bitguru blog

a guru of bits, or just a bit player?

So Long, Baby Ruth

Posted by bitguru on April 22, 2007

I was pondering the vending machine yesterday and the Baby Ruth didn’t even tempt me. This is good. It means it’s finally in my head that I don’t care for them anymore. The last few I have bought were edible, but were disappointing.

Tastier, Softer CenterBaby Ruth used to be one of my favorites, but that was before Nestlé reformulated them to have a “tastier, softer center” in 2001. Evidently 75% of consumers preferred the new Baby Ruth in taste tests, but you’ll find me in the minority camp.

The old Baby Ruth had a stiff, white, chewy nougat. That’s what I had been looking for the last few times I’ve purchased Baby Ruths from the machines. Had I remembered that they now have brown nougat with no distinct flavor or texture, I would have gone for something like a Pay Day bar instead. (Pay Day has stiffer nougat than the reformulated Baby Ruth.)

Strangely, there seems to be close to zero information about the reformulation on the web. I suppose 2001 does predate the blogosphere.

Baby Ruth has been around since 1920, so 2001 may not have been the first reformulation. The nougat in this 1926 advertisement looks kind of white (though square, not round). In the 1961 advertisement it seems to have gone brown. It’s hard to know for sure because I presume these are drawings, not photographs.

The 1980s image is from a television commercial which proclaims, “now with richer chocolate taste so [it’s] better than ever.” I don’t know about the chocolate, but the nougat looks like the good stuff.

1926 Baby Ruth advertisement

1961 Baby Ruth advertisement

1980s Baby Ruth television commercial

2001 Baby Ruth photograph

2005 Baby Ruth photograph


4 Responses to “So Long, Baby Ruth”

  1. Alan Cole said

    Whatever happened to Clark Bar? Zag-Nut? Necco Sky Bar? Black Jack chewing gum? JuJubes? 5th Avenue? Chuckles? Turkish Taffy? Mary Jane? Chunky?

  2. bassclar said

    With the exception of Turkish Taffy they are all available, and all but the Sky Bar are fairly easy to find at local stores.

    Blackjack gum became unavailable in the 1970s but has been back on the scene recently as a nostalgia product. I’ve seen it at regular stores, but most often at places like Cracker Barrel.

    If you watch the Food Network on cable TV, you can occasionally catch glimpses of the Sky Bar factory in action. You can purchase Sky Bars mail order but I see them occasionally at stores, including last week at a Seven Corners (VA, USA) Safeway.

    They stopped making Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy in 1989, but many claim that Doscher’s French Chew Taffy is reasonably similar. I have tried neither product.

  3. kay said

    thank you for proving to me that i am not, in fact, crazy!! i thought that there was something different about baby ruth bars. i hadn’t had one in years, but decided to try one again recently and was confused and disappointed. i thought they used to have yummy white center nougat, but no one else i asked had any idea what i was talking about. from your pictures, it does look like it has gone through several reformulations, so maybe the white nougat will make a comeback. in the meantime, i have been consoling myself with pearson’s salted nut roll. no chocolate, but it has the nougat i was looking for in the baby ruth!!

  4. Mike said

    I agree with you completely….why did they have to ruin my favorite candy bar? I even wrote Nestle and complained at the time, to no avail.

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