Hershey, a beloved chocolate candy brand, is well over 100 years old. And it is not uncommon for companies of this age to have name changes or shifts in ownership, as time goes on. But where did Hersey begin, and who exactly owns it now?
Let’s find out in my in-depth look at Who Owns Hershey!
The Founding Father
Milton Hershey established The Hershey Chocolate Company in 1894. It took him a good while, but his love of all things chocolate finally paid off, and he was able to sell his first candy bar in 1900. This was also the first introduction to milk chocolate, which made an exclusive luxury item accessible and affordable to the masses.
Milton opened Lancaster Caramel Company (LCC) as part of his portfolio but ended up selling it, keeping his beloved Hershey. In 1907, the famous Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses were manufactured.
The chocolate mogul and his wife started the Deed of Trust for The Hershey Industrial School in 1909, later known as the Milton Hershey School. In 1918, Milton placed the assets of the Hershey Chocolate Company in the trust fund.
It was an odd move, but some say it was a clever disguise to appear charitable even though he remained in control of the money. Milton was able to transform his town into a tourist hotspot; the elite would send their children to the prestigious school, and businesses and hotels popped up all around. By 1927, Hershey’s was trading on the stock market.
Sadly, the great chocolatier passed on in October 1945 at the ripe old age of 88. He lived out his days in a modest home and left behind a magnificent chocolate empire.
What Happened after Milton’s Death?
Hershey continued to flourish and expand, despite the Depression. In 1963, it acquired the H.B. Reese Candy Company. In the 1970s, Hershey’s Chocolate World was opened, and Hershey added Twizzlers and Y&S Licorice to their list of acquisitions. Hershey reached $1 Billion in annual sales before the decade was over.
Hershey bought out LEAF, Inc in 1996, adding another 40 brands of candy to their offering. Hershey co-founded the World Cocoa Foundation in 2000 to support and improve the conditions of cocoa farming in West Africa. Its latest addition of owned brands, Lily’s Sweets, occurred in 2021.
Today, Hershey has expanded internationally and is a multi-billion-dollar company, and has been recognized as one of the most community-minded companies for nine consecutive years.
Want to Find Out More about Hershey’s?
Then check out our in-depth Hersheys Mission and Vision Statement Analysis for 2023.
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Alternatively, if all this talk of chocolate has left you feeling hungry, get yourself HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bulk Candy, Individually Wrapped, 4.4 oz XL Bars (12 Count), HERSHEY’S KISSES Milk Chocolate Candy, Easter, 35.8 oz Party Bag, or the delicious HERSHEY’S NUGGETS Assorted Chocolate Candy Mix, Easter, 31.5 oz Bulk Party Pack,
But Who Owns Hershey?
In fact, there isn’t a company that owns Hershey, but rather Hershey that owns other companies. The answer was in the founding father all along; his wife passed before him, and they had no children. He started by giving assets to the trust and continued doing so.
Today the majority is owned by private owners, and a minority is owned by the trust itself. However, trust has a majority voting power, and decisions are made by the appointed board.
Enjoy your Hersheys and all the best with your career with the company.