The Hershey Foods Corporation is the world's largest chocolate company. The headquarters are located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, a town permeated by the aroma of cocoa. It was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894 as the Hershey Chocolate Company, a subsidiary of his Lancaster Caramel Company. Hershey's candies are now sold worldwide.
Hershey's is one of the oldest chocolate companies in the United States, and an American icon for its chocolate-flavored bar. Today, Hershey Foods Corporation owns many other candy companies. Hershey Foods Corporation is also affiliated with Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, who runs Hersheypark, a chocolate-themed amusement park.
Hershey's chocolate-flavored candies are widely popular in the United States and many other countries in the world. However, they are widely disliked in much of Europe because of their low cocoa content, their waxy texture, and their chemical flavor. Many do not even consider the candies to be "chocolate" in the traditional sense, but rather as cocoa-flavored vegetable oils, also called "vegelate".
It all started when eighteen-year-old Hershey was placed to a chocolate maker as the apprentice. He opened chocolate factories in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Then he had a success with Lacashire Caramel Corporation. Hershey was not really interested in caramel because the tools used in Germany and Belgium that were used for making chocolate fascinated him. He sold the caramel business for a million dollars, a large sum at the time, and created a factory of making chocolate, and researching chocolate.
Hershey built a chocolate factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The factory was an immediate success.
Evidently, working for him was a joy: he gave his workers many benefits such as homes in the surrounding community, a transportation system, aid for schools, and specialized doctors. He also built a park for the community in which his employees lived that became the famous Hershey Park. After the park was finished Hershey became a philanthropist. He also opened a prestigious school for orphaned boys. When he passed away in 1945 he left all of his belongings to the Hershey school system.
Today, most of Hershey's chocolate-flavored candies are not made using traditional recipes, but instead use far less cocoa content and a higher incorporation of vegetable oil and chemicals. Though still highly popular, they not popular in France, Germany, or other countries with a strong chocolate tradition.