Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Last updated
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Product typeConfectionery
Owner The Hershey Company
(H.B. Reese Candy Company)
Country United States
IntroducedNovember 15, 1928;90 years ago (1928-11-15) [1]
Previous owners H. B. Reese [2]
TaglineReese's ...perfect

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are an American candy consisting of a milk, white, or dark chocolate cup filled with peanut cream, marketed by The Hershey Company. They were created by H. B. Reese, a former dairy farmer and shipping foreman for Milton S. Hershey. Reese left his job as a shipping foreman for The Hershey Company to start his own candy business. [3]

Chocolate food produced from the seed of Theobroma cacao

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The Hershey Company American corporation

The Hershey Company, commonly called Hershey's, is an American company and one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world. It also manufactures baked products, such as cookies, cakes, milk shake, drinks and many more, which increase its variety of range. Its headquarters are in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which is also home to Hersheypark and Hershey's Chocolate World. It was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as the Hershey Chocolate Company, a subsidiary of his Lancaster Caramel Company. The Hershey Trust Company owns a minority stake, but retains a majority of the voting power within the company.

H. B. Reese American businessman and inventor

Harry Burnett "H. B." Reese was an American inventor and businessman known for creating the No. 1 selling candy brand in the United States, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and founding the H.B. Reese Candy Company. In 2009, he was posthumously inducted into the Candy Hall of Fame.


The H.B. Reese Candy Company

In 1928, The H.B. Reese Candy Company was established in the basement of Reese's home in Hershey, Pennsylvania. [4] Reese had originally worked at a Hershey dairy farm, and from the start he used Hershey Chocolate in his confections. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were his most popular candy, and Reese eventually discontinued his other lines. [5]

Hershey, Pennsylvania Census-designated place in Pennsylvania, United States

Hershey is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Derry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, United States. Hershey's chocolates are made in Hershey, which was founded by candy magnate Milton S. Hershey.

H. B. Reese died on May 16, 1956, in West Palm Beach, Florida passing the company to his six sons, Robert, John, Ed, Ralph, Harry, and Charles Richard Reese. [6] On July 2, 1963, the Reese brothers merged the H.B. Reese Candy Company with the Hershey Chocolate Corporation in a tax-free stock-for-stock merger. In 2017 after 54 years of stock splits, the Reese brothers' original 666,316 shares of Hershey common stock represented 16 million Hershey shares valued at over $1.8 billion that paid annual cash dividends of $46 million. [7] [8] In 1969, only 6 years after the Reese/Hershey merger, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups became The Hershey Company's top seller. [9]

West Palm Beach, Florida City in Florida

West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. It is located immediately to the west of the adjacent Palm Beach, which is situated on a barrier island across the Lake Worth Lagoon. The population was 99,919 at the 2010 census. West Palm Beach is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,158,824 people in 2017.

The H.B. Reese Candy Company is maintained as a subsidiary of Hershey because the Reese plant workforce is not unionized, unlike the main Hershey plant. In 2012, Reese's was the best-selling candy brand in the United States with sales of $2.603 billion, and was the fourth-best-selling candy brand globally with sales of $2.679 billion—only $76 million (2.8%) of its sales were from outside the United States market. Additionally, the H.B. Reese Candy Company manufactures the Kit Kat in the United States, which had 2012 U.S. sales of $948 million. [10]

Kit Kat Chocolate bar

Kit Kat is a chocolate-covered wafer bar confection created by Rowntree's of York, United Kingdom, and is now produced globally by Nestlé, which acquired Rowntree in 1988 and closed it in 2006, with the exception of the United States, where it is made under license by H.B. Reese Candy Company, a division of The Hershey Company. The standard bars consist of two or four pieces composed of three layers of wafer, separated and covered by an outer layer of chocolate. Each finger can be snapped from the bar separately. There are many different flavours of Kit Kat, including milk, white, and dark chocolate.

As of October 2017 in the U.S. convenience store channel, Reese’s was the largest confection brand by far: it was 62% larger than the next brand, with more households purchasing Reese’s than any other confection brand across the United States. Reese’s includes the overall top-selling confection item—the iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups King Size—as well as six of the top 20 chocolate/non-chocolate items. Additionally, the Reese’s brand accounts for over 47% of all seasonal sales within the U.S. convenience store channel, including the top two items in the largest four commercial seasons: Valentine's, Easter, Halloween, & Christmas. As a comparison, the next largest brand accounts for only 10% of seasonal sales. [11]


A trio of different sized cups. Starting from the left: mini, regular and big cup. Reeses-PB-Cups-Size-Trio.jpg
A trio of different sized cups. Starting from the left: mini, regular and big cup.

Hershey's produces "limited editions" of the candy that have included: [12]

Size variations

Filling variations

Coating variations

Coating and filling variations

Holiday editions

During the seasons when retailers offer holiday-themed candies, Reese's Peanut Butter candies are available in various shapes that still offer the standard confection theme of the traditional Reese's cup (peanut butter contained in a chocolate shell). They are sold in a 6-pack packaging configuration but are usually available individually. Although exterior packaging is altered to reflect the theme of the representative holiday, the actual holiday itself is never presented. [15]

Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts: Available mainly during January and February, these are heart-shaped confections representing Valentine's Day. At various retailers, an individually-packaged, larger heart is available as well. These are packaged in all-red exterior packaging.

Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs: Available mainly during March and April, these are egg-shaped confections representing Easter. Exterior packaging is usually yellow and orange (milk chocolate), white and orange (white chocolate), or dark brown and orange (fudge-flavored chocolate). This is the only holiday-themed item available in three chocolate varieties. [16]

Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins: Available mainly during September and October, these are pumpkin-shaped confections representing Halloween. The packaging is standard Reese's orange with a jack-o-lantern picture and the word "Pumpkins" prominently displayed.

Reese's Peanut Butter Ghosts: Available mainly during September and October, these are ghost-shaped confections representing Halloween. The packaging is Halloween themed with the word scary on it. The ghost replaces the letter "a" in the word scary. First released in 2016.

Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees: Available mainly during November and December, these are evergreen tree-shaped confections representing Christmas. At various retailers these may be available in standard milk chocolate or white. Initially, the packaging was green, white, and orange, but has been changed to a winter scene with a snow-covered ground and a snowman with a central large orange evergreen tree-shape in the center of the package. In November 2015, consumers criticized the product via Twitter for bearing too vague a resemblance to a Christmas tree. [17]

The above are all slightly larger than a single, ordinary Reese's Cup.

Reese's Pieces Eggs: Pastel colored candies, somewhat larger than standard Reese's Pieces. They are similar to Cadbury Candy Coated Mini Eggs. Reese's Peanut Butter Bells: These bell shaped candies are smaller than a traditional cup, but are slightly larger than a miniature cup and have a higher ratio of chocolate to peanut butter. They are sold in bulk bags, much like Hershey Kisses.

Reester Bunny: A larger, individually-packaged Easter Bunny. Reese's Snowman: The peanut butter snowman is three times larger than the peanut butter tree, egg or pumpkin. [18]

Other Reese's candies

Other candy products of the Reese's division of Hershey include:

Other foods

Hershey produces several "pantry" items under the Reese's brand, such as Reese's peanut butter chips (analogous to chocolate chips for baking), Reese's premier baking pieces (tiny cup-shaped pieces of chocolate filled with peanut-butter, also for baking), Reese's jarred peanut butter, and Reese's toppings (including peanut butter syrup, peanut butter and chocolate topping, and Reese's Magic Shell) and sprinkles for ice cream.

Additionally, Hershey licenses the Reese's brand (name, logo, etc.) to various companies for the production of other products beyond the traditional realm of candy. For example, General Mills produces Reese's Puffs, a brand of peanut butter and chocolate flavored breakfast cereal. Several companies, including Breyers, Baskin-Robbins, and Dairy Queen, produce various licensed Reese's ice cream products.

Marketing and advertising

The Reese's logo Reese's logo.svg
The Reese's logo

In the United States, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups typically come in packs of 2, 4, 5, 10 or 20 in distinctive orange packaging, set on thin but rigid paperboard trays. The "Classic" two-pack is a 0.75 oz. cup since 2001 (originally a 0.9 oz. size, reduced to 0.8 oz. in 1991), the "King Size" four-pack introduced in the early 1980s is a 0.7 oz. cup (originally a 0.8 oz. cup until 1991) and the "Lunch" eight-pack is a 0.55 oz. cup. "Large Size" packs of three 0.7 oz. cups, as well as bags containing 0.6 oz. cups, are also available. The "mini" cups come in various bag sizes and foil colors for seasonal themes like red, gold and green for the Christmas holiday season. In Canada, where they are packaged as Reese Peanut Butter Cups (except Reese's pieces), but still widely referred to by their American name, they come in a standard pack of three 0.55 oz. cups or the king-size variation with four cups. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, they were originally available only in two-packs, though are now only available in three-packs, imported from Canada. In 2008 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were made available in Europe by Hydro Texaco and 7-Eleven. In Australia, Reese's products can be found in many specialty candy stores, as well as from American stores such as Costco.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a series of commercials were run for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups featuring situations in which two people, one eating peanut butter and one eating chocolate, collided. One person would exclaim, "You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!" and the other would exclaim, "You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!". They would then sample the mixture and remark on the great taste, tying in with the slogan "Two great tastes that taste great together."

In the 1990s, the product's slogan was: "There's no wrong way to eat a Reese's." The current slogan, introduced in the mid-2000s, is: "Perfect".

Reese's was an associate sponsor of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Mark Martin (1994), and Kevin Harvick (2007–2010).


Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are made with the controversial ingredient PGPR (Polyglycerol polyricinoleate, E476, a.k.a. Palsgaard 4150), [19] which is used as a replacement for cocoa butter. [20] The FDA has determined it to be "safe for humans as long as you restrict your intake to 7.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight". [21]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Further reading