Picture this. A chicken dinner in a candy bar. Say what! Ok, so the truth is it didn’t really contain a full chicken dinner but the chicken dinner candy bar was most definitely an influential candy bar with a unique story and history.
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Talk about making a statement. That’s exactly what the chicken dinner candy bar did. Let’s dive a bit deeper!
Chicken Dinner Candy Bar History
The Chicken Dinner candy bar was originally made by the Sperry Candy Company. This company was later acquired by Pearson’s. The thing is, we have so little detail about the exact history of the candy bar.
We know that the very name has a very interesting background. The timing of this candy bar coming out was not a coincidence. It was so profound at the time that they even had chicken dinner candy trucks that were associated with the brand.
In the time that the Chicken Dinner candy bar came out, there were thousands of other candy bars that also tried to take the world by storm. This particular idea came to fruition in 1923 and was one of the most popular 1920s candy. What’s even more unique is the bar does not even contain chicken.
Chicken dinner candy bars are like chocolate-covered nut rolls. You’ve seen others like them through the years. The Sperry Candy Company advertised the bar as expensive high-grade candy. It cost about 10 cents when it first came out.
They definitely took a unique and different approach with this candy bar. It was truly just a candy bar, with plenty of nutty goodness. However, it was called chicken dinner and the labels and packaging even showed pictures of chicken or a chicken dinner on them.
Their design really just had to do with getting people’s attention and they were quite successful in that feat. They stood out from the crowd, which is what appears to really be the intent behind this candy anyway. They marketed the bar much like the name, calling it distinctly different.
What is more interesting is this bar actually came out well before the Great Depression. Chicken dinners were something people were struggling to have. It was about 6 years before the Great Depression. However, in some accounts you see people tying this candy bar to the Great Depression.
There are stories that say the candy bar was released as a play on words during the time that President Hoover made the statement “a chicken in every pot”. The truth is the bar was out long before those years, although it certainly makes sense to pair them together.
The candy bar was marketed during that timeframe and was quite successful. Sperry Candy Company even dropped the price of the bar at the time considering the times they were in. It was then that the candy bar and the wrapper that sported a whole chicken kind of became a bit symbolic.
They ran with it. In the following years, the candy company put a lot of effort into advertising the candy bar. It was a pick me up to some. They created billboards and ran ads all over the place. This is when they also created their truck fleet. Each truck was made to look like a chicken and painted with the logo and price on the side.
Some accounts tell us that they even made the trucks sound like a chicken when the horn was honked. These trucks traveled all over the United States sharing the Chicken Dinner Candy bar at 5 cents a pop.
The bar was considered to be nutritious thanks to the nuts and simple overall creation. It had a high level of protein. It was clever, it was bold, and it was quite effective for a lot of years.
In 1962, almost 40 years after its beginning, the Chicken Dinner candy bar came to an end. Sperry Candy Company was sold to Pearson’s and Pearson’s ceased production of this candy bar.
That term “winner, winner chicken dinner” sure brings on a whole new meaning when you consider the history behind this candy bar.
In an article from Time Magazine in 2014, they called the Chicken Dinner candy bar one of the top 13 most influential candy bars of all time. It was listed as number 6. In fact, Time gives this candy bar the credit for making a path for candy bars like Luna or Clif that are popular now.
When Was Chicken Dinner Candy Bar Invented?
This nutritious and delicious candy bar was first produced in 1923 by Sperry Candy Company. Sperry truly went all out when it came to maximizing this candy bar. It was almost like no other campaign we have ever seen.
You can find tons of stories about the chicken trucks that traveled the US and even the advertising campaigns used elsewhere.
The truth is this candy bar had absolutely nothing to do with a chicken dinner. It was made to have a good amount of protein. It’s a simple nut roll that is coated in chocolate. They marketed it as candy made good. While it was still candy, they focused on good qualities that were important to the people.
The candy bar came out several years before the Great Depression. It lasted against thousands of opponents and crazy candy bars and lived a long 40 years.
Chicken Dinner Candy Bar Logo
Who Owns Chicken Dinner Candy Bar?
The Chicken Dinner Candy Bar was always owned by Sperry Candy Company. This company went all out to make a definitive statement with their bar. It was all about drawing attention and they most certainly did just that.
After nearly 40 years of production of this candy bar alone, Sperry Candy Company was sold to Pearson’s. That is where the legacy ended. Pearson’s ceased this candy bar right away and it was never produced or sold under the Pearson name.
We’re unsure what led to the closure of production. There simply isn’t much to go off of as far as why they chose to discontinue the bar at that time. However, this certainly doesn’t negate the history made in those 40 years.
How Did Chicken Dinner Candy Bar Get its Name?
Most candy bars have an interesting story behind the name. Or at least many of the older candy bars with unique histories. This candy bar certainly has a unique history but the name of the candy bar really has nothing to do with the bar itself.
They named the bar chicken dinner candy bar simply as a play to catch the attention of people. And it worked. The bar had absolutely nothing to do with chicken or a chicken dinner. It certainly couldn’t really replace a chicken dinner, although it was packed with protein.
The timing is interesting because it was in the market during the Depression. However, it was there before the Depression and also there after the fact.
The company chose the name for marketing. They truly just wanted to stand apart so they chose a name that would do so. It became a huge deal for the 40 years it was in production.
Pictures of Chicken Dinner Candy Bar
When it comes to the candy bars of old, Chicken Dinner candy bar certainly stands apart. It had a long run and some really fun stories behind the concept. You see far more advertising that really stuck to the name than with just about any other candy bar. Just consider the fleet of chicken trucks!
This bar was named one of the most influential candy bars in history for a reason. It certainly earned its place among the ranks.
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