As kids, you view Halloween as two things. The first: An excuse to dress up as anything (or anyone) you want. The second: Lots and lots of free candy.
But we know that as a business owner, you appreciate a different side of the Halloween world that’s rarely thought about: The candy business.
Within all those “Trick or Treat” bags lay the candy that The Hershey Company, Mars, Wrigley, and Nestle work so hard to produce. So today we’re going to focus on them – the minds behind the candy – and discover more about their businesses.
The Hershey Company
For Milton Hershey, building the successful company that is now Hershey’s wasn’t always an easy road.
Three years after Hershey found his love for chocolate making, he decided to take a risk and open his own candy business in Philadelphia. Despite his hard work, after six short years the business failed. But that didn’t stop him. He moved to Denver, worked – and learned from – a confectioner and then started his own business again. Unfortunately, that also failed.
But that didn’t stop him either. He eventually moved back to Lancaster, got into the caramel business, and it was with that product where he found success, and his Lancaster Caramel Company was born. (But not without the help of financing. Even Hershey, way back when, needed capital to help grow his business).
While The Hershey Company may have originally begun as a caramel producing business, they now make the famous Reese’s, Twizzlers, Almond Joy, York, Kit Kat and more!
And, watch out for new and improved Deluxe Hershey Kiss that will hit stores on November 5!
Businesses start with one thing – an idea. And that’s exactly what Frank C. Mars had. Well, that and a mother who enjoyed teaching him how to dip chocolate. That’s where his love for candy began.
Mars began selling Taylor’s Molasses Chips in Minnesota at age 19. It wasn’t until 1911 that he started making – and selling – his own butter cream candy that was produced right from his own kitchen. Nine years later, Mars realized he needed a bigger space to make his candies and began researching and developing the famous Milky Way bar.
In 1920, with 200 employees, Mars moved the central office to Chicago where it still remains today.
Now they do a lot more than just dip chocolate; Mars produces the following candies that we all know and love:
- 3 Musketeers
- Milky Way
- And more!
William Wrigley, Jr. wasn’t always in the candy business. At the age of 29, Wrigley came to Chicago and started selling soap. So how did he go from the soap business to candy?
Eventually he began adding in a free can of baking powder for every soap purchase the customers made. Then, because his customer demand was for baking powder, he switched into that business instead. Still wanting more sales, Wrigley had the idea to then offer free chewing gum with each can of baking powder they bought. Well, it looks like the gum business stuck.
In 1892, only one year later, Wrigley started producing gum through a manufacturing company in Chicago before buying the company outright in 1911. Juicy Fruit, the “number one fruit gum brand in the United States” arrived on the scene in 1893.
And today, Wrigley’s is far more than Juicy Fruit:
- Hubba Bubba
The evolution of the Nestle candy – and Nestle brand – is unlike any other on this list. In 1867, Henri Nestlé launched his first product – a combination of cow’s milk, wheat flour and sugar – as a medical aid to save the life of his neighbor’s child. After a merger with another popular American company (Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company), the Nestle chocolate business was born.
Through war time, Nestle has to discover new ways to keep the business afloat. There was an increasing demand for dairy products, so Nestle took advantage and purchased several existing dairy factories in the U.S.
Then came their famous Nescafe coffee (eventually becoming a staple beverage for Americans serving in Europe and Asia), Nestea, and Nesquik. As World War II came to a close, Nestle was able to accelerate their growth by introducing new products and acquiring outside companies.
Today, Nestle is known for many things, but candy-lovers everywhere recognize them for:
- 100 Grand
- Baby Ruth
- Oh Henry
- Pixy Stix
- Sno Caps
- And more!
We hope you enjoyed this brief history lesson on all the candy brands Halloween has become famous for. This year, as you bite into a delicious Milky Way or Butterfinger, remember the history and the hard work that went into it.
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