Abba Zaba candy bar is one of the most memorable candy bars on the market. Not only is the name zany and memorable, but the taste profile and design of the candy bar are also totally unique. This is a candy bar that is also sold with a really memorable and silly wrapper which adds to its mystique.
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There are not many candy bars that are made like this one and if you have never tried something that is soft and chewy as well as peanut buttery, you will want to try this bar. Abba Zaba has been around for a long time and you will want to make sure that you try this bar out if you want a really unique taste experience.
History of Abba Zaba Bar
Abba Zaba bars have a unique history. They were first sold in 1922 by Colby and McDermott. This candy bar was then sold to Sam Altshuler who was a Russian immigrant who came to the US in 1917 just to sell candy. He wanted to make a candy bar that was memorable and different and Abba Zaba was his muse.
This was a resurrection of the candy bar since it had been sold by the other company under a banner that included questionable racial imagery. Sam Altshuler will not speak on the former life of the candy bar anymore and they just refer back to the 1950s when the bar marketing style was changed by the then-owner Colby and McDermott.
Altshuler named his business the Annabelle Candy Company after his daughter’s name. They first sold a bar called Rocky Road in San Francisco as their first product. The item was so popular that the company launched to security and prominence. This candy bar is still sold on the West Coast and performs very well there.
Annabelle Candy Company did not pick up the Abba Zaba Bar until 1978. At this time, the candy bar was being made by Cabinet Candy Co and U-No. At this time, Annabelle Candy Company was selling Rocky Road, Big Hunk candy bars, and Look Bars. The Abba Zaba Bar was a natural fit alongside these products. The texture and flavors of these bars were all similar and Abba Zaba fit right in.
Today, Annabelle Candy Company is actually one of the largest candy bar companies in the US today. They are not as well-known as something like the Hershey Company, but they are equally successful despite not being a household name.
Abba Zaba bars are chewy taffy with a soft peanut butter center and they are totally unique to anything else that is on the market today. The candy has been sold with the taxi-checkered wrapper for many years and the zany writing, as well as the unique wrappers, are a big part of the charm of this candy bar. This is a classic candy bar that has been popular for so many years that many people cannot imagine anything about it changing.
This candy bar is kosher which is a really nice benefit and the company has stated that they are going to be adding an apple-flavored taffy to their Abba Zaba lineup. They have also recently made a new bar that contains chocolate in the middle instead of the traditional peanut butter filling. There is also an Abba Zaba mystery flavor that changes all the time. This is a little like some of the fruity candies that offer a surprise flavor variety and it is totally unique for a candy bar.
This candy bar is sold mostly West of the Rockies where the market for it is the strongest. This means that anyone who lives on the other side of the country may never have even heard of this candy bar. This candy bar can be purchased online, however, and this is a great way for someone who wants to try this candy bar outside of its normal sales area to try it out. The online sales reality today has made it possible for some of these more traditional candies to get a new life and find a new market.
Abba Zaba in Popular Culture
This candy bar has actually gotten some attention in popular culture that many candy bars do not get. The bar was the state favorite of rock musician Don Van Vliet in the 1960s. He actually used the checkerboard pattern from the wrapper in some of his album artwork. There are some other songs that mentioned this candy bar like the song, “Chocolate Jesus’ ‘ by Tom Waits.
Abba Zaba bars showed up in the 70s on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and was mentioned in Salute Your Shorts in the 1990s. The candy also was dispensed in scenes of Saved By the Bell from a vending machine. The candy was also mentioned on Married…With Children and on Gilmore Girls. The bar even showed up in Boardwalk Empire and Two and a Half Men.
Recently, this candy bar was used on Young Sheldon for an episode and it made an appearance on an episode of Grace and Frankie. There are not many candy bars that are mentioned in popular culture today and this candy bar is unique in that it has been used too often and so frequently by TV and script producers. This might be in part due to the bright and colorful wrapper and the really memorable name. Plus, not every candy bar wants to be used in this way and some companies will not allow mention of their products in this way.
This is a rare candy bar that has not been marketed heavily and yet has occupied a really popular position in many different ways. There are not many candies that have been featured so frequently on TV without having a huge popular following like M&Ms. This is one of the many reasons that this candy is totally unique to others and the fact that it is one of the less well-known candies out there, it has a huge popular following who would be horrified if it was taken off the market.
Abba Zaba Packaging
This candy bar uses one of the most unique wrappers of any bar on the market today. The original wrappers with their problematic heritage were replaced in the 1950s with a checkerboard black and yellow “taxi” wrapper. The original block of text that says the brand name is still yellow and still uses the same logo lettering that was used in the original ads. This has been the livery of the candy for many years and its distinctive look makes it stand out.
This is one of the most unique candy bars on the market and it has an equally unique taste profile. There is nothing else on the market that is like this bar. Keeping the bright and colorful wrapper was a really good choice for such a unique and special product. This is a big part of why the candy bar is still so recognizable.
Abba Zaba and Problematic Beginnings
Abba Zaba when it was first sold in the 20s used the same central logo and text but the yellow center logo was framed by racist symbolism and representations. This candy has the name that it does in part due to this rough past but it does seem that the candy has survived connection with this racist imagery rather well.
While it can be argued that times have changed a lot since the 1920s and the original representation of the bar was not problematic in its day, this was a bold decision on the part of the current owner to stick with the old name. It does not take much digging to find images and references to the original marketing and this might have led to the downfall of the candy bar.
Thankfully, all of the candy companies that have been involved with the bar since this early stage of its production have managed to shake off the old and bring in the new. The taxi-style wrapper is totally different from the original representations for the bar and if you did not know that this part of the candy’s history existed prior to the 1950s, you would not be able to find a sign of it today.
Abba Zaba was likely popular in part due to this edgy representation when it was first sold, but it has moved past this troubled beginning to stand on its own two feet today as a popular candy bar that is made alongside many other popular chewy candy bars. Careful rebranding has been at the center of this success and Abba Zaba was salvaged from a potentially really fraught situation by a big change to its message.
Abba Zaba Ingredients
- Corn Syrup
- Peanut Butter
- Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut, Palm Kernel
- Soy Lecithin
- Mono and Diglycerides.
Abba Zaba Nutrition
|Serving Size:||1 bar (12g)||% Daily Value*|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories from Fat||9|
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Pictures of Abba Zaba
Abba Zaba Commercials:
This candy bar has often relied on the chewy and long-lasting nature of its design for use in ads. Many of the ads offer this as a great way to enjoy a candy bar that does not get gobbled up in a moment. This is a unique way of marketing a candy bar but it has been successful for this brand overall for many years.
Annabelle candy company vintage ads:
an Abba Zaba ad from the 80s:
Abba Zaba in the movies: