Can a European candy company make Butterfingers great again?

Vintage Butterfinger wrappers, circa 1999.
Vintage Butterfinger wrappers, circa 1999.
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When was the last time you ate a Butterfinger? Disappointing, right? They’re just overwhelmingly sweet, without a strong chocolate or peanut butter element—even though they’re supposed to taste like peanut butter. The texture registers less as “crispety, crunchety” and more like very sugary and slightly stale.

That all may change as the candy bar gets a makeover from Ferrero Rocher, the Italian candy company behind Kinder and Nutella. Ferrero purchased Nestle’s American candy business, snapping up icons like Crunch bars—also slated for a makeover—along with Nerds and SweeTarts in the process. But their first order of business, after shifting their cocoa supply chain from Nestle’s to their own, is making Butterfinger great again.

If you’ve never tried one, Butterfingers are a fairly simple machine. There’s a firm, flakey core of orange, peanut butter candy that has a crispy snap when you bite into it, but then quickly melts in your mouth—all coated by milk chocolate. It’s a solid, but not Snickers-level great, inexpensive candy bar.

Ferrero plans on giving the Butterfinger an upgrade in two major ways: better ingredients and more effective packaging. That supply chain switch? That’s to increase the cacao content in the chocolate candy from 20% to 25%. Butterfinger will soon be made from peanuts roasted in-house for freshness, and reformulated without molasses or TBHQ, a food preservative. Additionally, a new wrapper with a metallic layer will keep the whole package crispier for longer.

This isn’t Butterfinger’s first makeover. In 2015, Nestle switched from synthetic dyes Red 40 and Yellow 5 to annatto to remove artificial colorings. A dark chocolate version of the Butterfinger hit stores earlier this year, as well. But this newer make-over takes Butterfinger’s redo to a far more elaborate level.

The plan is for the new improved candy bars to be in stores by early 2019, with a big marketing campaign to alert sweet tooths that they’re worth a revisit. This is promising, as Butterfinger’s classic ads—which have starred everyone from Bart Simpson to Erik Estrada to Rob Lowe—are in many ways more fun and remarkable than the treat itself. Can’t wait until then after all this crispety, crunchety talk? Make your own healthier, vegan version at home.