Bursting with Almonds: Hershey’s 50-50 Bar
The popularity of Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar with Almonds led the Hershey Chocolate Company to develop a new product with even more almonds. Introduced in 1921, the 50-50 (sometimes Fifty-Fifty) Almond bar was considered a “Fancy Good” along with Bon Bons and 1/2 and 1 pound boxed Kisses wrapped in Hershey maroon paper-covered boxes. A few years later in 1925 a 1/2 pound 50-50 Almond (Item #10 1/2) was added to the product list. The success of this product led to Hershey discontinuing the 1 pound version.
While Bon Bons and 50-50 Almond bars were initially marketed by salesmen throughout the United States lower sales led to the company’s decision to limit distribution to Hershey. A September 28, 1933 memo to Salesmen read:
Fancy box packages “Items Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 are manufactured primarily for use in the town of Hershey. You are not to solicit business on those numbers from our jobbing distributors; but we are not adverse to shipping one pound and one-half pound boxes of Kisses, (Items Nos. 2 and 3) to retail distributors.
While limiting distribution to Hershey, the 50-50 product line expanded in 1931 with Item #32, a 2-pound Baked Almond Milk Chocolate Bar. The package was actually 2 one-pound bars that were molded into break-apart 5 bar units and packed in a Hershey maroon box. In addition to being marketed in Hershey, it was also sold to select corporate customers who used it as holiday gifts.
Hershey’s 50-50 Almond bar was produced until April 1943 when it and most other Hershey products were discontinued in response to World War II imposed rationing of metal foil, almonds and sugar. Production resumed in 1947. Hershey was not consistent in the what name it used for this product. At various times the 50-50 bar was marketed as Hershey’s Baked Almond Milk Chocolate, Hershey’s Toasted Almond Milk Chocolate and simply Hershey’s Almond Milk Chocolate.
When production resumed in 1947 Hershey also introduced Item #33, a 14 ounce bar. Hershey sought to expand its distribution of both bars beginning in 1953 when it began marketing the bars as a mail order product directing its marketing efforts toward the Automatic Canteen wholesaler and other special suppliers. Both products were produced and distributed until they were replaced with the Golden Almond bar in 1977.