The History of Chocolate
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The Story

Cadbury was founded almost 200 years ago. Delve into the fascinating history and you'll find a wealth of interesting facts on subjects including advertising, Cadbury family, past and present products and philanthropy.
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1824 John Cadbury opened Bull Street shop

In 1824, John Cadbury opened a grocer’s shop at 93 Bull Street, Birmingham. Among other things, he sold cocoa and drinking chocolate, which he prepared himself using a pestle and mortar.

1831 John Cadbury opens factory in Crooked Lane

The Cadbury manufacturing business was born in 1831, when John Cadbury decided to start producing on a commercial scale and bought a four-storey warehouse in nearby Crooked Lane.

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1842 The range expands

By 1842 John Cadbury was selling no less than 16 varieties of drinking chocolate and 11 different cocoas! The earliest preserved price list shows that you could buy drinking chocolate in the form of both pressed cakes and powder.

The chocolate varieties boasted titles like 'Churchman's Chocolate’, 'Spanish Chocolate’, and 'Fine Brown Chocolate’. Cocoa was sold as flakes, in powder and in nibs, and went by names including, 'Granulated Cocoa’, 'Iceland Moss’, 'Pearl’ and 'Homeopathic’. It’s intriguing to imagine what the ingredients might have been!

1847 The business moves to Bridge Street

In 1847, the Cadbury brothers' booming business moved into a new, larger factory in Bridge Street in the centre of Birmingham.

The new site had its own private canal spur, which linked the factory to the Birmingham Navigation Canal and from there to all the major ports in Britain.

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1847 Fry's Produce the First Chocolate Bar

18th century France produced pastilles (tablets) and bars. But it wasn’t until Bristol company Fry & Son made a ‘chocolate delicieux a manger’ in 1847 that the first bar of chocolate appeared, as we know it today.

The first ever chocolate bar was made from a mixture of cocoa powder and sugar with a little of the melted cocoa butter that had been extracted from the beans. The result was a bar that could be moulded.

It might have been coarse and bitter by today’s standards, but it was still a revolution. Shaped into blocks and bars, and poured over fruit-flavoured centres, this plain chocolate was a real breakthrough. But there were many more treats in store...

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1861 Richard and George Cadbury take charge

John's health rapidly declined and he finally retired in 1861, handing over complete control of the business to his sons Richard and George.The brothers were just 25 and 21 when they took charge of the business.
Although they’d both worked for the company for a number of years, taking control must still have been a daunting prospect for Richard and George. Other cocoa manufacturers were going bust, and they must have been worried that Cadbury Bros would

soon be joining them. Luckily, they had a financial lifeline: each invested £4000 in the business, money that had been left to them by their mother. It was the equivalent of about £600,000 today, but it didn’t solve all their problems. The first few years were tough. To keep the business alive, the brothers worked long hours and lived frugally. George looked after production and buying. Richard looked after sales and marketing, which wasn't in good shape - he commented that if the business ever made a profit of a thousand pounds a year he would retire a happy man!

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1866 An innovative processing technique is introduced

The turning point for the Cadbury business was the introduction of a new processing technique, resulting in the 1866 launch of 'Cadbury Cocoa Essence', the UK's first unadulterated cocoa.

Before Cocoa Essence, the cocoa Cadbury produced, like that of many other manufacturers, contained high levels of cocoa butter. They had to add starches to mask its taste and texture. But George Cadbury had heard about an innovative cocoa press being used by a Dutch manufacturer called Coenraad Johannes van Houten. The press squeezed out much of the cocoa butter from the beans, so it wasn’t necessary to add starches.

Could this be the way forward? Buying the press was a massive gamble. It was expensive and the brothers had little money. It had to be used for mass production and no one knew if there’d be enough demand for the product. But the Cadbury brothers decided to go for it - the first British manufacturer to go down this route. It was a momentous step, one that changed the British cocoa business and led to the future prosperity of Cadbury. The press was installed in their factory in Bridge Street, Cadbury Brothers’ new product appeared. Cocoa Essence was extensively advertised as 'Absolutely Pure. Therefore Best’, alongside medical testimonials. The marketing of Cocoa Essence helped increase sales dramatically and transformed a small business into the worldwide company that Cadbury is today.

