Friday, September 19, 2008

ReeseSticks (Revisit)

ReeseSticksI went on a strange little odyssey. It all started with an interview I was prepping for with NBC’s Today show. Hershey’s was changing some of their products, swapping out real milk chocolate for coatings that used other oils instead of the native cocoa butter in chocolate.

I gathered up all the products I could find, including the ReeseSticks (previous review here). I found the single serve package at the drug store, but it was expired and I didn’t think that was fair, so I found this Reese’s Lovers Assortment (photo here) at CVS’s freshly stocked Halloween aisle. I found exactly what I wanted ... but I was a little surprised because the front of the package said that the ReeseSticks were crispy wafers | peanut butter | milk chocolate.

Well, that didn’t match what I had. This is happy news, right? The milk chocolate is back!

But when I opened up my Reese’s Lovers Assortment I was more than disappointed. The little single finger packages of ReeseSticks were quite clear, they said only crispy wafers | peanut butter. What are they pulling?

Reese's Lover's Assortment - Inside & Out

Well, I’ve already bought them, so I may as well try them and add them to my list of re-reviewed items.

Flipping over the bag, they do list all the ingredients for the products separately and though the front and both sides of the package mention milk chocolate, the ingredients tell the full story:

Sugar, peanuts, wheat flour, vegetable oil (cocoa butter, palm, shea, sunflower and/or safflower oil), chocolate, dextrose, whey, nonfat milk, cocoa butter, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (palm kernel and/or palm oil), salt, palm kernel oil, milk fat, soy lecithin, corn starch, leavening, TBHQ, vanillin.

The old ingredients (courtesy of Mike’s Candy Wrappers) from 2003:

Milk chocolate (sugar, cocoa butter, milk, nonfat milk, milk fat, lactose, soy lecithin & pgpr), peanuts, wheat flour, sugar, dextrose, cocoa butter, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (contains palm kernel and palm oil), salt, palm kernel oil, leavening, soya lecithin and TBHQ and citric acid.


The little sticks in the assortment are a little smaller than the regular twin pack. These are .6 ounces each, but are still pretty substantial feeling.

The possibly-chocolate coating (well, the ingredients say that there may be cocoa butter in there and no other oils) looks pretty good, a little greasy but a nice medium color. It smells like peanuts and Easter grass. Sweet and artificial and, well, comforting.

Unless chilled the coating was pretty soft and sticky. The crunch of the foamy and flavorless wafers allowed the peanut butter to come through. Without much chocolate flavor, these reminded me of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch, without all the sharp mouth-wounding bits. It’s pretty salty though, saltier than I would like. (135 mgs in a current twin pack versus 110 mgs in the original one.)

Overall, I prefer the memory of the real chocolate one - less salty and I recall it having some chocolate flavor input. I don’t like ingredients lists that tell me what might be in there in there. I don’t want to eat palm oil, I want cocoa butter. But it’s still a pretty good candy product and not as noticeable a change as the Kissables.

Final note: Though the package deceptively promised me milk chocolate in my ReeseSticks, it also said that the Fast Break was not real chocolate on the outside ... but on the inside and the reverse of the package it was.

Related Candies

  1. Revisit: Take 5, Sunkist Fruit Gems & Snickers Almond
  2. Hershey’s Miniatures
  3. Kissables (Reformulated)
  4. Reese’s Whipps
  5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Line
  6. Reese’s Sticks
Name: ReeseSticks
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Hershey's
Place Purchased: CVS (Farmers Market)
Price: $4.99
Size: 18.1 ounces package - .6 ounces per stick
Calories per ounce: 153
Categories: Mockolate, Peanuts, Cookie, United States, Hershey's, Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:16 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I saw this on the news this morning. Crazy!

    Comment by Tina on 9/19/08 at 3:57 am #
  2. Wow, what a sad day for Hershey.  Are their profits down that far that they have to cheapen their product?  If the news crews hadn’t picked up on it, who knows how long it would have been before we found out.  I think it’s a bit shady to be so sublte about the packaging.  I wont eat the mocolate.  smile  Thanks for keeping us up to speed.

    Comment by Wil on 9/19/08 at 6:21 am #
  3. HI Cybele! Great hit on the Today Show! Congrats
    I’m happy to know someone so famous!

    BTW - did you ever explore the ‘rumor” that since the large (4”) kisses are now produced in Mexico that they have added a significant amount more of parafin so they don’t melt in shipment?

    All the best,

    Joe B

    Comment by Joe on 9/19/08 at 7:48 am #
  4. Hi Cybele,
    Just wanted to say, you were great on the Today Show this morning!

    Comment by Jane on 9/19/08 at 12:03 pm #
  5. Caught your interview on the Today show! Very impressive (though not impressive that 50% of people on the street preferred mockalate to chocolate).

    I never tried these, as much as I love peanut butter. It’s nice to know that they still hold up all right, but it’s so disappointing what’s happening to Hershey…

    Comment by Debby on 9/19/08 at 3:41 pm #
  6. Candy manufacturers need to consider the consequences of using unsustainable palm oil and its derivatives in their products. The unsustainable production of palm oil represents the single greatest threat to the survival of the orangutan in the wild. Please write to the manufacturer so your favorite candies and ask them to source their palm oil from sustainable sources only (only one plantation has been certified as sustainable so far) or to use a sustainable alternative.
    Find out more at or
    Michelle Desilets
    International Campaigns Director
    Borneo Orangutan Survival International

    Comment by Michelle Desilets on 9/19/08 at 11:53 pm #
  7. Does not surprise me on bit! I have stopped eating any Hershey product since they have moved production from Hershey,PA to Mexico! Another company that has sold its soul.

    Comment by EJ on 9/21/08 at 12:22 pm #
  8. Cybele's avatar

    EJ - Hershey’s didn’t move their Hershey, PA produced production to Mexico. They did close their Canadian and California factories (and two small ones in Reading & CT).

    The Hershey PA factory is still chugging away. (Though they did outsource production of some of the raw cocoa, but that’s still done in the US.)

    Michelle - thanks for the links.

    Debby - I don’t know about you, but I detest blind taste tests, I sure wanna know what I’m eating before I say that I “prefer” it.

    Tina & Jane - thanks for stopping by since the show!

    Joe B - I’m looking into it.

    Wil - the odd thing is that Hershey’s is still making huge profits. I guess not huge enough for their stockholders.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/21/08 at 12:47 pm #
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