A Candy Bar With a Jewish Identity Crisis


Other than Hanukah gelt, there isn’t too much candy renowned for being Jewish.

But Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews are one. Introduced in 1917 by the Goldenberg Candy Company as a protein-rich ration for WWI troops, they later became a popular snack for civilians. Starting with 19th-century Romanian immigrant David, the company passed from Goldenberg to Goldenberg until 2003, when the family decided it was done devoting its energies to one bar of nuts.

They sold their product to Just Born, Inc., the candy company behind Mike & Ike and Peeps. Just Born changed Peanut Chews’ secret recipe and logo, and perhaps most significantly, they struck the familiar “Goldenberg’s” from the packaging. The New York Times surmised it was because the name was “too homespun for a national player.”

Sales plummeted. People either didn’t like the new taste or didn’t trust that these were authentic Goldenberg’s. So the marketing team went back to the original vision: simple and sweet–and with Goldenberg’s pack on the label. A series of funny commercials released after the 2011 rebranding showed people transported back in time by the familiar taste. They also closed with a hip spokesman saying: “Now that’s chewin’ it old school:”

Moral of the story: Don’t potchki with the Peanut Chews.

Recommended from JTA