|Hershey Canada Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company (New York Stock Exchange: HSY) that manufactures, distributes and sells confectionery, snack, refreshment and grocery products in Canada. Major brands include CHIPITS, EAT-MORE, GLOSETTE, HERSHEY'S, JOLLY RANCHER, OH HENRY!, REESE, and TWIZZLER.
The story of Hershey is a captivating tale, spanning nearly a century and a half of industrial and social change. It tells of how one determined pioneer from rural Pennsylvania built an international company, a town to go with it, and a chocolate and confectionery sensation.
In Canada, it all started in 1962. After years of studying the Canadian confectionery market, The Hershey Company constructed its first plant outside of Hershey, Pennsylvania - in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Smiths Falls was selected because of the plentiful supply of milk and water. Smiths Falls was chosen also because of its adequate labour source, its location on direct rail lines and suitable transportation facilities
This location was also ideally situated between the two main marketing areas of Toronto and Montreal. Apparently, the police chief of the times stood out on the town's main street and stopped the first car with foreign license plates and proceeded to try to sell the town of Smiths Falls to its occupants. Luckily for Smiths Falls, the occupants of the car happened to be The Hershey Company delegates scouting the area for possible sites for a new plant.
The Smiths Falls plant was the first facility within The Hershey Company to incorporate a Visitors Gallery inside the facility. The plant's official opening was in June of 1963 and the Visitor's Gallery received 960 visitors on opening day.
The Smiths Falls facility began production in 1963 with 200,000 square feet of working space capable of producing 200,000 bars a day. The products introduced at the facility were 5¢ and 10¢ chocolate bars, instant chocolate, cocoa, chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup.
In 1965, a PEANUT BUTTER CUPS candies line was added and this quickly became one of the company's best selling bars.
By the following year, 1966, the Smiths Falls Plant employed 105 people, and, with the introduction of HERSHEY-ETS candy coated milk chocolates, chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered raisins it had 22 different products.
By the mid 70's, the cost of a chocolate bar had risen to 25¢ and sales for the Smiths Falls Plant had reached approximately $20,000,000 per year.
1980 saw the introduction of BROWN COW chocolate syrup, Canada's best selling chocolate syrup, followed quickly in 1982 by REESE'S PIECES Candies.
In 1983 after years of research, the recipe for chocolate manufactured in Canada was changed to a creamier, smoother, lighter coloured and milder flavoured product more suitable to Canadian taste.
On June 29, 1987, Hershey Canada purchased the assets and trade-mark rights of Nabisco Brands Ltd.'s Canadian confectionery and snack nut businesses. These businesses included candy sold under the brands OH HENRY!, EAT-MORE, GLOSETTE and LOWNEY, hard roll candy sold under the brand names LIFE SAVERS and BREATH SAVERS, peanuts and other nuts sold under the brand name PLANTER'S, baking chips sold under the brand name CHIPITS, boxed chocolates sold under the MOIRS brand name, and gum and chewy candy sold under the CARE*FREE and BUBBLE YUM brands. (The gum and chewy candy business was sold in November 1988.) The acquisition tripled Hershey's Canadian sales, making it a leading confectioner in that country.
In early 1996, the company sold the assets and trade-mark rights of the snack nut (PLANTERS) and hard roll candy (LIFE SAVERS/BREATH SAVERS) businesses.
On December 31, 1996, as part of the North American acquisition of the Leaf business, Hershey Canada purchased the shares of Leaf Canada Inc. acquiring the rights to the RAINBLO and JOLLY RANCHER ball gum business, WHOPPERS malted candy, JOLLY RANCHER candy and MR. FREEZE and JOLLY RANCHER water-based freezer snack business, and included a production facility in Scarborough, Ontario. The acquisition also included a significant non-branded, bulk ball gum business distributing to vending machine operators in Canada and the United States. The two corporations were merged into one, effective at the end of May 1997.
Subsequently, it was determined that the bulk vend ball gum business and the Scarborough plant did not fit strategically into the business of Hershey's North American. The manufacturing assets were sold on February 28, 1998. Production of the freezer snack businesses was moved to Hershey Canada's Smiths Falls plant. Hershey Canada sold the gum business completely in September 2003 and sold the freezer snack business in October 2005.