“Market Cap $23.26 B As of May 2014
At a Glance
- Industry: Food Processing
- Founded: 1894
- Country: United States
- CEO: John Bilbrey
- Website: www.hersheys.com
- Employees: 12,600
- Sales: $7.15 B
- Headquarters: Hershey, Pennsylvania
#902 Global 2000
- #1252 in Sales
- #742 in Profit
- #475 in Market value
#28 Innovative Companies (#35 in 2012)
#61 World’s Most Powerful Brands (2012)
The Hershey Co. produces chocolate and sugar confectionery products. Its principal product groups include chocolate and confectionery products, gum and mint refreshment products and pantry items such as baking ingredients, toppings and beverages. It is engaged in manufacturing, marketing, selling and distributing various package types of chocolate and sugar confectionery products, pantry items and gum and mint refreshment products under more than 80 brand names. The company was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 and is headquartered in Hershey, PA.“
It all started with a decision.
Our company originated with candy-manufacturer Milton Hershey’s decision in 1894 to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the new enterprise was named the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1900, the company began producing milk chocolate in bars, wafers and other shapes. With mass production, Hershey was able to lower the per-unit cost and make milk chocolate, once a luxury item for the wealthy, affordable to all. One early advertising slogan described this new product as “a palatable confection and a most nourishing food.”
A company on the move.
The immediate success of Hershey’s low-cost, high-quality milk chocolate soon caused the company’s owner to consider increasing his production facilities. He decided to build a new chocolate factory amid the gently rolling farmland of south-central Pennsylvania in Derry Township, where he had been born. Close to the ports of New York and Philadelphia that supplied the imported sugar and cocoa beans needed, surrounded by dairy farms that provided the milk required, and with a local labor supply of honest, hardworking people, the location was perfect. By the summer of 1905, the new factory was turning out delicious milk chocolate.
A KISS for the whole world.
Looking to expand its product line, the company in 1907 began producing a flat-bottomed, conical milk chocolate candy that Mr. Hershey decided to name HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolates. At first, they were individually wrapped in little squares of silver foil, but in 1921 machine wrapping was introduced. That technology was also used to add the familiar “plume” at the top to signify to consumers that this was a genuine HERSHEY’S KISSES Chocolate. In 1924, the company even had it trademarked.
New products, hard times.
Throughout the next two decades, even more products were added to the company’s offerings. These included MR. GOODBAR Candy Bar (1925), HERSHEY’S Syrup (1926), HERSHEY’S chocolate chips (1928) and the KRACKEL bar (1938). Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, these products helped the newly incorporated Hershey Chocolate Corporation maintain its profitability and avoid any worker layoffs. Nevertheless, supported by the CIO labor union, a group of workers staged a six-day strike that ended with the strikers being forcibly removed by loyal workers and local farmers.
HERSHEY’S chocolate goes to war.
With the outbreak of World War II, the Hershey Chocolate Corp. (which had provided milk chocolate bars to American doughboys in the first war) was already geared up to start producing a survival ration bar for military use. By the end of the war, more than a billion Ration D bars had been produced and the company had earned no less than five Army-Navy “E” Production Awards for its exceptional contributions to the war effort. In fact, the company’s machine shop even turned out parts for the Navy’s antiaircraft guns.
A family friend becomes a family member.
The postwar period saw the introduction of a host of new products and the acquisition of an old one. Since 1928, H.B. “Harry” Reese’s Candy Company, also located in Hershey, had been making chocolate-covered peanut butter cups. Given that Hershey Chocolate Company supplied the coating for REESE’S “penny cups,” (the wrapper said, “Made in Chocolate Town, So They Must Be Good”), it was not surprising that the two companies had a good relationship. As a result, seven years after Reese’s death in 1956, the H.B. Reese Candy Company was sold to Hershey Chocolate Corp.
Growing up and branching out.
The following decades would see the company – renamed Hershey Foods Corporation in 1968 – expanding its confectionery product lines, acquiring related companies and even diversifying into other food products. Among the many acquisitions were San Giorgio Macaroni and Delmonico Foods (1966); manufacturing and marketing rights to English candy company Rowntree MacKintosh’s products (1970); Y&S Candies, makers of TWIZZLERS licorice (1977); Dietrich Corp.’s confectionery operations (1986); Peter Paul/Cadbury’s U.S. confectionery operations (1988); and Ronzoni Foods (1990).
The Hershey Company enters a new century.
Today, The Hershey Company is the leading North American manufacturer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery and grocery products. As the new millennium begins, The Hershey Company continues to introduce new products frequently and take advantage of growth opportunities through acquisitions. HERSHEY’S products are known and enjoyed the world over. In fact, the company markets its products in approximately 70 countries worldwide. With approximately 14,000 employees and net sales in excess of $6.6 billion, The Hershey Company remains committed to the vision and values of the man who started it all so many years ago.”
*Information from Forbes.com and Hersheys.com
**Video published on YouTube by “FastCompany“