Heath bar facts for kids
Top: A Heath bar
Bottom: A split Heath bar
|Type||Toffee candy bar|
|Owner||Iconic IP Interests, LLC|
|Previous owners||L. S. Heath
Shaped as a thin, hard slab with a milk chocolate coating, the toffee originally contained sugar, butter, and almonds. Originally it was a small squarish bar weighing 1 ounce. It is similar to Hershey's Skor bar and Mondelēz's Daim bar.
In a 1987 popularity survey, the Heath bar ranked 56th nationally in the U.S. and 110th on the U.S. East Coast. It has become a popular add-in ingredient to ice cream, cookies, and other confections.
In 1913, L. S. Heath, a school teacher, bought an existing confectionery shop in Robinson, Illinois as a likely business opportunity for his oldest sons, Bayard Heath and Everett Heath. There, in 1914, the brothers opened a combination candy store, ice cream parlor, and manufacturing operation.
With the success of the business, the elder Heath became interested in ice cream and opened a small dairy factory in 1915. His sons worked on expanding their confectionery business. At some point, they reportedly acquired a toffee recipe, via a traveling salesman, from a Greek confectioner in another part of the state. In 1928, they began marketing the toffee confection locally as "Heath English Toffee", proclaiming it "America's Finest".
In 1931, Bayard and Everett were persuaded by their father to sell the confectionery and work at his dairy. They brought their candy-making equipment with them and established a retail business there. The Heaths came up with the marketing idea of including their toffee confection on the dairy products order form taken around by the Heath dairy trucks: customers could then order Heath bars to be delivered along with milk and cottage cheese.
Early ads promoted Heath as a virtual health bar – only the best milk chocolate and almonds, creamery butter, and "pure sugar cane". The motto at the bottom of one ad read "Heath for better health!" The motto was surrounded by illustrations of milk, cream, butter, cheese, and ice cream and in a corner – a Heath bar and a bottle of soda. The soda may have been Pepsi, as the Heath Co. bottled the drink for a number of years.
The Heath bar grew in national popularity during the Depression, despite its 1-ounce size and the 5-cent price, equal to larger bars. Made by hand until 1942, the candy was manufactured consistently on a major commercial scale after the U.S. Army placed its first order of $175,000. The Heath bar had been found to have a very long shelf life: subsequently, the Army included it in soldiers' rations throughout World War II.
Popularity of the Heath bar grew after the war. However, the manufacturing process remained largely a hands-on, family-run operation: all four of L. S. Heath's sons, his two daughters, and several grandchildren were involved in the business. In the 1950s, the Heath Toffee Ice Cream Bar was developed, and eventually was franchised to other dairies.
In the 1960s, the huge national success of the Heath bar led to disagreements within the family, with at least one grandchild, Richard J. Heath, expelled from the business in 1969. He eventually published a book in 1995 entitled Bittersweet: The Story of the Heath Candy Co.
In the 1970s, the company bought the registered trademark toffee ice cream flavoring formula called Butter Brickle from The Fenn Bros. Ice Cream and Candy Co. of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
In 1989, with the diminishing and splintering of the Heath family, the business was sold to a Finnish company, Leaf, Inc., which in turn was acquired by Hershey in 1996. Hershey had initially created the Skor bar to compete with the Heath bar, before it bought out Leaf, Inc.
Since acquiring the product, Hershey has elongated the bar to align with its competition. It now weighs 1.4 ounces. Current ingredients are milk chocolate, sugar, vegetable oil, dairy butter (milk), almonds, salt, and soy lecithin. The wrapper's vintage brown color scheme has a small seal proclaiming Heath the "Finest Quality English Toffee".
Heath bars in other products
Following the 1973 use of the candy bar as an ice-cream "mix-in" by Steve's Ice Cream, Heath bars became a significant ingredient in ice cream and other confections.
According to Ray Broekel in his 1982 book The Great American Candy Bar Book, variations of the bar have included: Heath Milk Chocolate with Peanuts; Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Crunch; Heath Milk Chocolate with Natural Cereal and Raisins; and the Double Heath bar. In the 1980s, a Heath Toffee Ice Cream Sandwich appeared, along with Heath Soft 'n Crunchy—a soft-serve ice cream.
Currently, other varieties of Heath bar-based confections include: Archway Cookies' Heath Cookie; Heath Bar Klondike bars; Baskin-Robbins' Heath Bar Shake; Dairy Queen's Heath Bar Blizzard; and Heath Bar flavored varieties of ice cream with a coffee or vanilla ice cream base,. Ben and Jerry's produced a Heath Bar Crunch ice cream, which was renamed Vanilla Toffee Bar Crunch in 2014 when the company stopped using actual branded Heath bars.
Although the candy bar's original manufacturer, L. S. Heath, and subsequently Hershey have supported the incorporation of the candy bar into other confections by marketing a pre-shredded variety, many vendors hand-crumble the candy bars, finding the pre-crumbled variety to be "too small and too dusty".
Heath bar Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.