The Hershey Company is a leading snack food maker and the largest North American manufacturer of quality chocolate and non-chocolate candy products. The company markets many well-known brands including Hershey's, Reese's, Kit Kat, Twizzler's, Hershey's Kisses, and Ice Breakers. Hershey is the leader in the fast-growing dark and premium chocolate segment, with such brands as Hershey's Special Dark, Hershey's Extra Dark and Cacao Reserve by Hershey's. Hershey's Ice Breakers franchise delivers refreshment across a variety of mint and gum flavors and formats.
Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, markets premium chocolate offerings like Scharffen Berger, known for its high-cacao dark chocolate products, and Joseph Schmidt, recognized for its fine, handcrafted chocolate gifts, and Dagoba, known for its high-quality natural and organic chocolate bars.
For 2009, Hershey reported sales of $5.29 billion, a 3.2% increase, and net income of $435.9 million.
The company's hometown -- Hershey, PA -- includes Hershey Park which offers 60 rides and attractions. Each ride is tied to a Hershey's candy brand. One-day admission is $41.95 for adults. The park was founded in 1807 by company founder Milton Hershey.
The company also operates a free visitor center in town called Hershey's Chocolate World, which shows visitors how chocolate is made.
In June, the Hershey company said it would move work from a century-old facility in East Hershey, PA to an expanded facility in West Hershey. With automation and new technology, 500-600 jobs will be lost.
In 1876, following a four-year apprenticeship as a teenager to a Lancaster, PA, candy maker, Milton Hershey attempted to start his own candy business in Philadelphia. Despite six years of hard work, it failed. So he moved to Denver and found work with a confectioner who taught him how to make caramels using fresh milk. He then started up a second candy business in New York City. It also failed. Undaunted, he returned to Lancaster and once again tried making a go of the caramel business. This time, it worked. Soon, his Lancaster Caramel Company was shipping all over the U.S. and Europe, employing 1400 people and turning him into one of the area's leading citizens.
In 1894, Hershey decided to produce sweet chocolate as a coating for his caramels. He called his new enterprise 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."
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 which 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, hard-working people, the location was perfect. By the summer of 1905, the new factory was turning out delicious milk chocolate.
Looking to expand its product line, the company in 1907 began producing a flat-bottomed, conical milk chocolate candy which 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 KISS Chocolate. In 1924, the company even had it trademarked.
Throughout the next two decades, even more products were added to the company's offerings. These included MR. GOODBAR (1925), HERSHEY'S Syrup (1926), 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.
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 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.
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).
After the first year of service, employees earn vacation days based on years of continuous service:
Employees can also purchase up to five additional vacation days per year.
Updated June 14, 2010