Everyone has their favorite candy, but we don’t often think about where our go-to treats originated. The HISTORY Channel’s The Food That Built America dives into the chocolate craze of the 1900s that is responsible for some of our favorite sweets like Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, Reese’s, and, of course, the Hershey’s chocolate bar.
Episode two of the second season of The Food That Built America (Full disclosure: Our editorial director Jo Saltz makes an appearance in a bunch of episodes this forthcoming season!) goes into detail about the stories behind these iconic brands and you’ll never look at the candy aisle the same again.
There’s a rich history behind the entire candy industry—here are some things you probably didn’t know about The Hershey Company you know and love.
- Milton S. Hershey invented the first Hershey’s chocolate bar formula in 1900. Seven years later, Hershey Kisses were launched.
- Candy became increasingly popular in the 1920s because during Prohibition; people turned to sweets for indulgence as alcohol was outlawed.
- Prior to perfecting the Hershey’s milk chocolate recipe, Milton S. Hershey owned the Lancaster Caramel Company.
- Reese’s peanut butter cups were invented by Harry Burnett Reese (…who actually once worked at a Hershey’s dairy farm).
- Hershey’s eventually backed Reese’s. This partnership is why Hershey’s chocolate is used in every Reese’s cup.
- Some of the first loyal customers of the Reese’s brand prior to the partnership were Hershey Company employees.
- Reese’s peanut butter cups get their unique shape because when Reese was first experimenting with the confections, using a baking tin was the only way the chocolate melted properly around the peanut butter.
- The key to the perfect Reese’s peanut butter cup is to over-roast the peanuts before turning them into peanut butter. That’s what gives it that unique grainy texture.
- Candy first started being passed out for Halloween in the 1950s. Before then, children received small toys or coins for the holiday.
- The Reese’s Company makes over $2.5 billion per year.
You can tune in to The Food That Built America on The HISTORY Channel on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST.
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