In households across the country, the name “Hershey” means quality chocolate or an amazing theme park. For households in some parts of West Africa, the word “Hershey” means an income, food on the table, and a roof to sleep under. Hershey means many things to many people. Many, however, do not know about the history of the delicious chocolate or the integrity that the company has. It is impossible to delve into the rich history of the Hershey empire without first looking at the extraordinary, passionate, man behind the company. Milton Hershey was born in a country farmhouse on September 13, 1857.
He was born in Derry Church, a village near Central Pennsylvania (inventors. about. com). Hershey was the only surviving child to his parents Henry and Fannie Hershey. Raised in a strict Mennonite home, Hershey only completed fourth grade, due to frequent moves that his family made (hersheypa. com). “If I ever become rich, I am going to use my money to build schools to give every boy and girl an opportunity to get an education,” Hershey told his parents when he was young (The Body, Mind, and Soul of William Snavely Hershey). He wanted other children to be able to have the education that he was not able to get.
Although he had limited education, Hershey was still known to be a clever man. His first job as an apprentice to a candy maker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania would spark a passion that was hidden within him. He worked side-by-side with the candy maker for four years. When he was a mere eighteen years of age, in 1876, he left his apprentice job to open his own candy shop in Philadelphia. After six years of business, the shop closed. The failure of the first shop was not enough to stifle his growing passion for candy. Hershey moved to Denver, Colorado where he learned the caramel-making skill while working with a caramel manufacturer.
Though his first candy shop was not successful, Hershey was gaining much knowledge and knew that one day he would put it to use. He did put his new caramel making skill to use in 1886 when he moved back to his home of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and began a very successful Lancaster Caramel Company. It was this business that really established Hershey as a successful and quality candy maker. German chocolate-making machinery intrigued Hershey when he viewed it at an exhibit at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. While he was at the exhibit, he purchased the machinery and began experimenting with chocolate when he returned to his company.
He enjoyed working with the chocolate so much that he began to lose interest in the Lancaster Caramel Company. As Hershey himself said, “Caramels are only a fad. Chocolate is a permanent thing,” (www. quotesforall. com). Hershey sold the company for one million dollars in 1900. His chocolate creations began getting rave reviews from friends and family, so he decided to go back to his roots. He returned to his birthplace, Derry Church, and built a new chocolate factory because he knew that it was there that he would have access to all of the fresh milk that he would need for his now famous milk chocolate.
He made a few unsatisfying batches of chocolate until he came up with the perfect recipe. Once only offered to the Swiss, Hershey’s milk chocolate became the “first nationally marketed product of its kind,” (www. hersheypa. com). He named his new chocolate company the Hershey Chocolate Company. He began producing chocolate covered caramels, sweet chocolate, baking chocolate, breakfast cocoa, among many other treats. Hershey’s vision did not rest alone on the candy, however. He envisioned an entire town that he would call Hershey. He built a model town as a first step to designing his town.
He imagined that his employees would want to live there in comfortable homes, a public school system, a public transportation system and streets that were lined with think, beautiful trees. Hershey did not want it to just be another town. He wanted it to be a town that people would want to call “home. ” His model contained tiny brick houses that rested upon green manicured lawns. Hershey began building the town during the Great Depression. His idea turned into a campaign called “Milton Hershey’s Great Building Campaign,” that provided jobs to those who were without.
Afraid that there was not something that really stood out in the town to attract attention and also serve as recreation to the townspeople, Hershey built a park that opened on April 24, 1907. As the park grew throughout the years, it gained amusement rides, trolleys, and a swimming pool. Hershey did not stop at just adding the amusement park. He branched out and built The Hotel Hershey, a theater, a sports arena and stadium, and a community center (www. hersheypa. com). The town grew into a major tourist attraction and made a name for Pennsylvania.
The Hershey Chocolate Company began to produce more and more varieties of candy throughout the years. The ever popular Hershey Kiss was created in 1907 followed by the little “plume,” or tag that extends from the wrapper in 1924 (inventors. about. com). Just as they seemed to be on top of the world, Hershey and his wife were given a big trial that they decided to turn into a blessing. It was when Hershey and his wife found that they were unable to have children that they decided to begin a charitable foundation. In 1935, Milton Hershey established The M. S.
Hershey Foundation. The foundation provided cultural opportunities and education for local residents of his home in Pennsylvania. In 1945, Milton Hershey died at the age of eighty-eight. He had lived to watch his company go from simply being a dream to it becoming a dream come true. Though his death saddened the world Hershey’s legacy lives on through his company. The Hershey Chocolate Company is even more successful today.
According to www. thehersheycompany. com, Hershey Chocolate is the “largest manufacturer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products. The most well-known products today is the Hershey bar, the Hershey Kiss, Mounds, Almond Joy, Reese’s, and Twizzler. Hershey did not limit itself to remaining solely in the United States. Not only did the company want to sell it’s product in other countries, but also knew that if they supported cocoa farming in countries that had the ability to farm cocoa beans, it would help the economy of those countries. “At The Hershey Company, we are actively working to improve the lives of the millions of small family farmers who grow cocoa around the world,” writes www. hehersheycompany. com. According to the site, the cocoa bean crop is the main source of income for many of the farmers in these countries. When crop is lost due to bugs or disease, the farmers and their families are severely impacted.
