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Candy Review: Reese’s vs. Hershey’s – The Great Milk Chocolate Peanut Bar Showdown

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Wrigley’s recent purchase by Mars is just the most recent instance of a candy company being “congloberrated” by a larger one. Though you might not realize it, many of your favorite candies were once manufactured independently of the big names that now produce them. Jolly Ranchers is just one popular example.

This also helps to explain one of the most annoying naming blunders in the history of candy. I am talking about Hershey’s and Reese’s. To the untrained eye, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong about this, but Reese’s is owned by Hershey’s. Maybe I am also a grammar addict, but I don’t like having to say Hershey’s Reese’s products.

But there is more to my rant, including a valid point. You see, as Reese’s operated on its own merits for so many years, its original products were not supposed to match Hershey’s line, as they were two different entities. Reese’s was the peanut butter candy company that carved a niche for itself with its unique flavor.

When purchased by Hershey’s in 1957, Hershey’s did not change the brand names because Reese’s was already associated with such a popular product that it would be bad marketing to make people start buying Hershey’s Peanut Cutter Cups or Hershey’s Pieces (it just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?).

Hershey’s expanded the product line, and whenever a product debuted that utilized peanut butter as one of its main components, they kept it under the original Reese’s moniker for the most part. Hence why NutRageous is a Reese’s product, despite being created in 1994, well into the Mars ownership.

This made it all especially surprising to find a Reese’s Milk Chocolate Bar sitting next to a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Peanut Butter Filling on a candy aisle in Walgreens. Excluding Peanut Butter Kisses, I had never seen Hershey venture into the world of peanut butter under its trademarked name. What was the difference between the two, which was the superior product, and why do I know this much about a candy company? All these questions were answered when I bought the bars for a dollar apiece and returned home to write my review.

Reese’s Milk Chocolate Bar

Reese’s Milk Chocolate Bar

The bar is soft, and a bit moist. From smell alone, I could blindly detect this was a Reese’s Product from the pungent peanut butter aroma. Breaking a square off, it appears that the bar is comprised of milk chocolate with strips of peanut butter inside.

The chocolate to peanut butter ratio is much more significant than a peanut butter cup, a fact I enjoyed, as you don’t need much of Reese’s peanut butter to get the point. The chocolate itself is decent, but don’t expect it to be anything better than you’d find in a standard Reese’s product. After a few pieces, the chocolate became overpowering and the back of my throat tingled spasmodically for milk.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Peanut Butter Filling

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Peanut Butter Filling

Following the example set by the Reese’s product, this one smells exactly like a Hershey’s bar would. As I broke a piece off, I noticed it was more solid and firmer, which is better because a good piece of chocolate should have some snap to it.

Unlike the Reese’s, this bar possessed a large strip of peanut butter inside. Despite its opulence, it wasn’t the strongest flavor, leaving that aspect to the chocolate. The peanut butter itself doesn’t taste like the Reese’s version, but I enjoyed it nonetheless

As far as the chocolate goes, it is almost spot-on to a Hershey’s Original, though it tasted a bit milkier than your average bar would. I appreciated how neither the chocolate nor the peanut butter overwhelmed my palate, and each flavor was evenly distributed.


So which did I prefer? Personally, I like the Hershey’s more because, to me, it’s still a chocolate bar with peanut butter (versus peanut butter candy coated in chocolate) any way you slice it, and thus, the better chocolate bar won; however, I preferred the Reese’s filling. Could there be a harmonious melding of the two over the horizon consisting of a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar with Reese’s Peanut Butter? I hope so, but only if they can manage to truncate that name.

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