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1875 First Milk Chocolate Bar

In 1875, a Swiss manufacturer called Daniel Peter added milk to his recipe to make the first milk chocolate bar.

This wasn’t a completely new idea; Cadbury produced their milk chocolate drink based on Sir Hans Sloane’s recipe between 1849 and 1875. And Cadbury added their own milk chocolate bars in 1897. But Daniel Peter was still way ahead of them – using condensed milk rather than powdered milk to produce a chocolate with a superior taste and texture. Another Swiss manufacturer invented the conching machine in 1879. This refined chocolate, giving it the smooth texture we know today. Swiss milk chocolate dominated the British market – a situation the Cadbury family set out to challenge in the 20th Century.

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1875 Cadbury makes their first Easter egg

The first Cadbury Easter egg was made in 1875. The earliest eggs were made with dark chocolate and had a smooth, plain surface. They were filled with sugar-coated chocolate drops known as 'dragees’. Later Easter eggs were decorated and had their plain shells enhanced with chocolate piping and marzipan flowers. so it wasn't necessary to add starches.

1878 The Cadbury Brothers are inspired by their vision

When the Bridge Street factory became too small, George Cadbury had a new vision of the future. 'Why should an industrial area be squalid and depressing?’ he asked. His vision was shared by his brother Richard, and they began searching for a very special site for their new factory.

In 1878 the brothers found their new home. They chose a 14½ acre greenfield site between the villages of Stirchley, King's Norton and Selly Oak, about four miles south of central Birmingham. The site comprised a meadow with a cottage and a trout stream - the Bourn.

The cottage isn’t there any more, but the pear tree from its garden still stands outside the main Cadbury reception at the Bournville factory. The factory was initially going to be called, Bournbrook, after the cottage and Bournbrook Hall which stood nearby. But instead, 'Bournville' was chosen - combining the name of the stream with 'ville', the French word for town. At Bournville, workers lived in far better conditions than they'd experienced in the crowded slums of the city. The new site had canal, train and road links and a good water supply. There was lots of room to expand, which was lucky, because George’s plans for the future were ambitious. He wanted to build a place full of green spaces, where industrial workers could thrive away from city pollution. 'No man ought to be condemned to live in a place where a rose cannot grow.’ George Cadbury.

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1879 Bournville 'The Factory in a Garden' is born

Birmingham architect, George H. Gadd worked closely with George Cadbury to draw up plans for the factory. The first bricks were laid in January 1879 and 16 houses for foremen and senior employees were built on the site.

These mostly semi-detached houses were well-built and spaced out with ample gardens. Production began at the Cadbury Brothers' 'Bournville factory in a garden' in September 1879. When the workers arrived they found facilities that were simply unknown in Victorian times. There was a field next to the factory where men were encouraged to play cricket and football; a garden and playground for the girls; a kitchen where workers could heat up their meals, and properly heated dressing rooms where they could get changed. As George said, 'If the country is a good place to live in, why not to work in?’ Keen sportsmen, Richard and George encouraged sports and recreations, often playing cricket themselves. Sports facilities grew to include football, hockey and cricket pitches, tennis and squash racquet courts and a bowling green. Gradually women's and men's swimming pools were built and every young boy and girl joining the company was encouraged to become a good swimmer. Work outings to the country were organised together with summer camps for the young boys. Morning prayers and daily bible readings, first started in 1866, helped preserve the family atmosphere and continued for another 50 years, until the workforce grew too large for such an assembly. For workers who still needed to travel to the new factory from their homes in Birmingham, the Cadbury brothers negotiated special workmen's train fares to Bournville’s Stirchley Station with the local railway company. Cadbury duly became famous not just for its prosperity, but also for the advances in conditions and social benefits for its workforce.

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1893 George Cadbury Adds Another 120 Acres to Bournville

George Cadbury had already created some houses for key workers when the Bournville factory was built. Then, in 1893, he bought another 120 acres near the works and started to build houses in line with the ideals of the embryonic Garden City movement.