In 2000, Hershey began the World Cocoa Foundation to help with these situations. The company develops and manages fund raisers and communicates the needs of the farmers. With nearly sixty members companies supporting the foundation many of the farmer’s needs can be met. According to thehersheycompany. om, “There are nearly two million small family farms growing cocoa in West Africa. The Ivory Coast is the largest producer of cocoa in the world and has over 600,000 small family farms and nearly 5 million people who depend upon this very important crop for their livelihood. ” Many of the family farms allowed their children to help with the farming, which got the work done faster, but also increased the risk of injury or death due to farming equipment that was not intended for children to be using. With the children working on the farm, it also leaves no time for them to gain an education.
Using children as a means of lightening the farming burden became popular among child traffickers. When Hershey heard about the trafficking, they began to make sure that the farming was done responsibly and legally without children being sold to farmers. “We joined with the worldwide cocoa and chocolate industry in signing a congressionally sponsored Protocol designed to eliminate child labor from cocoa growing,” writes the website. The Hershey Chocolate Company created an International Cocoa Initiative that teaches farmers what farm work is more appropriate for children and what farm work is not.
The Initiative is also building schools and hiring qualified teachers so that the children can spend less time on the farm and more time getting an education. The foundation began forming a Farmer Field School program that works with the farmers by showing them how to handle certain farming scenarios and tips that they did not know before. The schools have significantly increased the success rate of cocoa farming and also provided a larger income for many farmers and their families. The schools, which began in West Africa, have now branched into Latin America.
The Hershey Chocolate Company has not offered its delicious chocolate around the world, but used its company to help the economical struggles of poorer countries. The Farmer Field Schools are also helping the ecosystem of the countries that are using it. Since the schools teach the farmers how to avoid pests and diseases, the use of chemicals is decreased, this makes for a cleaner, healthier ecosystem. The missions that The Hershey Chocolate Company takes on could be perhaps because of these words of its founder, “We should deal with one another not as classes but as persons, as brothers.
The more closely we work together, the more effectively can we contribute to the better health of all mankind; this should be our common objective and its achievement would make the world a happier place in which to live,” Hershey said in “The Mind, Body, and Soul of Milton Snavely Hershey. ” When it comes to marketing globally, Hershey makes sure to be responsible. “Our strong values guide our behavior in all aspects of our brand-building work. We apply these values to all consumer communications worldwide, including advertising, promotions, sweepstakes and contests, websites and all other consumer messages,” the company said on the website.
While they want everyone to be able to enjoy their products, Hershey is careful when it comes to advertising to children under the age of thirteen. “As of January 1, 2007, we will not advertise in any media in the United States targeted to children under the age of 12, except for advertisements related to health and wellness products or messages promoting healthy lifestyles. We plan to extend this policy world wide as existing commitments expire,” writes www. thehersheycompany. com.
To prove how much they care about the physical health of their customers, Hershey sponsors different activities such as the Hershey Track and Field Games. The company says that it is okay to indulge in sweets as long as it is done in moderation and as long as the person lives an active and healthy lifestyle. According to the website, Hershey not only supports Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Better Business Bureau, but also the Ad Council’s Coalition for Healthy Children: Combating Childhood Obesity campaign.
Unlike many companies, who know that children are a great target for marketing, Hershey is more concerned with the ethics of advertising to children. According to the website, the company now has revenues of more than four billion dollars and more than thirteen thousand employees worldwide. What could largely be the cause of the success of the company are the ethics and morals on which it was founded. With the death of Milton Hershey, the company is not losing the integrity it was founded on, but has ethics as strong as before.
The mission statement of the company only proves more how much the company wants to put their customers before anything else. “Top-tier value creation, driven by superior performance across the business system, organizational capabilities and passion that compete in the present and build for the future, commitment to enabling and encouraging balanced, healthy lives, portfolio of brands that delights consumer across multiple segments, delivers superior growth and profitability to retailers, is available everywhere and the ability to transform consumer and customer desires to marketplace wins,” wrote the company on their website.
There are few companies that are thriving as The Hershey Chocolate Company has thrived. The story of Hershey is a success story that could inspire most anybody. Not only did he start from humble beginnings, but also he only had up to fourth grade of education. He was at the bottom of the totem pole in the candy making business when he worked as an apprentice and his first attempt at owning his own candy shop failed. While those facts alone could have made anyone else give up on their dream, Hershey didn’t choose to do that.
He chased his dream and worked hard at it until he could see it become reality. In the book about his life, he said this about his success, “In this blooming civilization, with its economic setup, relatively few men can afford tailor-made suits or shoes built according to their own lasts. But, there is not a man who can’t tailor the garments of his own soul; to get an excellent fit in principles; wearing his philosophy in comfort and pride. ”