Hershey's shrunk!
February 24, 2005 10:18 PM   Subscribe

What on earth happened to Hershey Bars?

Has anyone else noticed that Hershey bars are thinner? I can't find any info on it. What's the deal?
posted by shmegegge to Food & Drink (20 answers total)
Is the net weight of the bar more/less than 1.55OZ (43g)? A GIS indicates all the standard Hershey milk choloclate bars weigh that amount, even the ones with the new wrappers.
posted by fourstar at 10:37 PM on February 24, 2005

they are thinner in Canada too, and they don't taste as pure-chocolaty as they used to. More waxy now than in my youth. So this is clearly a case of 'the food is bad, and the portions are small'
posted by seawallrunner at 10:42 PM on February 24, 2005

I have not liked Hershey for quite awhile. It may be urban myth but I heard that to qualify as choc in the US you have to have at least 1% chocolate, while some EU countries have a much higher threshold
posted by edgeways at 10:53 PM on February 24, 2005

I stopped eating Hershey bars a couple years ago when I stopped eating sugar, but I realized that I haven't actually had a full sized Hershey bar since they stopped using the foil/paper wrapper combo. So I can't tell you if they've shrunk any, but I'm willing to bet that the new wrapper makes an impact on that taste/smell situation. One of my fondest food memories is that rush of Hershey's chocolate smell when you opened one from the old wrappers.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:10 PM on February 24, 2005

I've been hearing about this for a bit now....

Here is another forum thread about it....
posted by Espoo2 at 11:31 PM on February 24, 2005

Tangent: "DAILY COCOA STATISTICS" from the New York Board of trade // Decrease in quality due to price fluxuations in the cost of cocoa?
posted by fourstar at 11:38 PM on February 24, 2005

I'm pretty sure this happens to all kinds of products on a regular basis. They still sell at the same price, but the grams-per-cent ratio decreases. Just a way for a company to make a few extra centavos of profit. I've noticed the same thing with Pop Tarts, Pizza Rolls and Frozen Burritos. Man, I need to eat healthier foods.
posted by sciurus at 3:27 AM on February 25, 2005

wait a minute, sciurus. Are you trying to say that this is normal market activity? I mean, this sounds like they're selling less candy for the same money! That... That doesn't make any sense at all!

Oh wait...
posted by shmegegge at 3:55 AM on February 25, 2005

One theory is that candy makers are using the recent "fight against obesity" meme as an excuse to reduce their portion sizes.

"Look! We're helping the world lose weight!"
posted by jeremias at 4:00 AM on February 25, 2005

This is not an answer, but I feel it belongs here anyway. If you're unhappy with the Hershey's size and / or flavor, try an organic foods store for some real actual awesome chocolate. It's a bit pricier than the Hershey's, but when you find 70% cacao bars you realize what you've been missing. Hershey's to me really seems like they're making up for less cacao by adding more sugar, and the chocolate flavor that I'm after is more about chocolate and less about sweet.

If you're more into the Hershey's classic flavor look for some of the 30% cacao milk chocolate bars instead of the more bitter dark chocolate.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:40 AM on February 25, 2005

among those, definitely consider Scharffen Berger & Valrhona
posted by leotrotsky at 6:44 AM on February 25, 2005

I was just talking with some people the other night about general product shrinkage. Egg rolls were mentioned. Dove bars used to be gigantic.

I really miss M&M paper packaging, and the old Hershey paper packaging. I think they went through a couple incarnations, smoothing the edges, and then shrinking, and then going full plastic wrap.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2005

A recent trip to the store also revealed to me that Hostess Cupcakes are now smaller and taste like chemicals. Yuck.
posted by VulcanMike at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2005

Mmmm.... Valrhona.
posted by rocketman at 8:13 AM on February 25, 2005

Consumer products, especially food products (but also consumables like shampoo, etc.) have to rise in price occasionally because of inflation. Things like chocolate bars, which people expect to cost a certain, stable price are difficult to price upward when necessary.

One approach is to decrease the actual cost of the item by shrinking it slightly -- this happens with candy and other items sold in one 'piece'. Other products, especially those sold in fluid volumes (shampoo, say) and those sold in quantities (like diapers) tend to either adjust quantity downwards or, and this is the sneaky bit, increase the size but increase the price out of proportion to the size (e.g. a 15% increase in volume and a 20% increase in price).

Adjusting cost downwards by decreasing the quality of the product also works well, especially in combination with another strategy.
posted by onshi at 9:15 AM on February 25, 2005

A recent trip to the store also revealed to me that Hostess Cupcakes are now smaller and taste like chemicals. Yuck.

All too true, and it's good to have confirmation on that...I had thought it was just me! They're a lot drier, too, which is what really chaps me. Those damn cupcakes were the best guilty pleasure.

Oh well. As long as Hostess keeps putting crack in the powdered mini-donut topping, I'm happy. (Only half-joking; I really want to know what they do to those things to make them so compulsively snackable.)
posted by Vervain at 10:30 AM on February 25, 2005

And keep in mind that Hershey (and other candy-bar producers) are typically using low-quality slavery chocolate in their product. It's an unethical purchase.

Besides, good chocolate isn't much more expensive than crap chocolate. You should have no problem at all finding 70+% cacoa bars; they'll typically be either European-made or boutique-made organics/fair-trade.

I had a Black&Green (or is it Green&Black) the other day. O.M.G. (But it was quite expensive, compared to Lindt 70% or Denman fair trade.)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:32 AM on February 25, 2005

Re: hostess cupcakes

City Cuisine has a recipe for them that's about 20 times better than the real thing.
posted by electro at 12:36 PM on February 25, 2005

Care to post it?
posted by five fresh fish at 7:05 PM on February 25, 2005

Just in case anyone is still reading (I happened to be searching for something else, and found this):

70% cocoa solids is not an indication of quality. It is an indication of fashion. Quality of chocolate is more truly indicated by the ingredients not including 'vegetable fat' as opposed to real cocoa butter.

Some people like 70% cocoa solids. Okay. But this is not something people who prefer milk chocolate will tend to appreciate. It is much more bitter! Consider that more ordinary-strength quality dark chocolate runs 48%* cocoa solids, a stronger chocolate at 56%*. Neither of these will please someone looking for quality milk chocolate (like the traditional Hershey's Bar). These are dark or semisweet chocolate.

The bars made by increasing amounts of cocoa solids obviously must reduce the cocoa butter content. This is going to actually make the bar cheaper! I bet they don't tell you that on the price. Cocoa butter is valuable stuff, used also in pharmaceuticals. Hence you have low quality chocolate bars made with 'vegetable fat' instead of cocoa butter. And the high-cocoa content bars also sacrifice the silky smooth texture that makes chocolate the "Food of the Gods".

I'll also add, chocolate that doesn't tell you what % is cocoa solids (or cocoa mass) may be hiding something you'd rather not know. Such a label is illegal in Belgium, where the best chocolate in the world is made.

* Example used are Cote d'Or Noir Pure and Noir de Noir (the stronger). The preferred chocolate in my Belgian/American household.

More about chocolate here.
posted by Goofyy at 5:36 AM on March 9, 2005

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