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The History of Crunch Bars

Maurice Michaud, a member of the Swiss family that helped develop milk chocolate, also helped create the Nestlé Crunch bar. While working at Nestlé's main production facility in upstate New York in the 1930s, Michaud would reportedly bring home pieces of chocolate from the factory, warm them up, combine them with Rice Krispies, and allow the mixture to cool and harden. At first he only served the treats to his family members, but soon he began bringing them to work. Everyone wanted the recipe and Michaud’s concoction became the basis for Nestlé’s now-famous Crunch bar. The company also liked the idea of rice as an additive because it was cheap ­— Nestlé began sourcing puffed, crispy rice from the Van Brode Milling Company of Massachusetts. In 1938, Nestlé unveiled the Crunch bar. It retailed for just five cents and was made of milk chocolate mixed with crispy pieces of puffed rice. It quickly caught on and Van Brode actually began struggling to meet Nestlé's demands for puffed rice, so the bars were occasionally made using Kellogg's Rice Krispies! In the 1960s, Nestlé began attempting to puff their own rice in-house, but had trouble getting the texture right. The issue wasn’t solved until 1981, when the company’s newly established Crisped Rice Department figured out how to churn out 3,000 pounds of properly puffed rice each hour. Then in the early 2000s, along with several other major chocolate producers, Nestlé’s cocoa supply chain was linked to child slavery; the case reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 and the panel ruled in Nestlé’s favor because none of the violations had occurred on U.S. soil. That same year, the Ferrero Group purchased Nestlé’s candy business, and in 2020, the “Nestlé Crunch Bar” was rebranded as the “Crunch Bar,” since it was no longer made by Nestlé. Today, Crunch bars continue to be a popular candy bar choice all across America.

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