George's wife, Dame Elizabeth Cadbury, planned Bournville Village alongside her husband, and her memoirs tell us how these plans became reality. 'When I first came to Birmingham and we were living at Woodbrooke, morning after morning I would walk across the fields and farmland between our home and the Works planning how a village could be developed, where the roads should run and the type of cottages and buildings.’ Gradually, she realised this dream. Many of the first tenants were men in Mr Cadbury's Adult School Class, who had previously lived in the centre of Birmingham without gardens. Now they enjoyed healthy surroundings and cultivated their gardens, many with their own apple trees.

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1895 George Cadbury Builds a Further 143 Cottages in Bournville

George Cadbury decided not to go for tunnel-backs because it limited the amount of light in the houses. Instead he chose rectangular cottages, each one with a large garden. In 1895, 143 cottages were built on the land he had bought privately, a total of 140 acres.

When building started at Bournville, the basic house type built in the Midlands was the 'tunnel-back'. It was cheap, large-scale housing complying with the Public Health Acts that had condemned 'back-to-back' housing. They were built in long rows with entrances to the back through common passages, built over on upper floors. Though they were an improvement on the previous houses, they didn’t look that attractive - lots of tunnel-backs meant endless rows of dreary monotonous housing. George Cadbury decided not to go for tunnel-backs because it limited the amount of light in the houses. Instead he chose rectangular cottages, each one with a large garden. In 1895, 143 cottages were built on the land he had bought privately, a total of 140 acres. The first houses were built in straight rows with no more than four houses in a terrace, but this soon gave way to more interesting layouts. Bournville was developed to be a 'garden village' and these were the guiding principles... Cottages grouped in pairs, threes or sometimes fours. Groups were set back from tree-lined roads, each house with its own front garden and vegetable garden with fruit trees at the back. All cottages were well built with light airy rooms and good sanitation. A typical cottage had a parlour, living room and kitchen downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs. Some early houses didn’t have bathrooms, but it was easy to add them later on. Houses should cost at least £150 to build: they were to house 'honest, sober, thrifty workmen, rather than the destitute or very poor'. Building was restricted on each plot to prevent gardens being overshadowed and keep the rural feel. The first houses were sold on leases of 999 years to keep the rural appearance of the district: mortgages were available for would-be purchasers. Bournville’s green environment reflected the aim of George Cadbury that one-tenth of the Estate should be 'laid out and used as parks, recreation grounds and open space.’ It attracted great interest from housing reformers, including the Garden City Association. In fact George Cadbury was instrumental in developing the Garden City Movement along with other reformers, including Sir Ebenezer Howard, who founded the Association in 1900 and was the father of modern town planning. He once said that Bournville gave him the drive to carry out his ideas. The first Garden City, Letchworth, was begun in 1902. Bournville became included within the boundary of the city of Birmingham in 1911, so it’s now a 'garden suburb', like Hampstead Garden Suburb in London.

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1897 Cadbury Milk Chocolate is Launched

When Cadbury started making Cocoa Essence they had lots of cocoa butter left over, so they used it to make bars of chocolate!

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1903 Cadbury brings its famous Dairy Milk Chocolate to South Africa

Over 100 years ago, the Cadbury brothers Richard and George first brought their brands to South Africa, when they appointed a sales agent to sell their products.

1905 Cadbury Dairy Milk is Launched

Swiss manufacturers were leading the field in milk chocolate, with much better products than their rivals. In 1904, George Cadbury Jnr was given the challenge to develop a milk chocolate bar with more milk than anything else on the market.

All sorts of names were suggested, 'Highland Milk', 'Jersey' and 'Dairy Maid'. But when a customer’s daughter suggested 'Dairy Milk', the name stuck. Dairy Milk was launched in June 1905. It was sold in unwrapped blocks that could be broken down into penny bars. Gradually it became more and more successful, until it was Cadbury’s biggest seller by the beginning of the First World War. By the early 1920s it had taken over the UK market. And of course, it’s still with us today. Cadbury Dairy Milk has become what's known as a 'megabrand', hugely popular and available in many different varieties, all over the world.

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1905 First Cadbury logo commissioned

In 1905 William Cadbury commissioned the first Cadbury logo. He was in Paris at the time and chose Georges Auriol to create the design - Auriol also designed the signs for the Paris Metro.

The logo was an image of a stylised cocoa tree interwoven with the Cadbury name.

