Cadbury, one of the biggest chocolate brands in the world with operations in more than 60 countries and billions of dollars in revenues. It is not only a brand of mouth-watering chocolates liked by Consumers of all ages, but also one with a 200 year old history filled with wonderful achievements and depressing failures.
Let’s dive into the origins and rise of Cadbury and see how they got to where they are today coming from a wealthy family of Quaker Christians in Britain, John Cadbury, just like any other member of his community was not allowed to attend Universities and his non-violent beliefs and values Kept him out from Joining the military. So, starting a business was the only option for him to make a living. That is why, in 1824 he Opened A Grocery Store In Bull Street, located in the city of Birmingham, UK.
As Alcohol was considered bad For Society by quaker community Tea, Coffee, Cocoa and drinking Chocolate were seen as healthy alternatives by them including John himself. That’s why among other things he sold high quality Cocoa and drinking Chocolate in his store, which he used to prepare using a pestle And mortar.
Due to high demand in 1831 John moved to a four-story warehouse nearby and started producing Cocoa and drinking chocolate on a commercial-scale.
Thus, the Cadbury manufacturing business was born.
Because of the high cost of production these were sold mainly to the wealthy people. By, 1842 he was selling around 11 varieties of Cocoa and 16 varieties of chocolate.
In 1847, his brother Benjamin Cadbury became a partner in the business and the company came to be known As Cadbury Brothers. The same year they rented larger factory in Birmingham which had a private canal that connected to all the major ports in Britain.
In 1854, the Cadbury Brothers of Birmingham received an exclusive royal warrant as manufacturers of chocolate and Cocoa to Queen Victoria this was a great luck for them as businesses which used to have these warrants had a better and sophisticated image among general buyers. However, just six years later in 1860, they had dissolve their partnership due to John’s wife’s Death and his declining mental and physical health. In 1861, John handed over the complete control of the business to his sons Richard and George Cadbury who were 25 and 21 at that time. During this time the market was not doing well and most chocolate manufacturers in Britain were going out of business of which Cadbury was not an exception.
Richard and George invested 4000 pounds each from their inherited money and started to work long hours to keep the business alive. But their turning point came in 1966 when they decided to buy a new type of Cocoa press developed in the Netherlands which removed much of the unpalatable Cocoa butter from the Cocoa beans. Up until this point almost all Cocoa makers including Cadbury had a high level Of Cocoa butter in it, to which they had to add starches to mask its taste and texture. But with this press, that would not be necessary anymore. However, buying this machine was a massive risk for Cadbury as it was expensive, they had very little money to invest, and no one knew if there would be enough demand for the products that came out of it.
But they decided to go for it and were the first British manufacturers to do so. Thus they introduced the Cadbury Cocoa Essence as the UK’s first unadulterated, pure Cocoa. With its high quality and extensive marketing it became extremely popular leading to dramatic sales numbers and changed the future of British Cocoa industry.
In 1893, George Cadbury bought 120 acres of land surrounding the factory at his own expense to create a model village so that many more of their workforce could be given a healthy, pollution free And greener environment where they could thrive. By 1900, this was expanded to 330 acres with 313 cottages and houses along with other facilities like playgrounds, swimming pools and medical centres. Many more similar properties were built in.
The years leading up to the First World War, with smaller developments taking place later on in the 20th century. In 1897, Cadbury introduced their First Milk Chocolate bar. Although they were making milk chocolate drinks from 1849. This was a new recipe that they copied from contemporary Swiss Chocolate manufacturers.
But in terms of texture Swiss Chocolates were far superior as they added condensed milk instead of milk powder. Because of this, Swiss Companies dominated the British Market which Cadbury started to challenge. In 1904, Cadbury launched their Dairy milk bar. Developed by George Cadbury Junior, it was a production of exceptional quality with a higher proportion of milk than any previous chocolate in the market. On the suggestion of a customer, it was named Dairy Milk. With a distinctive and attractive purple wrapper, gradually it became, Cadbury’s best-selling product by 1914.
Due to the shortage of supply, the British Government banned manufacturers from using fresh milk. So, dried skimmed milk was used instead. Due to these issues with essential supplies, the Dairy Milk and many other Cadbury products came Off the shelves during The War. But once the war ended, the company worked hard to restore their business did a lot of promotions, kept competitors away with a direct distribution chain and continued launching new products like Milk Tray Bars, Fudge, Toffee Buttons and Picnic. In a few years they were back to the game like before.
In 1969 ,they merged with Swiss Drinks company Schweppes and demerged again in 2008.
Then in 2010, Kraft Foods bought the brand for an astounding $19 billion but they themselves split into two companies one of which was named Mondelez International which owns the Cadbury brand till date.
In 2019, Mondelez ranked 116 in the Fortune 500 list of largest corporations by total revenue.
As of today, Cadbury is the second largest confectionery brand in the world with products ranging from chocolates, ice cream and beverages to biscuits, desserts, spread and much more.
With operations in more than 60 countries including the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and India, it continues to be one of the most favoured name in the segment of chocolates, confectionaries and most probably would continue to be so for a long time!!