1928 Scorched Peanut Bar introduced

Australian Women's Weekly advertising 1954

The Mastercraft Scorched Peanut Bar began life as the White Signet Scorched Peanut Bar, first advertised in 1928.  White Signet was founded in 1923 from a merger between two existing confectionery companies, W.W. White & Co and Signet Sweets. By 1939, the company was using the Mastercraft brand for a range of chocolate products and, in 1954, the company name was formally changed to Mastercraft Chocolate Co. Pty. Ltd

White Signet advertisement in the Italo-Australian, December 1939

The Scorched Peanut Bar had roasted peanuts encased in toffee and covered with chocolate.  It was the standout product of the range from the very early days. It seems that sales were concentrated in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. In 1935, the company adopted a unique promotional strategy, issuing award certificates to the towns with the highest sales of the popular bar over a three-month period. Taree, Katoomba and Canberra were among the winners, with school children in the successful towns receiving free Scorched Peanut Bars from a company representative.

In later years, although Mastercraft made a wide range of chocolate products, the Scorched Peanut Bar remained the star. By 1954, the range had expanded to include the Milky Way bar and the popular Golden Roughs.

In 1960, Mastercraft was acquired by Life Savers Australia with the aim of increasing distribution nationally. In the early 1990s, Life Savers was itself acquired by Nestlé. The Scorched Peanut Bar, by then among the top five best-selling chocolate bars in Australia, was promoted on television as “the hard bar” with an extremely suggestive television commercial.

It’s not clear why the fortunes of the hard bar declined. However, in the early 2000s, Nestlé decided to discontinue the product. In 2019, it was revived by Cooks Confectionery and the range has been extended to include Scorched Peanut Bites and even a Scorched Peanut Easter Egg. It remains to be seen whether the revived produce can reclaim its Aussie icon status.

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