Registered in 1911, it was used on presentation boxes, catalogues, tableware and promotional items, and imprinted onto the aluminium foil that was used to wrap moulded chocolate bars. Although we might not recognise it today, it was used consistently from 1911-1939 and again after the Second World War

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1919 Cadbury purchases Fry's

Cadbury bought Frys in 1919 and the company grew, producing delicous chocolate on a grand scale, so it could be enjoyed by everyone.
Cadbury already had close links with J.S. Fry & Sons Limited, and in 1919 they signed an agreement, creating a new holding company, the British Cocoa and Chocolate company, to take over the assets of both businesses.

A new site was found for Fry’s outside Bristol, at Keynsham, and this was named Somerdale. The Fry’s business had many good things going for it including Countlines. Countlines were popular in America and Canada; they were chocolate bars with different centres and got their name because they were sold by bar, not by weight. Crunchie, Fudge and Picnic are all tasty examples.

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1920 Cadbury Dairy Milk goes purple

Cadbury Dairy Milk started out in pale mauve with red script, in a continental style 'parcel wrap’ at its launch in 1905. The full Dairy Milk range became purple and gold in 1920.

1921 Cadbury script logo first appears

The Cadbury script logo, based on the signature of William Cadbury, appeared first on the transport fleet in 1921. It was quite fussy to start with and has been simplified over the years. It wasn’t until 1952 that it was used across major brands.

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1926 Cadbury officially opens in South Africa

Due to the phenomenal sales, the South African company was formed in 1926, with the opening of the Port Elizabeth factory in 1930. Today, the PE manufacturing plant is the heart of our business, employing more than 1 000 people.

 

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1928 The 'Glass and a Half' symbol is introduced

It was originally used in 1928 on press and posters, but since then it’s been in TV ads and on wrapper designs, where you can still see it to this day. First of all it was just on Cadbury Dairy Milk, but it’s become the face of the company in recent years.

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1928 Investment Begins in Cadbury Dairy Milk Ads

A huge success from day one, Cadbury Dairy Milk first hit the shelves in 1905. But surprisingly, little money was put into advertising it until 1928.

No one knew quite what to say about it - some ads talked about its 'rich nutty flavour’ others said 'rich in cream’. It didn’t matter though - by 1928 it was the biggest selling chocolate product in Britain. At this point Cadbury ploughed investment into advertising, stressing its high milk content. From 1928 a series of poster campaigns using the iconic 'glass and a half’ measure of milk established Cadbury Dairy Milk as one of the first truly recognisable brands on the high street. The 'glass and a half’s simple message of food value combined with enjoyable eating has found its way on to TV ads and wrappers. And it’s still there today - becoming synonymous with Cadbury Dairy Milk worldwide.

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1928 Flake is launched in South Africa

The 'crumbliest flakiest chocolate’ was first developed in the UK in 1920 and due to it’s success later launched in South Africa.

A canny Cadbury employee noticed that, when the excess from chocolate moulds was drained off, it fell in a stream and created a delicious, light, flaky, folded chocolate.  This brought about the introduction of Cadbury Flake. Today Flake remains a decadent creamy & crumbly chocolate that melts slowly in the mouth crafting pure chocolate indulgence. One bite and all resistance crumbles.

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1960 Crunchie is launched

Originally developed in the Uk in the 1920’s. Crunchie was launched in South Africa in 1960 and to this day Crunchie offers a unique chewing experience that goes “Crrr in your mouth”. The combination of Cadbury milk chocolate with a golden honeycombed center immediately lifts the boredom with a crunch, & the chewyness of this delicious chocolate bar keeps you entertained – there is no other chocolate like it!

1960's Lunch Bar is launched

Lunch Bar is uniquely South African and was developed and launched in 1960's specifically for the South African market as a fill me up sweet snack that offers MUCH MUCH MORE!

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1970 Chomp is launched

Chomp was created in the early 70’s and remains one of South Africa’s favorite snacks.  The Chomp brand has become synonymous with the Hippo characters that were launched in the late 1980’s. So much so that the Hippo at the Johannesburg Zoo is called Chomp! It’s an affordable fun, playful, happy, and down-to-earth snack. Perfect when you’re in the mood for a quick Chomp!

