Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mr. Peanut Memories

In a previous post, I mentioned how my love of Mr. Peanut stems from early exposure to advertising premiums through my grandfather's small grocery store. Some premiums were designed for retail customers, but others were meant just for the grocery retailers themselves.

This profit calculator was given out by Planters to retailers like my grandfather. By sliding the inner card to match up the number of items in a carton or case with the cost in one window, the other window shows the percent profit for potential selling prices.

One side shows unit prices 25¢ and up, while the other shows 5¢ to 25¢.

Mr. Peanut's Guide to Profits is dated May 1972, and shows the current packaging for Planters peanuts, mixed nuts, and single-serving bags sold under the Southern Belle brand.

Less than a year later, in January 1973, this picture of me and my grandfather was taken in front of the candy counter of his store.

Look closely at the middle row of the candy counter and you can see three Planters items for sale. First, the white box on the left contains an unknown Planters item. It might be single serving bags of peanuts (probably in an earlier version of the bags shown here), but it could be a Chocolaty Coated Peanut Block or a Peanut Butter Chew. Then, in the orange box are peanut butter cups and next are peanut candy bars. Special thanks to JasonLiebig for posting these and many other great images of his packaging, advertising, and ephemera collection on Flickr!

I don't actually remember eating the Planters items in the candy case. When I was old enough to eat such things, I favored Fruit Stripe gum and Swedish Fish. Maybe the Planters candy was already phased out by then? However, I do have an original shipping box from the store that contained the peanut butter cups:

The sides:

The top:

Each display box held 24 individual cups. That's 288 cups in the box! If only we knew the wholesale price, Mr. Peanut could tell us just what the profit would be!

I had noticed that the Planters Peanut Candy bars have made a resurgence, so I decided I had to try one (or two) for research purposes.

It's basically peanut brittle with more peanuts and less brittle. It was good, but I couldn't help feeling like it must have been a pale imitation of the original, and it was awfully small. The original wrapper called it a Jumbo Block, and the new version is a mere 1.6 ounces. Then I looked carefully at the old Jumbo Block label and saw that it was only 0.83 ounces! No wonder we weigh so much more these days!

The Planters website also lists a Big Nut Bar, so I figured I had better track down some of these for comparison. It turns out these are more like a granola bar and are sold in boxes of 5 in the granola bar section of grocery stores.
The front of the box:

The individual wrapper:

These were good, too, and lacked the ominous "Choking Warning" of the Peanut Bar candy.

Wouldn't it be great if Planters re-issued the peanut butter cups, peanut chews, and chocolaty coated blocks? And you could still get Mr. Peanut items by saving the labels?!

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