Friday, August 22, 2008

Hershey’s Miniatures

Hershey's MiniaturesHershey’s Miniatures were introduced in 1929. At that time the assortment was pretty much the same: Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, Krackel and Mr. Goodbar. (Though Hershey’s made a bar called Semi Sweet, the present iteration, a dark version didn’t find its way into the mix until the Special Dark came along.)

Hershey’s bills the mix as A little something for everyone (r).

I remember as a kid getting these in both my trick-or-treat haul and my Christmas stocking. They’re a great mix of candy because even though everyone has their favorites (and my rankings for them have changed over the years), even if you don’t like all of them it’s pretty easy to find someone to trade with.

Each piece is a nice size, two bites for those who prefer to savor or one big bite for those looking for a quick fix.

Hershey's Miniatures

I wasn’t sure when I picked up the bag if they have a consistent mix, so I documented mine. It actually feels like a good proportion: 11 Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and 6 each of the Krackel, Mr. Goodbar and Special Dark.

This particular bag was 9.2 ounces, they’re available in a wide variety of sizes though and often in bulk bins at large grocery stores.

imageIt’s hard to approach a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar without some sort of personal history. Those of us who have grown up on them know the flavor pretty well, though I don’t think most of us think much about it. Those who taste Hershey’s for the first time as adults though have expressed strong dislike for the taste and/or texture. All I can say is that it’s distinctive and they wouldn’t keep making it if someone didn’t like it well enough to keep buying it.

It has a sweet smell, a bit milky and dare I say, cheesy (feta) and milky. There are also notes of black pepper and caramel.

One of the nice things about the Miniatures is that the bar is thicker, so a bite (half the bar), is a nice mouthful that give more opportunity to revel in the flavors and textures. The milk chocolate is rather fudgy, not quite firm even a room temperature. It dents instead of chipping or flaking and is more likely to bend than snap. It’s a little grainy like a fudge, but the particle size is small. The flavors are strong, it’s sweet without burning the throat and has some mellow cocoa notes mixed with that inimitable tangy yogurt flavor of Hershey’s along with some toffee and maybe a touch of hazelnut.

I hate to sound like an old fart, but I think it was better before. I think something happened that it became grainier.

It sounds like I hate the stuff, but I don’t. I feel the same way about it as I do for things like Fritos, American cheese, grape soda and Fudgesicles. They’re really not that good, but I love them anyway.

All I can do is hope they don’t make it worse and give them a 6 out of 10.

imageThe Special Dark bar was introduced in 1971. I always liked the packaging, but not the bar itself. It looked rich and sophisticated, which appealed to the part of me that yearned for status that could be bought for 20 cents at the corner shop. But to actually eat one as a child was akin to eating raw fish, I just didn’t have it in me. Yet.

Similar to the milk bar, this one also has a slightly soft snap.

It smells sweet, a little woodsy.

The texture is rather chalky and doesn’t melt into a creamy puddle in my mouth. Instead it just tastes sweet and more like hot cocoa made with water than real rich chocolate ... there’s a thin-ness to it all, probably because Hershey’s now uses milk fat.

There’s a dry finish with a slight metallic bite to it.

So while I’ve come to love and prefer dark chocolate, this is like eating cheap chocolate chips to me. A diversion while I wait for the better choice ... like those freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or a wonderful single origin Ocumare bar.

Rating: 4 out of 10

imageMr. Goodbar was introduced in 1925. Later, during the depression, the bar was sold as “a tasty lunch” back when meal replacement bars were simply candy bars. (And it’s still not a bad idea if you get a really nutty bar.)

Even though the bars are smaller these days and don’t cost a nickel, it’s tempting to think that this bar is unchanged since Milton Hershey started producing it.

Sadly it’s not a war or a depression that’s change Mr. Goodbar. I can’t say what The Hershey Company is thinking these days but they’ve changed it. Mr. Goodbar is no longer a chocolate bar.

Instead he’s a silly oiled up shadow of what he used to be. The description of the bar was more recently peanuts in milk chocolate but is now just made with chocolate and peanuts.

