Over on Twitter I noticed someone had posted a picture of a Coffee Crisp candy bar wrapper while expressing Hallowe’en candy remorse. They are undoubtedly not alone. If you are feeling bad, in so many ways, about the candy you have consumed I can offer you a new little narrative: you could be an ephemera collector acquiring and curating candy wrappers. You collect, preserve and interpret candy wrappers because they will provide insights into this moment in time.
Let me demonstrate. For a short time in the 1970s I saved candy wrappers. Chocolate or sugar prices were fluctuating, perhaps because of the oil crisis, and it was big news that the candy companies would no longer print the price on chocolate bars – it was 10 cents. I was already interested in ephemera and it was clear that candy wrappers were about to change so I started eating candy more strategically.
Here is what a Coffee Crisp looked like back in those days. (Just checked, and as far as Nestle is concerned it still “makes a nice light snack.”)
Here are a couple more priced examples. Cute eyes in the “O”s. I think we were easing toward the metric system at this moment.
We were also getting more serious about bilingual packaging. There were some wonderful typographic designs.
The first item ever scanned at a supermarket was a package of Wriggles chewing gum in June 1974, in Ohio. The advent of the Universal Product Code changed packaging forever. The bar code had to be accommodated within the design so often companies used it as a time to update their packaging and crisp clean designs like this York went away for a while.
Are you seeing how saving some of your candy wrappers might be interesting? Here is a last example showing how a label design evolved. I believe the twin maple leaves on the Liquid Four Flavor label were markers where the price had been.
Some day I’ll do a real post on my little collection of wrappers but it seemed important to get something out quickly before you ate everything and concealed the packaging. Start opening your candy carefully and put the wrapper in a box or file for the next 40 years. I promise you’ll have some stories to tell, I just don’t know what they will be.