The Evolution of The Hershey's Chocolate Bar Wrapper

in Candy Blog

The Hershey's Bar is iconic there is no question about it.

Wander through any grocery store, gas station, or food location and you’re bound to stumble into the coveted candy bar that has withstood the test of over 120 years–yeah that’s right 120.

The decadent and smooth bar was developed in 1900 by none other than Milton Hershey who was determined to learn his own way of crafting confections without the help or advice of the Swiss who had originally brought milk chocolate to the world in 1876.

His recipe consisted of a secret combination of milk, cocoa and other ingredients (still unknown to most) that not only tasted delicious but also survived transportation in the heat.

If you’ve ever pulled a gooey chocolate bar from your elementary school backpack, you’ll know the devastation that comes when you realize your sweet treat has become one with the wrapper—but I digress.

With the proper proportions in his hand and this tasty treat ready for the world to eat, Milton launched Hershey's first chocolate bar for a whopping 5 cents. Adorned on it’s wrapper read, “more sustaining than meat.”

Now I for one wish this was actually true—could you imagine if chocolate bars we’re more sustaining than meat? I’d be doubling down and eating that goodness 3 square a day. Nonetheless, customers flocked to wherever Hershey's bars were sold and snatched them off the shelves faster than a kid in a candy store—yes, you can laugh about that one.

Today you can find Herhsey’s bars of all different shapes and sizes, flavors and forms. From their classic milk chocolate bar, to the cookies and cream, all the way down to those tiny Hershey's nuggets filled with nuts, toffee, and my personal favorite double chocolate. 

I could go on about the history of Hershey's, how it has dominated the grocery store shelves, and how you can pretty much slap it on any sweets and you’re guaranteed to love it, but today we’re talking less about the creamy chocolate on the inside and more on the creative covering that is the Hershey's Chocolate Bar wrapper.

As a company that prides ourselves on taking you back in time via sweets, the Hershey's Chocolate bar wrapper is quite literally a timeline of candy in the modern United States.

Hershey's in 1900


Back in 1900 when they first launched, Hershey's paid tribute to it’s era by covering the outside of their candy with an old english style font that was accompanied by the classic cow embossing and the tagline “a nutritious confection.”

This would be the hallmark for roughly the next decade until they decided it was time to change it up in 1912. This was pre Great Depression era, where the world was booming and people’s taste buds we’re evolving from traditional European sweets to a different flavor for candy and Hershey's wanted to highlight this.

So they did what any smart candy brand would do and covered the back of their wrapper with a can of their signature Hershey's cocoa. Then, they took it one step further and plastered their name across the entire front of the wrapper, minimizing the “milk chocolate” messaging for a more forward and progressive look. 

This would become the reference for future iterations of all Hershey's bars that came into existence. (See below)

Hershey's in 1912


As the ‘30s rolled around minimal changes were made to the exterior of the wrapper–a few font adjustments like bolding up the Hershey's logo and adding some small entourage like, calling their snack a “food” and “drink”. But it wasn’t until the ‘50s that Hershey’s made a big jump into the style that we know and love here in 2021.

First, they tightened up the Hershey’s font and stretched it out like a Laffy Taffy. From top to bottom you could see the name from an aisle away in the store, reminding you that the cure to your cravings was only a few steps away. They complimented this change with the bold and bodacious move of changing the tagline to “first in favor and flavor”. 

There aren't too many brands willing to jump on such a statement, but best believe when you run one of the most successful confectionary companies in the world, you take what you want and own it—and own it they did. Check out the serious upgrade they made in 1950…

Hershey's in 1950


Over the next 20 years things stayed relatively the same, the only major change one could notice was when they transitioned from five cent bars to ten cent bars and doubled the weight of the bar itself. Then in 1973, they began adding nutrition labels to their bars, making them the first in the confectionary industry to do such.

Once again, Hershey’s stepped into the spotlight taking initiative like they did when they first started. 

Hershey's in 1973


Again, they kept it simple, clean, and consistent from day one, making sure that every person who entered a store immediately knew what they were looking for when they wandered down the candy aisle. 

In 1985 they paid tribute to the original inner foil wrapping by adding it back into their classic candy bar. This move catapulted them into even bigger popularity as it resonated with both the new age of consumers, while also connecting deeply with those who knew Hershey’s from back in the day. This move only lasted until 2003 when they found a better way to preserve their chocolate by wrapping it in a single fin-seal film wrapper. 

This new wrapper not only became the wrapper that we see today on the shelves, but also marked the change in brand name to The Hershey Company—a big move from their original name the Hershey Foods Corporation.

I'll spare you the details of the last twenty years since you’ve probably been able to witness the massive moves that Hershey’s has made over the last two decades. The one major change to note was their addition of the silver edging that paid tribute to the foil that once caressed the cover of their chocolate. (See below)

Hershey's in 2016-Present


When it’s all said and done, there’s something about a Hershey’s bar that can take anyone back to a moment in time. Moments that are made sweeter with the taste of their milk chocolate and the experience that comes from eating it. I can still remember those days as a kid, sneaking extra pieces of chocolate by the campfire before the s’mores were even made, realizing I left one singular piece for the actual s’more itself.

And I think there’s something special about that, something special about a simple candy bar that can remind people that life is in fact sweet and all it takes is one bite.

If this piece got you craving a few Hershey’s Candy Bars yourself, may I recommend hopping over to our Hershey’s Candy Aisle and grabbing yourself a few and sending your tastebuds back to the sweet days. Enjoy!

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