The Hershey Creamery Company, also known as Hershey’s Ice Cream, is an American creamery that manufactures ice cream, sorbet, sherbet, frozen yogurt, and other frozen desserts like smoothies and frozen slab-style ice cream mixers. The Hershey Company, also known as Hershey’s, is an American multinational corporation and one of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturers. But did you know these two companies are not affiliated with each other?
Despite being founded in the same city, in the same year, and with the same name, Hershey’s ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate have no affiliation and have been involved in multiple legal battles over their shared name.
Hershey’s versus Hershey’s
This is the story of an often ridiculous feud between two companies that has lasted since they were both founded in 1894, making this feud older than any human alive today. In one corner, we have Hershey’s Chocolate, the giant corporation with annual sales of more than $8 billion; in the other corner, we have Hershey’s Ice Cream, which is primarily sold in the eastern part of the United States, with sales just under $70 million, which is entirely respectable when compared to, you know, a global behemoth of a brand.
The local milk supply has played a role in the early rivalry, as dairy is an essential ingredient for both companies. A story in Lebanon, Pennsylvania Evening Report in 1910 detailed deals and consolidations involving various regional creameries that effectively put the two companies in control of the regional dairy industry.
This overlap occasionally made things confusing for locals. When a typhoid outbreak was traced to a creamery run by Hershey’s Ice Cream in 1916, a local headline screamed that there were too many bacilli to count! The newspaper coverage included a statement from Hershey’s Chocolate saying that they had absolutely no connection to that other business and also did not deal in milk, ice cream, or butter. (Source: Snack Stack)
Winning the One True Hershey Chocolate
Hershey’s Ice Cream ran large newspaper ads touting its new French chocolate flavor, which used chocolate processed by Hershey Brothers Chocolate, emphasizing the two companies’ relationship.
Soon after, Milton S. Hershey hired an investigator to determine what his competitors were up to. He discovered that the brothers were selling chocolate bars and bite-size chocolate drop candy nearly identical to Hershey’s.
Milton Hershey’s lawyer sent a threatening letter to the ice cream company, but they did not stop, so he sued and won in 1926. It was illegal for the Hershey brothers to use their name to sell chocolate or cocoa products. They didn’t stop, however, and moved their operation out of town, hoping that the specifics of the legal restrictions would stay within a reasonable distance.
Unfortunately for them, brand awareness and the telegraph were already in place. Milton received a telegram in 1929 from one of his representatives in Omaha, who had heard that the Hershey Brothers were at it again in Nebraska, attempting to sell chocolate under the Hershey name.
Foiled yet again, the Hershey brothers finally closed their chocolate company, renaming it Eatmor. It went on for a few more years before the company failed, finding it much more difficult to compete without the famous name attached. (Source: Snack Stack)
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