What is a candy bar?

I haven’t been able to find a good, definitive answer as to what a candy bar actually is. The candy part means that it’s sweet and the term bar implies something about its shape; most likely oblong and squared-off to some degree. But a ton of products fit this loose definition that I would not consider to be candy bars. So, here is a list of things that are similar to and sometimes confused with candy bars that are in fact, NOT candy bars by my (arguably subjective and arbitrary) rules.

    • Solid chocolate bars. Many dedicated chocolate enthusiasts draw a distinction between pure chocolate bars and those that have fillings or things mixed into them. I agree with this distinction because candy bars are about combining flavors and/or textures.
    • Energy bars. This distinction can be somewhat confusing due to the the use of traditional candy bar brands with energy bars (i.e. Snickers Marathon, PayDay Pro). Products like Snickers Charged and Twix Java, which I do consider to be candy bars, make it even more confusing. It all boils down to the primary purpose – indulgence vs. energy.

    Energy Bars

    • Granola & cereal bars. Close cousins to the energy bar category, but also not candy bars. If it’s intended to be healthy first, then it’s not candy.
    • Bite-sized pieces. The experience of eating a candy bar should include at least a a few bites. If the entire piece of candy in question can easily be popped into your mouth, then it’s something else. Therefore, M&M’s, Skittles, Reese’s Pieces, Life Savers, etc. don’t count.
    • Anything round. Again, the term bar to me implies oblong and squared-off. Circles are neither. So Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Peppermint Patties, Mallo Cups, etc. are all out.
    • Ice cream treats. This is also confusing because you can find traditional candy bar brands used in this category. If it melts at room temperature, I don’t count it.

    Ice Cream Bars

    One important factor that doesn’t come in to play when spotting a candy bar is price. They can be mass produced products that cost 50¢ at the convenience store or they can be $5 gourmet bars you order online. In the end, I believe you know a candy bar when you see one. It’s a combination of ingredients, purpose, packaging, marketing and other intangibles that let you know what you’re looking at is intended to be a candy bar.

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    2 Comments »

    1. Fyodorox said

      I can not believe you don’t consider a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup a candy bar. They are indeed!

    2. Kevin Vigneault said

      @Fyodorox, Thanks for chiming in. I did admit that my rules are subjective and arbitrary and many people will agree with you about Reese’s peanut butter cups. They are traditionally marketed and grouped as such in industry reports, but then again, so are M&M’s, which definitely are NOT candy bars. Anyway, I chose to draw the line and cut out round candies, because they just don’t feel like the same thing as candy bars.

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