1980 Snacker is launched

Cadbury Snacker was launched in the mid 1980’s as one of South Africa’s first mainstream cereal bars and was way ahead of the health trends that followed. Packed full with the goodness of Muesli, Raisens and Fruit and combined with a thin base of milk chocolate it is the best of both worlds - a real indulgent snack.

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1983 Tempo is launched

Tempo is another uniquely South African favorite which was launched in 1983 with an innovative campaign and tag line “Tempo: you can feel it in your feet!”. Sporting a stand out blue denim pack it was an immediate hit. Tempo is packed full of a double chocolate and biscuit hit that gives you an indulgent boost - leaving you feeling confident and ready to go. Today Tempo is available in both the Original and Power Nut flavours.

1995 Astros is launched

Astro’s was created to delight a new generation of South African consumers. It launched in South Africa in 1995 and quickly joined the ranks of Cadbury’s best loved brands. Astro’s candy and chocolate coated biscuit bites create a whole lot of fun to eat, fun to share, fun to play with, melt in your mouth moments. Astro’s takes you to that extra dimension in taste and fun. Made on earth enjoyed everywhere!

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1997 P.S. is launched

P.S. was created and launched in South Africa as the first messaging bar where people could use the delicious layers of wafer and Cadbury Caramilk Chocolate to say what they really meant.
P.S. is not just an ordinary chocolate bar! It’s the end of a story and, in some cases , the beginning of a new one. It’s with the help of P.S. and the messages on the wrapper that real connections and meaningful moments are made every day.

2005 Tumbles is introduced

Tumbles was launched in in a bright yellow pack and was soon relaunched in the iconic Cadbury purple. Tumbles is the only brand that offers indulgent coated bites enrobed in real Cadbury milk chocolate creating delicious playful moments of joy!

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2008 Cadbury Cocoa Partnership Launched

In January 2008, Cadbury launched the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership. £45 million was put aside to put into cocoa farms in Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean over a decade.

Today’s cocoa farmers face big problems - average production has dropped and it can be hard to make a living. The Cadbury Cocoa Partnership has been set up to help them. It’s a groundbreaking initiative, now funded by Mondelēz International, which is carried out in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and others, and marking 100 years since the Cadbury brothers first began trading in Ghana. 70% of the Partnership funds will be invested into small farms and farming villages in Ghana, which provide the cocoa beans for Cadbury's UK chocolate, giving it its unique and much loved taste. So what will the Partnership do? Help farmers increase their yields and produce top quality beans; Help start new rural businesses; Improve life in cocoa communities by supporting education, the environment and building wells for clean and safe water; Develop a pioneering way for cocoa farmers to work together with governments, NGOs, local organisations and international agencies. All in all, around a million people - cocoa farmers and the communities they live in - will benefit.

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2010 The Cadbury Dairy Milk Gorilla advert premiers

Gorilla’ showed the eponymous primate enthusiastically playing the drums on the Phil Collins record 'In the Air Tonight’. It proved hugely popular and cleaned up at advertising awards ceremonies, winning many prizes including the prestigious Grand Prix Lion at Cannes in 2008

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2011 Cadbury Dairy Milk becomes Fairtrade

The Cadbury Dairy Milk [plain] Fairtrade certification in South Africa was a major breakthrough for the whole of the Fairtrade movement in Africa with the first ever Fairtrade chocolate slab made and sold in Africa.

2012 The Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly is launched

Floating cows and a burst of bubbles introduced the launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk Bubbly in August 2012.
Made with delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, the soft and round chocolate bubbles sit deliciously in the roof of your mouth whilst the bubbly center melts into a smooth creamy chocolate taste you’ll love… A smile in every bubble.

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2012 Cadbury becomes part of Mondelēz International

Cadbury became part of Mondelēz International family on the 1 July 2012

2013 The Cadbury Dairy Milk new look is launched

In June 2013 Cadbury Dairy Milk introduced the new Cadbury Dairy Milk packaging, helping drive the essence of Joy. New icons representing each flavour of the Cadbury Dairy Milk range come to life in a fresh and fun way.
A new campaign was also created, and tells a magical story of joy and the origin of the famous ‘glass and a half’ recipe. The story that takes place in a world called Joyville – the place where Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate is made, and a magical world where the real & the surreal come together.

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