Cadbury, a brand known and loved around the world, had humble beginnings. Its story began in 1824 when John Cadbury opened a grocer's shop in Ball Street, Birmingham. From there it grew and became one of the world's most popular chocolate brands. Here is a timeline detailing the firm's history. Source: https://www.cadbury.co.uk/our-story?timeline=1824
In 1824, John Cadbury opened a grrocer's shop on 93 Bull Street, Birmingham Among other things, he sold cocoa and drinking chocolate, which he prepared himself using mortar and pestle. John's wares weren't just inspired by his taste, they were driven by his beliefs. Tea, coffee, cocoa and drinking chocolate were seen as healthy, delicious alternatives to alcohol which Quakers deemed bad for society.
The Cadbury manufacturing business was born in 1831, when John Cadbury decided to start producing on a commercial scale and bought a 4 storey warehouse in nearby Crooked Lane.
By 1842, John Cadbury was selling no less than 11 kinds of cocoa and 16 different types of drinking chocolate. The earlier price list shows that you could buy drinking chocolate in the form of both pressed cakes and powder. Cocoa was sold as flakes, in powder and in nibs. His brother Benjamin joins the company forming The Cadburys Brothers of Birmingham.
The Cadbury Brothers booming business moved into a new larger factory in Bridge Street in 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 major ports in Britain,
His sons, Richard and George Cadbury, both in their 20s, took over the business from their father, who was in poor health.
George and Richard imported a Dutch Chocolate Press into their factory. They would now be able to separate cocoa liquid from cocoa butter, which allowed them to create what we know today as a chocolate bar. This thrust Cadbury’s to the forefront of the chocolate market and made George and Richard millionaires. A new product is launched, Cadbury Cocoa Essence, which is made from pure cocoa butter. It was advertised as “absolutely pure and therefore best” and was a revolution in chocolate production.
In 1875 Cadbury produced their first Easter egg. 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.
By the 1870s, Cadbury had outgrown the Birmingham factory and began looking for land outside the city to build its new premises.
Keen to move away from the dirty conditions of the city, the brothers set about building their "factory in a garden" to provide a clean and healthy working environment for employees.
They chose land four miles outside of Birmingham, which they later named Bournville. The factory opened in 1879.
Cadbury launched its first milk chocolate bar.
Cadbury produced some of the finest examples of posters and press advertisements during this period. A popular local artist, Cecil Aldin , was commissioned to illustrate for Cadbury. His evocative images featured in early magazine campaigns and graced poster sites all over the country.
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.
William Cadbury commissioned the first Cadbury logo. He was in Paris at the time and chose Georges Auriol to create the design. 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. It was used consistently from 1911-1939 and again after the second world war.
At first, Cadbury resisted creating an alkalised cocoa having emphasised the purity of their own cocoa. But, eventually the company realised that alkalised cocoa was the future and created Bournville Cocoa.
Bournville chocolate was launched in 1908. It was named after the Bournville factory where it was made, and was originally launched just as a plain chocolate bar. Many variants have been added to the range over time including Bournville Nut, Bournville Fruit, Bournville Roasted Almond and Bournville Nut and Fruit.
Boxes of chocolates had been produced at Cadbury since the 1860s, but they were expensive, sold in small quantities and would only have been bought for very special occasions. Milk Tray was different - a chocolate assortment, affordable enough to be an everyday treat. The name Milk Tray originated from how the chocolates were sold. They would be put out in trays - one Milk Tray and the other known as Plain Tray - to sell to customers.
By the mid 1930s it was outselling all its competitors.
Later, in 1961 the packaging was made more sophisticated and in 1971 a William Morris-style pack was introduced. In 1978 it changed again to an elegant pack with a white orchid on the purple background.
Milk Tray of course became hugely famous for its 'Milk Tray Man' TV commercials, featuring a daring, dark and handsome action hero who dives off cliffs, pilots helicopters through storms and speed boats over waterfalls; and tag line 'All because the lady loves Milk Tray’.
Today, over eight million boxes are sold every year.
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 which were popular in America and Canada. They were chocolate bars with different centres - Crunchie, Fudge and Picnic are all tasty examples -and got their name because they were sold by bar, not by weight.
At its launch in 1905, Cadbury Dairy Milk had started out in pale mauve with red script. The full Dairy Milk range became purple and gold in 1920.
The 'crumbliest flakiest chocolate' was first developed in 1920. A canny Cadbury employee noticed that, when the excess from chocolate moulds was drained off, it fell in a stream and created flaky, folded chocolate. From that simple observation came a mouth-watering new chocolate bar! It started off as a Cadbury Dairy Milk product with a see-through wrapper. The yellow wrapper appeared in 1959, without the 'Dairy Milk' label. Sales of Flake quadrupled in the 1970s with the popularity of the sensual TV commercials showing beautiful, bohemian Flake Girls enjoying luxurious 'Flake' experiences.
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.
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.
The Cadbury Foundation was set up in recognition of the company founders and their investment in the welfare of their employees. The Cadbury brothers, George and Richard Cadbury, believed in creating a prosperous, enterprising and inclusive community and their passion is echoed in the work the Foundation do today.
Cadbury Roses were introduced to compete in the twist wrapped assortment market. Early designs incorporated a sampler or embroidery rose design which was later replaced by a simpler rose. Bournville, where the chocolates were conceived and produced, was renowned as 'a factory in a garden’. Roses were one of the most popular flowers at the time hence the name for this popular assortment. The early 1lb drum was described as a 'wonderful lot’ of chocolates for two shillings (10p).
