Cadbury’s chocolate is iconically British, and is an important part of our culture. It is now the second largest creator of confectionary across the globe, after Wrigley’s. The company exports to over 50 countries worldwide. In recent years, the chocolate giant was declared one of the world’s most successful exporters.
Originally a family business, Cadbury was set up in 1824 by John Cadbury, a Quaker from Birmingham. Originally, he sold tea and coffee, as well as drinking chocolate. His business partner was his brother Benjamin, and later on, his sons George and Richard.
Later, George Cadbury, inspired by the family’s values of fairness and social justice, created the Bourneville estate, containing a model village, designed to allow workers a higher quality of life. The brothers took over the family business in 1861. At this time, the business was struggling to break even. Fortunately, they made it thrive once again, by narrowing their focus to chocolate, above tea and coffee.
Glass and a half full of joy
-Cadbury slogan, 1928
By 1900, Bourneville contained 314 cottages and houses. The purpose of this village, according to the brothers, was to “alleviate the evils of modern cramped living conditions.
In 1905, the iconic dairy milk bar was introduced, pioneering the use of higher quantities of milk in chocolate. A glass and a half per bar, to be exact!
By 1915, Milk Tray chocolates were in production, and continued for what remained of the First World War. Over 2000 employees of the company were conscripted to the army. To support the war effort, Cadbury distributed chocolate, books and clothing to the soldiers to support the war effort. George Cadbury also donated two of the company’s buildings to be used as hospitals.
Throughout the 1920s, the chocolate bars we are familiar with today were launched one by one. In 1920, the Flake began. Three years later, Creme Eggs came on the scene. In 1928, fruit and nut bars. In 1928, the crunchie.
In 1969, Cadbury merged with multinational drinks company, Schweppes. This put the brakes on the original social fairness ethos of the family business, making way for more of a mass-produced approach, which caused controversy among the public. Over the next 40 years, the merged company bought out many other smaller chocolate confectionary brands.
The company is now a subsidiary of Mondelez International.
The Cadbury’s Chocolate Factory in Birmingham is now a popular tourist attraction, open to visitors. It preserves the history of the family business for future generations, and makes a fantastic day out!
The Cadbury family valued their workers, and spared no expense to make sure they were treated with generosity and respect. Their legacy shows that fair treatment of staff does not have to equal diminished success.
When you buy fair trade products, you are contributing to a better quality of life for the people behind the scenes in the production of the food on our supermarket shelves. It is sadly a common thing for farmers and factory workers to be exploited for the sake of quantity and money.
Follow the link below to find out about how the Fair Trade scheme contributes to fairer treatment for farmers, and how you can make a difference…
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