Hershey posted a timeline of the Zero candy bar on its website that reads, in its entirety:
1920 Zero launched by Hollywood Brands
1996 Acquired by Hershey
The site also mentions, without further explanation, that Zero has had a loyal customer base since 1931. How the bar stuck around for eleven years without a loyal customer base is something to ponder, but then again, Zero has somehow survived an additional 78 years without much else going for it. So we're not talking about a particularly eventful treat here, though it is one that remains a fond childhood memory for many people.
The description on the wrapper is slightly confusing: "Caramel, peanut and almond nougat covered with white fudge." Is the nougat peanut and almond flavored? Is there caramel and peanuts with an almond nougat? Unclear.
Turns out the nougat itself is a dark brown, nuts mixed in, with a layer of caramel on top. While the "white fudge" gives the bar a distinct look, its consistency is very soft and subtly grainy. It melts effortlessly with the caramel and nougat, the nuts adding the only real break in texture. The overall effect is teeth-achingly sweet. Usually with this type of candy bar you get some dark or even milk chocolate with a hint of bitterness to counteract caramel and nougat, but not here. With the Zero, it's just sweet with sweet coated in an additional layer of sweet. Paradoxically, the chewy nougat combined with the white fudge struck a note not dissimilar to a Fi-Bar.
This is not to say the Zero is bad. It's not. It might not have the complexity or variety of flavors and textures of other bars, but there's something about the gleaming white bar held in its silver spacesuit that's undeniably attractive. While this won't be our first-choice treat to grab off the rack, for a little nostalgic indulgence, it's a fun choice.
Would we finish the bar? Yes
Would we buy again? Yes, though perhaps not for another twenty years
Rating: 3 out of 5