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History of Butterfinger Candy Bar

The Butterfinger candy bar has been a beloved treat in the United States since its inception in the 1920s. It was the brainchild of Otto Schnering, the founder of the Curtiss Candy Company, which was based near Chicago, Illinois. Known for its distinctively crisp, flaky peanut butter core encased in a smooth chocolate coating, the Butterfinger bar has captured the taste buds of candy lovers for nearly a century.

The origin of the candy bar’s unique name is as memorable as its flavor. In a successful marketing move, the Curtiss Candy Company decided to hold a public contest to name the new product. The winning name, “Butterfinger,” was a term commonly used to mock athletes who couldn’t hold onto the ball in sports, further adding to the candy’s quirky character and legacy.

Throughout the years, Butterfinger has maintained its status as a confectionery icon by sticking to its original flavor profile while also becoming a staple in popular culture thanks to clever advertising and memorable slogans. Its enduring presence in the candy aisle is a testament to the timeless appeal of its crunchy peanut butter and chocolate combination.

Origins and Creation of Butterfinger

The Butterfinger candy bar boasts a rich history, beginning with its inception in 1923 by the Curtiss Candy Company. This innovative treat quickly captivated the American sweet tooth with its unique texture and flavor.


The inventor of Butterfinger was Otto Schnering, who founded the Curtiss Candy Company near Chicago, Illinois, in 1922. His goal was to create a distinct candy bar that stood out in the market. Schnering succeeded in 1923 when he introduced Butterfinger with its crispy, flaky peanut butter core enveloped in milk chocolate.

Early Production

Early production of the Butterfinger bar commenced swiftly following its invention. The Curtiss Candy Company utilized a special process to achieve the bar’s signature flaky texture that differentiated it from other chocolate bars. As production ramped up, Butterfinger began to gain popularity and became a staple in American confectionery.

Naming the Candy Bar

The iconic name “Butterfinger” was a result of a public contest held by the Curtiss Candy Company to name their new candy bar. “Butterfinger” was chosen, supposedly reflecting a term commonly used as a light-hearted insult in baseball, to embody the bar’s uniquely brittle texture and to create an enduring brand identity.

Butterfinger Over the Years

Since its inception in 1923, Butterfinger has undergone several significant changes that have shaped the candy bar’s journey in the confectionery market.

Ownership Changes

Originally developed by the Curtiss Candy Company, Butterfinger found its first home under Otto Schnering’s keen confectionery vision. However, as decades passed, it experienced multiple shifts in ownership. Nestlé took over in 1990, adding Butterfinger to its large portfolio of sweets. Most recently, in 2018, Ferrero SpA acquired Nestlé’s US confectionery business, becoming the latest caretaker of the Butterfinger legacy.

Product Line Expansion

Butterfinger’s unmistakable crunchy peanut butter core and chocolate coating have been the cornerstone of its appeal. Through the years, the brand has expanded its range, introducing various product lines to captivate different tastes and preferences. These have included but aren’t limited to Butterfinger BB’s, Butterfinger Ice Cream Bars, and even Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups, showcasing the product’s versatility and adaptability in a changing market.

Marketing and Advertising

The history of Butterfinger candy bar is punctuated by innovative and engaging marketing strategies. These initiatives have helped to establish the brand as a household name within the sweets industry.

Memorable Campaigns

One of the earliest standout marketing stunts Butterfinger executed involved dropping candy bars from airplanes over cities in the United States, which significantly heightened its profile. In 1934, the brand gained additional attention by featuring in the film “Baby Take a Bow” with Shirley Temple.

Celebrity Endorsements

Over the years, Butterfinger has leveraged the power of celebrity to connect with its audience. A prime example was the use of the animated character Bart Simpson from “The Simpsons,” who became widely associated with the candy bar throughout the 1990s.

Slogans and Taglines

Butterfinger has also made a lasting impression with its catchy slogans, including Bart Simpson’s famous catchphrase, “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger.” This tagline encapsulates the possessive appeal of the candy’s unique flavor and texture.

Recipe Changes and Reactions

The Butterfinger candy bar, a beloved treat since 1923, has undergone several recipe changes throughout its history. These adjustments have sparked various reactions from its consumer base, as they’ve impacted the taste and quality of the product.

Original Recipe

The Butterfinger was created by the Curtiss Candy Company with a distinct crispy, flaky peanut butter core coated in milk chocolate. This recipe captured the hearts of candy lovers for decades due to its unique texture and taste.


Nestle acquired Butterfinger in 1984, maintaining the recipe for many years. However, in 2018, Ferrara Candy Company took ownership and revamped the classic bar. They introduced higher-quality peanuts and a new chocolate coating that promised to be smoother and more flavorful, altering the original composition that many had come to know.

Consumer Response

Consumer opinions varied following the recipe change; some found the updates to be a positive improvement, while others expressed a prefence for the original formula. Online feedback ranged from passioned endorsements of the new taste to strong disappointment, demonstrating the deep connection many held with the traditional Butterfinger experience.

Cultural Impact

The Butterfinger candy bar has made significant imprints beyond the confectionery industry, most notably through its presence in popular media and the enduring nostalgia it evokes among fans.

In Popular Media

Butterfinger has been prominently featured in media, especially through its clever advertising campaigns. One notable instance is its association with The Simpsons, where the character Bart Simpson frequently endorsed the product with the catchy slogan, “Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger!” This partnership helped cement Butterfinger as a pop culture icon in the 1990s and broadened its appeal across various demographics.

Fan Base and Nostalgia

The candy’s long history has cultivated a loyal fan base, with many associating Butterfinger with fond childhood memories. Collectors often seek out vintage Butterfinger memorabilia, highlighting the candy’s role in American nostalgia. The distinctive taste and texture of Butterfinger continue to resonate with fans, many of whom have a deep emotional connection to the brand that transcends generations.

Production Process

The Butterfinger candy bar has a unique production process that is renowned for creating its signature crunchy texture. A precise blend of ingredients and specialized manufacturing techniques work in tandem to produce the distinct candy bar enjoyed by consumers.


Butterfingers rely on a mix of molasses, corn syrup, sugar, and water as their base. These sweet elements are the foundation for the candy’s crystal-like texture. The trademark peanut-buttery center is then covered with a layer of chocolate to finish the classic taste.

Manufacturing Techniques

During manufacturing, the mixture of molasses, corn syrup, sugar, and water is heated to 300 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper blending. Once the desired temperature is achieved, it is poured onto a cooling table for rapid temperature reduction. This swift change causes the candy mixture to crystallize swiftly, resulting in the candy’s signature crispety and crunchety bite.

Economic Aspects

The Butterfinger candy bar has seen significant economic success over the years, marked by impressive sales figures and competitive presence in the market.

Sales Figures

Butterfinger generated remarkable sales, with the brand achieving $598 million in revenue in 2010. This milestone underscores its popularity and the sustained demand for the candy bar over time.

Market Competition

In the confectionery industry, Butterfinger has consistently been a strong competitor. Between 2007 and 2010, it was ranked among the most popular candy bars globally. This performance illustrates its ability to hold its own in a competitive market teeming with numerous chocolate and candy bar brands.