As I teased yesterday, today’s article is the first half of a two-day span of coverage for the original two Wonka candy treats.
Today, we’ll be talking about Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch. It might sound like an odd name, but for nearly a decade it was the chocolate bar face of the Wonka brand.
I’m going to be revealing wrappers today covering the entire life cycle of the bar, as well as its ultimate end. Many of the pieces I’ll be showing can’t be found anywhere else, and today marks the first time most of these will be seen in the internet age.
Before we get to the wrappers, I’d like to pull an image from yesterday’s trade ad preview shot. This is what an original 1970’s Willy Wonka Super Skrunch bar looked like, “unwrapped”:
I recall gleefully consuming these bars on a number of occasions, and when I see this image I can nearly taste them again – that great peanut butter texture clear in my memory. Yum!
Here’s a page from an early Willy Wonka Candy Salesman book:
Quaker Oats owned the Wonka brand when it was first introduced, and the earliest Super Skrunch bars were branded under that company. I don’t have any of the Quaker-branded Skrunch wrappers, but I do have a later example that retains the original design, as well as a 15-cent printed-on price:
This “full-body” Willy Wonka Super Skrunch bar wrapper design lasted from the 1971 introduction of the bar, likely until around 1974 or 1975. Here’s another example of this first design wrapper. This time sporting a slightly lighter weight (1 oz, down from 1 1/4oz), and without any printed-on price:
Here is the bottom and top of a Super Skrunch display box from the early 70’s:
In 1975, the Super Skrunch wrapper would lose its original design, briefly being replaced by a wrapper with an oddly-plain logo. Uncovered earlier this year as part of the L.M. Kallok Collection, this wrapper serves as an important and fascinating piece in the Skrunch timeline. This is the only known example:
Note that the early 70’s Willy Wonka’s logo remains, as does an inset image of the original Willy Wonka mascot. Also of note is the mail-away offer for “magic illusions”. That mail-away offer would be retained for one more year, when Super Skrunch would receive its recognizable late-70’s look:
Over the next several years, the look of the Super Skrunch remained fairly stable, with minor changes made to reflect marketing and standards adjustments. 1977 saw the first Super Skrunch wrapper to include a bar code:
Later that same year, Super Skrunch became Peanut Butterier and Skrunchier:
In 1979, focus was put on the Super Skrunch being larger than it had been:
The following year (in 1980) Super Skrunch would, for reasons currently not known, be renamed to an adjective-less “Skrunch”. The Wonka brand logo would also get a new look:
Here’s a vend bar variation of this same 1980 wrapper. Note that the “Willy Wonka’s” logo and size information were printed to be read with the bar standing up, as it would in a vending machine:
Finally, in 1981, the Skrunch bar would receive another major overhaul. Not only would the wrapper be completely redesigned, but actual peanuts would be added to the ingredients list. It would be a significant change, and would also be the final Wonka product to bear the name Skrunch:
1981 marks the first wrapper that lacks the Concorde company name, now replaced by Willy Wonka Brands. It’s impossible to know what led to the discontinuation of the Skrunch brand name, but we can assume that it simply wasn’t competing well enough in the marketplace. There must have certainly been changes in the company that might have led to some arbitrary desire to evolve and re-align the brand offerings.
Though 1981 was the end of the Skrunch bar in name, it turns out that it was not entirely dead. Several months ago I made a startling discovery when I learned of the existence of a Willy Wonka Peanut Butter Bar, from 1982. Upon close examination, Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar has an ingredients list which matches exactly the ingredient list of 1981’s Skrunch bar.
The gold foil Peanut Butter Bar wrapper is another CollectingCandy.com exclusive, and one I’m excited to wrap up with today. The gold foil of this wrapper evokes the look and feel of the cinematic Golden Ticket from the original film. At least it does to me. It’s pretty awesome:
I can’t be sure, but my suspicions are that Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar was short-lived. It was a dramatic redesign and re-branding of one of the two launch-pieces of the Wonka candy company – a final attempt to keep the Skrunch bar going, if not in name, at least in content. But sadly it didn’t last.
So, what began in 1971 as Willy Wonka’s Super Skrunch bar, ended in 1982 as Willy Wonka’s Peanut Butter Bar. Beautiful in gold foil, but destined to become a near-forgotten part of confectionery history.
And that’s everything I’ve got to share today with regard to the history of the Skrunch. Come back again tomorrow to check out our look at one of my all-time favorite treats: Willy Wonka’s Oompas!
See you next time!