The bar looks the same as ever. A milky, chocolatey sheen with little peanuts peeking through. It smells like deep roasted peanuts and sugar. (More like peanut brittle than a chocolate product.)

The flavor is overwhelmingly peanut. The peanuts are roasted dark too, so there’s a slight burnt taste to it that I think is meant to mask the nonexistent chocolate.

Yes, this mockolate is shallow and unimpressive. The texture isn’t all that different from the Milk Chocolate bar, but it has a different melt. It’s cool on the tongue. It’s actually salty (looking over the ingredients in the old recipe and the new, salt now appears).

For a mockolate bar, it’s quite passable. For a time tested icon it’s a travesty. I don’t care how depressed I am or the country might be, this is not a tasty lunch.

Rating: 4 out of 10.

imageKrackel, I’m told, is the last candy bar that Milton Hershey developed that still exists today.

It went through a few changes over the years, when introduced in 1938 it had nuts and crisped rice but by the late 40s it was a simple crisped rice and milk chocolate bar. (The packaging was also similar to the Mr. Goodbar, sporting a yellow stripe and brown instead of its present red.)

Today the bar is all but gone. The full size has been discontinued (2006), only the miniature remains. To add insult to injury, the bar isn’t crisped rice in milk chocolate, no, now it’s made with chocolate and crisped rice.

One of the things the Krackel bar has had going for it over the years, especially in the miniature size is the crisped rice. They’re big crisped rice pieces. Nestle Crunch has moved to some sort of BB-sized rice product that just doesn’t deliver the depth of crunch or the malty & salty taste.

The crisp is definitely there, the malty flavor peeks through. But the


mockolate, oh this isn’t even worthy of being wrapped up and called R.M. Palmer.

I’ve given away four of these little bars and asked people what they think to people who profess that the Krackel is their favorite in the miniatures assortment. I didn’t preface it with anything, yet they all recognized that this was terrible. Empty, vapid, lacking all chocolate flavor, no creamy component and no puddle of chocolate ooze melting so that all that’s left is the rice crisps.

I was curious how mock this mockolate was but I am simply unable to get the information out of Hershey’s. (Read more about that experience here.) It’s just disgusting that Hershey’s, the Great American Chocolate Bar company, is making this ... they should have just let this bar die a natural death than let it be zombified into this mess.

Rating: 1 out of 10

There is nothing to do but simply stop buying this deplorable product. 12 out of the 29 bars (41%) here are not even chocolate and yet I’m paying chocolate prices!

If you like the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate, I’d suggest getting just the snack sized bars, they’re a little bigger, but at least you don’t end up with any Krackels or Mr. Goodbars and you get more value for your money. (Unless you were looking for some individually wrapped & solidified cooking oils.)

Related Candies

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  3. The Shame of Some “Healthy” Candy
  4. Whoppers Twosomes
Name: Hershey's Miniatures
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: Rite Aid (Echo Park)
Price: $3.29
Size: 9.2 ounces
Calories per ounce: 138
Categories: Chocolate, Mockolate, Peanuts, Crisp, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 8:47 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. luminamo's avatar

    I thought I had become some sort of a candy snob. Good to know the candy is changing and not me.

    Comment by luminamo on 8/22/08 at 8:57 am #
  2. confused by one of your statements:

    “To add insult to injury, the bar isn?t crisped rice in milk chocolate, no, now it?s made with chocolate and crisped rice.”

    Not sure what the difference is? looks like a change from “in” to “and.” I don’t doubt that you are correct and the formulation has gone to pot, but just not sure from your phraseology exactly what happened.

    I used to love Krackels and they WERE the best bar in the bag of miniatures… but haven’t had them in years because, lets face it, Hershey’s chocolate is crap. (just one step above American Nestle, which burns my throat.)

    Comment by Karyn on 8/22/08 at 9:35 am #
  3. Cybele's avatar

    Karyn - the distinction is a legal one. The old bar was simply milk chocolate and crisped rice (which was made with rice, salt and malt). That was all that was in there.

