Where did Reese's Pieces come from?
Ever wonder how the iconic candy from E.T. made it's way into the world?
As it turns out the special sweet made by Hershey's has quite the interesting history that we never knew about. Here's 5 confectionery facts about Reese's Pieces you should know
5 Reese's Pieces Facts Every Candy Lover Needs To Know
1. The original concept for Reese’s Pieces was derived from another Hershey’s Product called Hershey-Ets.
Before there were ever Reeses Pieces there were Hershey-Ets. A small chocolate delight that was about the size of a dime, Hershey-Ets was Hershey’s first attempt at making a bite-sized “panned candy” which was essentially a sugar-coated seal that would help contain the chocolate in the middle of the candy.
Hershey-Ets were developed during the 1950s but found little to no popularity amongst U.S. candy consumers as it was a near duplicate of M&Ms without the colorful shells. So Hershey’s set out to develop a new recipe that would help them stand out amongst the crowd of chocolate lovers which led them to swap the chocolatey center for a peanut butter center instead.
2. Hershey’s had to hire a private group of scientists to make the peanut butter filling for Reese’s Pieces.
Making this new peanut butter center proved to be no easy task. Initially, Hershey's thought it could simply take the wildly popular peanut butter center from Reese’s candy and swap it into the middle of the hard chocolate shell. They were wrong.
When it came to the panning process, the heat used to shape the outer chocolate shell would melt the peanut butter to the point of oozing out the sizes, leaving the small snack looking like a deformed sort of kibble rather than the clean, crisp, and colorful Reese's Pieces that we know and love today.
After much trial and error, Hershey’s hired a private group of scientists to find a new peanut butter recipe that could withstand the heat from panning and maintain the iconic shape that would become Reese’s Pieces. Through months of research and testing, scientists developed a peanut-butter-flavored penuche—a fudge-like candy—filling that held up against heat and helped maintain the shape of the Reeses Pieces.
3. Reese’s Pieces was not the original candy pitched in the blockbuster hit E.T.
Remember the 1982 blockbuster hit film, ET? Can you remember what candy Elliot shared with his alien friend? Well, as it turns out, Steven Spielberg didn’t intend to put Reese’s Pieces in the legendary film.
Matter of fact, the original pitch for the candy used in those scenes was M&Ms. After pitching the concept to M&Ms, the brand turned down the opportunity citing a desire to distance itself from the alien concept. So Speilberg turned to Hershey’s with the same and the candy brand came back with a resounding yes.
Hershey’s accepted an offer to be in the movie via trade promotions, consumer promotions, and exclusive displays featuring ET and in return, an exclusive in the confectionery field for promotion and advertising. When ET hit theaters on June 11, 1982, it was a smash hit and Reese’s Pieces was all the rage from the film. As a result, sales for Reese’s Pieces increased by over 300%.
4. Hershey’s expanded the Pieces line after the wild success of the Reese's Pieces.
With the help of ET as well as the expanding reputation of Hershey’s Reese’s Pieces became a critical part of the candy cultural zeitgeist. Anywhere you went you could find Reese’s Pieces. Candy stores, groceries, convenience stores, movie theaters—the handheld peanut butter treat was omnipresent and on the minds of candy lovers all across the United States.
With this newfound popularity, Hershey’s saw an opportunity to double down on Reese’s Pieces success with additions to the “Pieces” line of products. This included York Peppermint Pattie Pieces, Hershey's Special Dark Pieces, and Almond Joy Pieces. Then in 2010, they premiered another smash hit candy, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almond Pieces.
5. Orange is the most popular Reese’s Pieces color for a reason.
If you’ve ever put away an entire pack of Reese’s Pieces–which most of us have, let’s be honest—then you might have noticed a little bit extra of one specific color. No, this wasn't by chance, it’s actually intentional on Reese’s part.
The candy brand is known for its iconic orange color, so when it comes time to produce the bite-sized candy, almost 50% of the entire run is orange accompanied by 25% yellow and 25% brown. So next time you look at your hands at the end of a snack session, just know that the orange tint is there on purpose and you shouldn’t try your luck at the lottery that day.
Is your sweet tooth craving some Reese's Pieces?
Grab yourself a pack in our digital aisles and enjoy the childhood treat that you remember!