Bournville welcomes King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on a tour that formed part of the programme of their visit to Birmingham on March 1st 1939. 10,000 employees lined the route to welcome the King and Queen.
During the War, rationing was enforced and raw materials were in short supply so it was a question of making do and concentrating on those products they were still able to produce. Cadbury Dairy Milk came off the shelves in 1941 when the government banned manufacturers from using fresh milk. Instead there was Ration Chocolate, made with dried skimmed milk powder.
Imagine a box of Milk Tray Chocolates. Now imagine picking eight of the most popular chocolates – keeping their distinctive shapes – and putting them in a bar! The Milk Tray Bar had a cult following back in the 1970s and people still reminisce about it to this day. It was originally launched in 1947 and was a favourite through to 1981.
Launched in 1948, Fudge is most famous for its 1980s and early 1990s advertising jingle 'A finger of fudge is just enough to give your kids a treat'. The words were new, but the tune was borrowed and based on a traditional English folk song, 'The Lincolnshire Poacher'.
Picnic, made of caramel, raisins, peanuts and Cadbury milk chocolate, was launched in 1958. The picnic's nobbly, funny-looking shape is also one of its plus-points – it's marketed in Australia as ‘deliciously ugly'!
The milk chocolate bar with a caramel and wafer centre launched in 1960, with the slogan ‘It's got a crunch in the biscuit and a munch in the middle'. A classic 1960s TV ad for Skippy shows a swinging London couple getting off their scooter and going into a trendy coffee bar to pick up their Skippys.
Curly Wurly, made of chewy caramel covered in milk chocolate, first appeared in 1970. It's evolved over the years - the recipe was changed so that the middle was softer, making the milk chocolate less likely to drop off. It's still popular and seems to remind grown-ups of when they were young.
Cream-filled eggs first appeared back in 1923, but the Cadbury Creme Egg we know and love today didn't hit the shelves until 1971. Sales really took off in 1975 when Cadbury Creme Egg became a cult through the power of TV advertising. The eggs are delivered to the trade for sale between January and Easter every year, with about 1.5 million Cadbury Creme Egg eggs made every day at the Bournville factory.
They're made in two halves, both filled with white and one additionally filled with yellow fondant. The two halves are closed together quickly and there it is - a Cadbury Creme Egg. With its milk chocolate shell, creme fondant and yellow 'yolk' Cadbury Creme Egg is absolutely unique in the market, and over 200 million of them are sold in the UK every year.
Launched nationally in 1983 after a trial run in the North East of England, Wispa was available throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Early TV campaigns used the power of celebrities to create impact featuring comedians and comic actors including Mel Smith, Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, Victoria Wood, Julie Walters, Peter Cook, John Le Mesurier and Arthur Lowe who talked about it in a series of ads. A teaser campaign in the press asked 'Have you heard the Wispa?' - but it didn't divulge that they were ads for a new chocolate bar.
Wispa was discontinued in 2003 but relaunched for a limited period in 2007 after an internet campaign to bring it back.
Because of Wispa's popularity during it's temporarily relaunch, Wispa came back into full production in October 2008.
Originally called Coconut Boost – a milk chocolate covered bar with a toasted coconut and caramel centre – this caramel and biscuit has evolved over time.Originally called Coconut Boost – a milk chocolate covered bar with a toasted coconut and caramel centre – this caramel and biscuit has evolved over time.
Launched in 1985, this coconut flavour was discontinued in 1994; and 2003 even saw a Boost featuring the caffeine-rich Guarana berry appearing on the shelves, as well as a Boost Glucose for extra energy.
The Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's much-loved Stagecoach ad in 1992 (complete with surreal strapline ‘It's slightly rippled with a flat underside') was a classic of its time.
Twirl was developed by the Cadbury Ireland business using Flake technology and it was launched in the UK in 1987. The brand It was originally launched in Ireland in 1985 as a single finger product and became a two-finger product on its UK launch.
Factory tours had always been popular but it was impossible to run a factory smoothly if it had thousands of visitors. In 1988 Cadbury began planning a visitor attraction to take the place of the factory tours - Cadbury World. It cost £6 million to build, but was worth the expense. In 1990 Cadbury World opened in Bournville on a site next to the Cadbury factory and headquarters, attracting 350,000 visitors in its first year - 100,000 more than were expected.
Cadbury Heroes started life as Cadbury Miniature Heroes in September 1999. It's a simple idea – a mix of miniature Cadbury bars in a tub format to share.
The miniature bars include Cadbury Dairy Milk, Cadbury Dairy Milk with Caramel, Cadbury Dairy Milk Whole Nut, Twirl, Fudge and Crunchie. The brand featured as part of Cadbury's sponsorship of Coronation Street, where people play jokes on each other whilst they share a tub of Heroes.
In 2003, Cadbury bought the world's number 2 gum manufacturer, Adams and achieved its aim of leading the market.
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.
Cadbury became part of Kraft Foods on the 2nd February 2010.
A new global research and development centre opens in Bournville as part of a £17 million investment in R&D in the UK. The 'Centre of Excellence' includes brand new innovation labs, a test plant facility and a collaboration kitchen to put new ideas to the test. This investment created knowledge, jobs and increased the number of Bournville based inventors from 25 to 250 in just five years! Now every new chocolate product created starts life at Bournville.
The Chocolate Research & Development programme launched at the Global Chocolate Centre of Excellence in Bournville hunts for their next generation of chocolate inventors.
August 14th 2015 marked 25 years of choctastic fun at Bournville's Cadbury World attraction, featuring the world's biggest Cadbury shop.
The Cadbury Dark Milk range is brought out.