    The new bar, while it may contain chocolate, is not a chocolate bar, because it also has other fats in there ... if the Mr. Goodbar is any indication, there’s very little chocolate at all. (Again, I’m guessing, but why would they follow the letter of the law if it was still real milk chocolate?)

    I believe that Hershey’s doesn’t want you to be able to perceive the meaning of the difference in their wording either until after you’ve bought it and spit it out and then get selective amnesia and buy it again.

    Comment by Cybele on 8/22/08 at 9:43 am #
  4. for the whole pool of chocolate melting into a little yummy pile of roasted rice, I can recommend the Genmai bar which is made by Jade Chocolates (local to California.) it has toasted brown rice, which makes the bar really yummy, but more important I think the texture is really lovely.

    Comment by chocoyoga on 8/22/08 at 10:04 am #
  5. Sera's avatar

    I am crying on the inside. Krackel was my favorite one. :(

    Comment by Sera on 8/22/08 at 10:43 am #
  6. ruffy's avatar

    i sampled the Genmai bar at the Celebrity Food Show in anaheim, and it was pretty good (although maybe a little too toasty for me).  lovely packaging!  but that is definitely a gourmet bar and comes with a gourmet bar price tag.  sometimes you just want cheap.  i feel like hershey’s used to be decent quality for cheap.  now it’s crap, regardless of price.

    Comment by ruffy on 8/22/08 at 10:50 am #
  7. I used to know someone who only liked the Hershey miniatures and not anything else.  So, she would eat the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate and I would eat all the Special Darks.  She would also jokingly laugh at me because I liked Krackel.

    I remember getting this stuff in Halloween baskets.  It was satisfying for a small piece of candy.  It really is sad that Hershey’s is changing their formula, especially because I was always so proud that I came from PA.

    Comment by Miriam on 8/22/08 at 3:20 pm #
  8. Wow. This is depressing. I loved the Mr. Goodbar/Krackel miniatures. Around in my area, it was the ONLY way to get a hold of those chocolate bars. Seeing them made into sad little shadows of themselves, makes my inner child sad.

    Comment by Shoes on 8/22/08 at 4:18 pm #
  9. NOOOOOOOooo…They faked up my goodbar! Mr. Goodbar was my favorite mainstream candy as a kid, no holds barred. ‘Cept for the Hershey’s with almonds, but those never had enough nuts.

    I’m sick of this ad campaign with Hershey haarping on the purity of their milk chocolate, while cheapening their product line to the extent that it ISN’T CHOCOLATE. Really, are they doing these things simultaneously so we hopefully won’t notice?

    For a company whose candy was always middle of the road anyway (to me the only advantages were consistancy, avalability, and price) these guys are really shooting themselves in the foot. I know theyre losing more of my business all the time.

    I would rather buy something off-brand to begin with than purchase an old favorite (sorta) and end up with a mouthful of hydrogenated oils. Methinks the time for a foodie boycott may be afoot. Who’s with me?

    ‘Course most of you guys moved away from hershey’s to the good stuff when your tastes grew up just a bit at, oh, eight or so years old. But really, this is uncalled for…

    Comment by zac on 8/22/08 at 4:40 pm #
  10. These candies were the ones that my grandparents always had in their candy dish.  It was always exciting to go over to their place and see them waiting for us.

    Everyone ate the krackel first, then the Mr. Goodbar and the regular milk.  The darks were the one’s always left over.  Now of course I prefer dark but back then, those were always the yucky ones you’d only eat in a pinch.

    When my grandmother died, the only thing I wanted was this fridge magnet that someone had bought her in the design of a mini-Krackel.  Just recently, my nephew was over and broke the magnet.  I didn’t get upset I just chalked it up to kids being kids - my grandmother wouldn’t have cared either.

    Comment by Melissa on 8/22/08 at 5:01 pm #
  11. It is the sad truth that NOTHING from our childhoods tastes the same.  Stuff like Oreos, Hostess cakes, and pretty much most chocolates and candies have been reformulated in some way shape or form.  As profit margins in the grocery business have diminished, manufacturers have had no choice but to reformulate to take cost out.  And then they see sales go down! Duh!  I agree with a previous reader, we need a foodie boycott here!  Nope, it’s not our adult tastes that have changed, the food companies have just gotten too greedy!

    Comment by Ariana on 8/22/08 at 5:16 pm #
  12. least they’re still good to give away at Halloween…

    Comment by Russ on 8/22/08 at 5:50 pm #
  13. I really think that it won’t be long before Hershey’s never uses real chocolate in their products again.  The day Hershey’s Milk Chocolate becomes Hershey’s Original will be a sad day indeed.

    Comment by Sterfish on 8/22/08 at 7:57 pm #
  14. I guess I’ll be the lone dissenter here. I picked up a bag of these yesterday and found them to be just fine. I did notice that the Krakel seemed a bit sweeter than unusal, but aside from that I can’t complain. Mr. Goodbar is definitely my favorite of the mix, and it didn’t disappoint.

    Comment by Nyssa on 8/22/08 at 10:06 pm #
  15. Oops, I made a few typos in my previous post. What I meant to say was: “I did notice that the Krackel seemed a bit sweeter than usual”

    Comment by Nyssa on 8/22/08 at 10:13 pm #
  16. re: Melissa’s comment, Hershey Dark’s are probably STILL the last ones taken, b/c their dark chocolate s**ks!!!

    I will say that Hershey’s more gourmet line of dark chocolate is quite good. Thank goodness Americans have finally discovered decent chocolate so I can get it at Target rather than hunting down an overpriced specialty shop.

    Cybele, thanks for the clarification. Love yer blog!

    Comment by Karyn on 8/23/08 at 4:02 am #
  17. I love chocolate, really, almost anything goes… and I really like these, my favorite of the bunch is the dark one.

    Comment by GS on 8/23/08 at 8:26 am #
  18. I make a chocolate bar much like Jade Chocolates Genmai bar - easy. Melt some Trader Joe’s belgium milk chocolate (so cheap and GOOD), sprinkle in jasmine tea and genmai teas (toasted rice + green tea). Now, wait til the end to add the tea or it will be moist… Pop into the fridge, and you have a delicious rice bar!

    Comment by Mahal on 8/23/08 at 12:57 pm #
  19. Yup, there is no decent low-to-mid-range rice krispy chocolate bar anymore. Krackle and Nestle Crunch are both gross. I’ve had the Endangered Species version and that was super waxy and unpleasant on the tongue.

    It makes me sad that when I put Hershey’s “chocolate” in my mouth it doesn’t even want to melt properly. That “Bliss” stuff isn’t the same either. So sad.

    Hmm, maybe that commenter above has an idea and I need a box of Rice Krispies and a pound-plus TJ’s bar grin

    Comment by Jenn on 8/23/08 at 6:38 pm #
  20. I’m disappointed at the mocklate changes, but are they really inedible?  You might not WANT to eat them, but I would expect them to still taste good…

    I miss the big Krackel bar.  I guess it’s been 10 years since I had one.  Nevermore.

    Comment by Dave on 8/24/08 at 4:36 pm #
  21. love this!! i love the 4 variants included in miniatures :D

    Comment by u8mypinkcookies on 8/24/08 at 7:34 pm #
  22. I recently bought a bag of the miniature mix.  My dad’s favorites were always the Mr. Goodbars.  I thought they were okay back then, but when I tried the miniature this time I almost spit it out.  I thought it was terrible.  The same could be said for the Krackel.  Those two seemed so out of place for Hershey’s.  How disappointing that Hershey’s is taking such a stance - turning out mockolate and trying to pass it off as the real thing is pretty low.

    Comment by Shelley on 8/24/08 at 8:32 pm #
  23. I recently bought a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and thought they tasted odd.  I couldn’t tell if they’d changed, or if I got a bad batch, but I already threw out the bag.  Maybe that’s the next thing to investigate?

    Comment by Soleil on 8/25/08 at 7:04 am #
  24. Well, they aren’t super cheap, but Seeds of Change makes an awesome crisped rice bar: Isle of Skye bar. You can find them at Whole Foods.

