The old Butterfinger can’t come to the phone right now. Why? It’s dead. For the first time in more than a decade, the classic candy’s recipe has changed. In order to level up to the higher quality associated with Ferrara — the chocolatier that acquired Nestle’s U.S. confectionery operations earlier this year — the bar now includes jumbo peanuts from Georgia, plus more cocoa and milk — but still no real chocolate, and the flaky layers have been replaced by something more toffee-like.
Instead of using what the Food and Drug Administration classifies as real chocolate — a combination of cocoa and cocoa butter — Butterfinger's coating is made with cocoa and less expensive (and less temperamental) vegetable oil, so it's not legally allowed to be called chocolate. According to Ferrara senior marketing director Kristen Mandel, Butterfinger’s “chocolaty” outer shell has never been made with cocoa butter; the original recipe (which dates back around 100 years) has always used a "confectioner’s coating" made with vegetable oil. But with consumers on the hunt for better-for-you options, why not use the opportunity to add real chocolate to the recipe?
“It’s not something that fans have told us they wanted,” Mandel told The Daily Meal. “They love the flavor and as we tested different things, they said, ‘We love this just the way it is.’”
Although that’s off the table for now, the candy company has made moves elsewhere, including the removal of all hydrogenated oils and the highly toxic preservative TBHQ. The new peanuts are basically the same as the ones that were used before, but they’re much bigger, which allows for a better roast and stronger peanut flavor.
The new-and-improved "chocolaty" coating contain more cocoa and more milk as well, allowing for a moderately richer, more indulgent flavor. The cocoa powder has been milled to a super-fine grain, which creates a smoother, more premium mouthfeel. However, the peanut butter-flavored interior is no longer in layers; it resembles peanut-flavored toffee more than anything else.
When Daily Meal staffers sampled the new treat, we found that it tastes more chocolaty and peanut buttery, but the texture has definitely changed, and we’re not sure how to feel about that. One editor said she was delighted that it melted in her mouth, but another said it got stuck in her teeth. RIP to the break-apart flakes we loved so dearly that have been replaced by a robust, sticky candy center, more like a firm nougat.
The packaging is totally new as well — both visually and structurally. The old Butterfinger wrapper featured a single layer, and the new one is made with a double layer to really seal in the freshness. Additionally, the creative team has ditched the age-old gold for a bright neon yellow that’ll surely pop in the candy aisle.
According to a Butterfinger spokesperson, early trials for the new product have shown that consumer reactions have been “overwhelmingly positive.” The masses can take a test drive when the new confection hits stores starting in January 2019. Find it nationwide in convenience, drug, grocery and mass merchants including Wal-Mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, Publix and 7-Eleven. Until then, satisfy your sweet tooth with some retro delights from one of America’s best old-school candy shops.