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How to avoid a stale Reese's peanut butter cup

  • d
  • Dylan Jun 29, 2004 08:33 PM

If you're like me (and who isn't) there's nothing more satisfying than a fresh Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. On the other hand, there's nothing more disgusting than a Reese's Peanut Butter cup that's past it's prime: the shiney patina on the chocolate becomes dull, the normally wonderfully moist and chewy peanut butter filling becomes dry and crumbly.

Unfortunately, the Hershey's distribution system is not particularly well run, and I suspect that some distributors intentionally traffic in stale Peanut Butter Cups. How do you know what the expiration date of the Peanut Butter Cups is? It turns out that every package is stamped with a code, a number and then a letter - for example "4D". The number refers to the year (2004) while the letter refers to the month (D = April, the fourth month and the fourth letter of the alphabet). Why precisely Hershey's keeps this coding a semi-secret is a bit mysterious.

Never buy a Peanut Butter Cup that's past its prime! I recommend inspecting your local retailers and reporting those that sell old product to Hershey's (as I have been doing).

We will solve this problem together!

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  1. ....as a mitzvah. Seriously. Thanks and kudos!!

    7 Replies
    1. re: peg

      I have a friend who assures herself fresh Reese's (or so she is convinced) by only buying the seasonal ones, like the easter eggs, etc. as soon as they appear. Thanks for the tip.

      (I also loved the honey roasted ones that were available briefly)

      1. re: Betty

        I also will only purchase the seasonal ones to ensure optimum freshness and I strongly prefer the thicker peanut butter middle that is found in the Easter eggs or Christmas trees etc. It is a better p.b. to chocolate ratio in my book!

        1. re: BitnerSweets

          ...are pure heaven. The saltiness of the peanut butter is accented beautifully by the pristine sweetness of the white chocolate.

          Wish I had one now.....*weeps openly*

          1. re: peg

            Here in Toronto we get three regular cups to a package, but they get away with selling TWO cups at the same price for the white chocolate! Is it the same for you?

            I must say, the stale problem doesn't occur that often here.

            1. re: julesrules

              I have seen the white chocolate variety several times and wondered how they taste. Are they any good?

          2. re: BitnerSweets

            I agree, the seasonal ones taste better. Way more peanut butter! And I'm glad they are cashing in on all the holidays...saw Valentine's ones this year as well as something at Halloween...a ghost maybe?

            Time to hit the vnding machine...

          3. re: Betty

            I worked on a design project at a national chocolate factory during my senior year of college. We were in the factory in November, and they were already manufacturing Easter packaged products for April. Just in time manufacturing isn't always practiced.......especially when it comes to seasonal items. Many times, vendors need to get samples out for their retailers to preview the product and to run printed ads. I work at the corporate HQ of a national retailer, and the Purchasing dept often has samples of holiday products 6-9 months BEFORE the actual holiday.

        2. Thanks for this post...I just purchased a pack that says 4L on the back...So I'm a bit confused? Does L refer to December? Perhaps they use the Fiscal year? :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jason B.

            I think that's the expiration date, not the creation date. So I guess Reese's assumes a shelf life of at least 5 months???

            1. re: Jason B.

              I'm admittedly confused; that's inconsistent with what Hershey's said and other packages I've seen make sense. But, if you call the Hershey's 800 number and ask perhaps they will explain....

              1. re: Jason B.

                On second thought, it's consistent - L = the 12th letter = December. So you have fresh peanut butter cups, lucky dog....