if that is true. Has anyone else heard that?
I had no idea that Hersheyets were still around! What a fun trip down memory
land! I remember as a kid touring the Hershey factory during one summer family vacation. We were all given a bag of the candies at the end of the tour. I haven’t seen them since! Thanks for all the info and I’ll see if I can find some in my area.
In 2003 I found an original package from 1954 (the mint green paper) balled up in the pocket of a pair of vintage Levi’s I purchased at a Salvation Army in Las Vegas. I still have both the packaging and the jeans!
“HERSHEY*ets”: THE greatest confection on God’s green Earth ….
Great link regarding ‘Hershey-ets’…Lots of comments, facts and…
Tried those christmas ones a couple years ago. Bought the last 3 canes at a Kmart in February (who knows they might have been 10 years old) but they did not taste the same. Just had my first Easter Eggs this year and they don’t quite taste as I remembered them either. Funny I had remembered the ones in Vietnam as being as being triangle shaped but after viewing your pictures, they were more football shaped………Bring them back!
The newer third version of ‘Hershey-ets’ (those since 2007) in the plastic candy canes and in bulk aren’t the same as the second version. They use the same nasty artificial tasting Hershey ‘chocolate’ as the ‘Kissables’ reformulation did. I still have a few bulk bags left from Hershey I bought a few years ago but I can’t stomach them.
Tell HERSHEY to PLEASE put the newly reformulated REAL Hershey chocolate in the REAL original shell and return to making REAL ‘Hershey-ets’ again.
I Remember hershey m & m peanuts they were the best they were smaller than the m & m now and they had the best taste of peanuts and chocolate I ever tasted
You are correct they did taste better. Hershey’s used spanish peanuts (smaller) in their peanut Hersheyets.
What about Brach’s Chocolate Jots? No one’s mentioned them. They were my favorite.
Well, for my part, I didn’t have anything on Brach’s Jots when I originally put this piece together. They certainly deserve mention.
I’ve since published some vintage Brach’s sales catalogs that feature them. You can see some Brach’s Jots here:
And I’d love to some day add some of the vintage packaging for Jots to my archives. Until then, at least I’ve got those catalogs.
Thanks for bringing them up!
wanted to let you know I bought a 5 pound bag of hershey-ets on amazon last week…
When I first ate Hershey ets, it was heaven. And I enjoyed them until one day I realized they weren’t around anymore. But unlike some other things I grew up with no longer here ( like the cereal “Jets”)’ I’m VERY glad they’re seasonal at least. And my wife and I both look forward to them every Christmas. They’re GGggrrreeeaat !!!!
I wish I could find the original Hershey-ettes all year long instead of having to wait until Christmas and buy them in the Candy Cane container. The tastes is much better than m & m’s…although m & m’s are not bad I just prefer the taste of Hershey-ettes. If we storm the Hershey Candy Co. maybe they will bring them back in their original shape (which I can now prove to my son-in-law I was right about ) 2 chocolate chips back to back. Need to run out and buy more Christmas Hershey-ettes before they are sold out~~~~
This year’s (2018) Hershey-ets have finally, after 10+ years, returned to the original milk chocolate formulation. Someone was listening.
You can find them here all year round
There is some truth to what you are saying regarding ‘Hershey-ets’ in the tubes…They won’t admit it publicly, but Hershey changed the recipe used in making the chocolate used in the ‘Ets’ about 8-10 years ago for a few years…They weren’t the same in taste or ‘meltability’ in the mouth (tasted waxy). They saw the error of the ways and went back to the more original chocolate formula…’Kissables’ were an good interim product but they took those away.
Just my observation as a ‘Hershey-ets’ fanatic since when they almost looked like little footballs in the ’50’s…