    Comment by KateC on 8/25/08 at 7:39 am #
  25. These were recently on sale at the supermarket, so I picked up a couple of bags.  The taste of most of the varieties seemed different than I remembered.  I was always a big Hershey chocolate fan. The milk chocolate was still pretty good, but Mr. Goodbar gave me an upset stomach!  Now I know why.

    Comment by candyann on 8/25/08 at 8:00 am #
  26. >It has a sweet smell, a bit milky and dare I say, cheesy (feta) and milky.

    That is exactly it. People think I’m crazy when I say that Hershey’s smells like bad cheese. I’ve never liked the stuff though.

    Comment by maggie on 8/27/08 at 6:53 am #
  27. A Ha!  That explains why I had to spit out the Krackle Bar from the company candy jar the other day.  It tasted like chalk!

    Comment by marybeth on 8/29/08 at 6:35 am #
  28. Ahhhh, so that’s why the Krackel tasted like crap when I ate one at my in-laws’ house the other day! I was wondering if I had suddenly stopped liking them or something. Grrrrr. Yeah, the “pure” campaign makes me crazy.

    Comment by Ali Marie on 9/01/08 at 4:40 pm #
  29. You know what????? Now that I think of it, Hershey chocolate has a muted flavor now, and not as robust as it used to be!  THought it was just me!  I noticed back in the day, that Hershey chocolate would make me sneeze alot…not anymore though since like last year sometime.  Gotta be the mockolate. There’s no tang to it….not the tang of a special dark which by the way tests less dark and bitter too!  But there was a robustness to a hershey bar…now its muted and bland!

    Comment by mandy_Reeves on 9/06/08 at 7:44 am #
  30. Are you sure they didn’t change the formula to the snack size herhey bars? 

    I ate a couple the other day and noticed that they didn’t taste the same at all. 

    That was before I found your sight and knew they are messing with some formulas.


    Comment by Scott on 9/19/08 at 6:58 pm #
  31. Fantasic work… Too bad I didn’t know about your efforts before MSNBC linked to your blog… Would’ve saved me from buying a couple bags of Hershey’s Miniatures bags that I then chucked because the Krackels tasted so rancid.  I’m so disappointed in the current Hershey’s management… When will executives stop messing with classic Americana like Hershey’s Milk Chocolate… MSH must be rolling in his grave.

    Comment by cp on 9/20/08 at 9:31 am #
  32. Loved yer segment on the Today Show!  I hope the bad publicity causes Hershey to reconsider its mockolate position.

    I bought some Reese’s PBCs last week - something’s changed in them over the past year or so as well. They do NOT taste anywhere near as good as they used to.  Cannot put my finger on it. I know this particular product is supposedly NOT mockolate, but it ain’t good either.

    Hope the Kisses still taste good - i really look forward to having those in the stocking at Christmas! (Despite the fact we often have good Belgian chocolate around the house at that time…)  smile

    Comment by Karyn on 9/20/08 at 12:35 pm #
  33. I was at my local Wal-mart today and saw a Hershey bar emblazoned with a NEW tag. 

    Milk Chocolate with Peanuts.

    I don’t think Mr Goodbar is long for this world.

    Comment by Sarah on 10/02/08 at 5:37 pm #
  34. All I can say is YUCK to the miniatures.  Growing up in Penna, we always had access to freshly made Hershey’s chocolates but I can say that both the Mr Goodbar and Krackel are just downright horrible now.  I refuse to buy them.  In fact, I can’t think of too many Hershey’s products I do buy anymore.  The Reese’s BIG Cup PB cups are much better than their smaller counterparts.

    Comment by Bee on 10/30/08 at 3:42 am #
  35. So that’s why the Hershey Bar Cake wasn’t good.  I thought the bars we had left over tasted incredibly waxy and unpleasant, and that explains it.

    Comment by Kitty on 5/17/09 at 9:02 am #
  36. To make matters worse, I can no longer find ANY Hershey’s Minatures that are made in Hershey.  Every store in my area (and I check every one that I go in that sells candy)only sells Minatures made in Mexico.  Sad.

