The History of American Chocolate Candy

We all have fond memories of eating candy bars in our childhood but believe it or not, candy bars have been around much longer than you would suspect - hundreds of years, in fact! You can date the humble candy bar back to 1847 when Joseph Fry discovered a method by which cocoa powder, sugar and cocoa could be mixed together into a paste which could then be placed into a mould. Before this discovery, drinking chocolate was hugely popular in its current form so the invention of the candy bar was a complete revelation. Even though this new form of chocolate was a completely new experience back then, it is still a very different product to the candy bars we enjoy today.

It was in 1876 that actual milk chocolate was invented in Switzerland by Daniel Peter. The work that lead up to this discovery was long and arduous, taking him just over 8 years. He had to wait another 3 years before he teamed up with Henri Nestle to form the Nestle Company which went on to introduce the Nestle Crunch candy bars in 1938.

Milk chocolate was eventually manufactured in bulk thanks to the efforts of Milton S Hershey who set up a factory in Pennsylvania. Before this, chocolate was considered a luxury that was only affordable by the wealthiest members of society. This large scale manufacturing enabled the price of chocolate to be brought down, making it available to everyone. It was in 1900 that the all time most popular Hershey Chocolate bar was introduced to the general public. Everyone had to wait until 8 years later when Hershey started to produce a version of the bar with almonds in.

The popularity of milk chocolate candy bars continued to increase to the point where several companies started to manufacture their own candy bars. The founding of the Mars Company in 1911 lead to the introduction of the Heath Candy bar in 1914. In the early 1900s candy bars were being manufactured in their hundreds and the increase in marketing methods meant that most were familiar with treats such as the Butterfinger bar and the Milky Way which were introduced to the market in 1923. The world famous Baby Ruth bar was introduced to the public in 1925 along with the Oh Henry and Mr. Goodbar candy bars.

As the 1930s dawned, increase for chocolate bars grew evermore. This was due in no small part to the Hershey company creating a chocolate bar marketed towards those in the fighting forces. When those who were fighting in the 1st and 2nd world war came home, they were hungry for the chocolate that had been shipped out to them in the field and as a result sales skyrocketed. It was in the 1930s that chocolate bars such as Kit Kat, Snickers and 3 Musketeers (all manufactured by Nestle) were market leaders.

The popularity of chocolate has continued to increase year on year to the point where today it is estimated that 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate are consumed each year in the USA alone. Recent studies suggest that chocolate may even be good for you so there is no sign of sales of chocolate slowing down any time soon!

Dave Matthews is writing on behalf of American Soda, a leading online retailer of American Sweets.
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