These are bad days for Hershey. AsÂ BloombergÂ reports, the company’s fourth quarter was dreadful. It lost market share to Mars and faces higher cocoa and milk prices. The forecast for 2008 is not promising either.I’ve always wondered about the appeal of the Hershey bar. Growing up in Germany, I did not know about the Hershey bar until I read Jack Kerouac’s The Dharma Bums. That created an almostÂ mythical idea in my mind. Imagine my disappointment when I first tasted one. It was such a let down. Compared to Milka, Sarotti, Ritter Sport, the Hershey bar tasted gritty and waxy. Not enough conching, not enough cocoa and cocoa butter.
When the dark chocolate craze hit in 2000, Hershey tried to reposition itself and create fancy chocolate bars with made from single origin cocoa beans – Hershey’s Cacao Reserve. The packaging and the wording are fancy but the chocolate does not taste any better. The 35% milk tastes sticky and sour while the 65% has no subtlety at all. As U.S. chocolate tastes mature, Hershey seems behind the time. One can barely imagine how bad it will taste once they are permitted to substitute vegetable fat for cocoa butter.No wonder, then, that the company performs poorly.
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