    Comment by James Crisan on 12/03/09 at 7:36 am #
  37. *sigh* I remember these. My dad would buy a packet and pour them in a bowl for guests. When I was 5, I’d steal all the Krackel minis I could get - they were my favourite.

    But to hear they’re actually mockolates.. :(

    Comment by Vanillabean on 10/06/10 at 7:17 am #
  38. I don’t care for Hershey’s chocolate normally… it tastes cheap, with that whiff of baby vomit.  But every year near X-mas we buy a big bag of Hershey miniatures to use in making candy train ornaments with our kids.  Last year we had just opened the bag with scissors and dumped them out on the table, to discover that two of the bars were 1/3 eaten with rat chew marks.  Ewwwww!!!!  The bag was un-chewed, so the problem was at the factory before the bars were packaged for sale.

    Wrote to Hershey’s about it, and they sent us a coupon…. for another bag of miniatures.  Thanks, but No Thanks.  I’ve never bought another Hershey’s product again.  They can keep their rat-poo covered baby-vomit chocolate.

    Comment by Absinthe on 8/14/11 at 8:10 pm #
  39. Now I know, it isn’t just me. The Hershey miniatures suck!!! They do not taste the same as before,almost tasteless! Especially the Mr.Goodbars. I’m done with Hershey’s. Lindt Lindor makes a delicious chocolate, especially their truffles, the milk chocolate ones with the silky textured creamy white centers are to die for!!

    Comment by Cyn on 12/15/11 at 12:07 am #
  40. I’ve always been a Hershey’s chocolate bar fan, alternating between the plain bar and with almonds.  I had noticed a few years back that they just seemed more waxy than chocolaty.  So I tried a Nestle’s Crunch.  I’ve never been much of a fan of anything adulterating my chocolate bar, nuts is about as far as I like to go - and only occasionally - but something struck me right off, I could taste more cocoa in the Nestle bar than I could in the Hershey’s.  That’s the taste I really crave, cocoa, as it reminds me of being a kid and having Hershey’s hot cocoa, made from the can on the stove - with whole milk, and a big chunk of french bread dipped in it for breakfast on a cold morning…

    I’m just not getting that from the bars anymore.

    Comment by NOLA John on 1/17/12 at 2:03 pm #
  41. I also thought it was my tastebud changing and becoming a candy snob and clearly it wasn’t the tastebud alone..I remember liking Hershey bars quite a lot until about 8 years ago. And then I haven’t tried for a long time before the last time I had it around 2 years ago. At that time, it tasted so much like a rubbery sugar brick, that I never wanted to touch that stuff agian. Recently, my brother has brought a bar of Mr. Goodbar and that was proven to be another disappointment. I was hopeful that I would like the Mr. Goodbar, and it also tasted like, well this one was softer with nutty bits, so I would say sugary butter with nuts in it, with barely no chocolate flavor. I was sorely disappointed, because I thought I liked it for the nutty flavor. Despite the bar had the same nutty flavor, the chocolate just wasn’t there. No wonder I was keep looking for expensive chocolates. These manufacturers think customers can’t tell, and I guess in many cases they can’t, but we know and those of us who know will never go back.

    Comment by juststoppinby on 12/13/12 at 3:05 pm #
  42. I’m reading these reviews and my mom and I are dying laughing. We laughed some more reading about your customer service experience too. She feels the same way about Krackel.

    I’ll be back.

    Comment by Tenko on 8/25/13 at 5:16 pm #
  43. In the miniature bag :

    Too many awful awful semi sweet pieces. They taste like wax
    and are horrid. If you like dark chocolate try Doves. the others are fine but Hersey chocolate is just average at best.

    Comment by Clark Kent on 8/02/15 at 12:01 pm #
  44. Too bad, another great American Classic product totally ruined due to corporate greed. I actually thought that the store had purchased a knockoff product posing as Hershey’s. The best thing they can do is to stop selling them for good.

    Biting into a chalky gritty waxy candy and worrying if it has lead or other toxins in it… not the Hershey’s we know and love.

    Comment by zab on 9/07/16 at 1:54 pm #
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