SUCCESS STORIES / JAN. 14, 2015
version 5, draft 5

Sweet business!  Candy Makers That Became Millionaires

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Even cave-men had a sweet tooth, they would dry out honey to create a toffee like treat (which let’s be honest sounds pretty good). Candy since then has luckily moved out of the caves and stick huts into gleaming stainless steel workshops. As sweet as a chocolate ganache truffle is, it becomes especially sweet when combined with a seven figure bank account. These are a few millionaire candy makers.

Milton S. Hershey, the most stubborn candy maker in history

With a complete lack of formal education and nearly bankrupt by the age of thirty, Mr. Hershey and his chocolate treats became synonymous with sweets in the U.S.A. Mr. Hershey jumped all over the United States trying to start his candy company, failing twice before finding the sweet spot (I’m not going to sugar coat it, expect plenty of sickly sweet puns). As the saying goes the third time’s the charm, and after returning to Lancaster, Pennsylvania he managed to lay down the first chocolate brick of his cocoa empire. Don’t judge Mr. Hershey as an elitist choco-millionaire though, he created the first affordable chocolate bar allowing the poor to rot their teeth just like the wealthy.

Rodolphe Lindt

The Swiss are well known for their ability to hide money that has been acquired by questionable means. Although not completely relative to this list I thought I’d give a tip to all my narco-trafficking readers. Their second dubious export is chocolate. Why is chocolate dubious, you ask? Well because Swiss chocolate is so rich, luxurious and addicting it should be a controlled substance. One of the most famous Swiss chocolate producers Lindt actually came up with his formula by mistake. A blundering chubby employee (I’m assuming) left a chocolate mixing machine running a whole weekend resulting in Lindt’s characteristic and world famous smooth airy ganache filling. The recipe was so popular that in 1898 the company was sold for 1.5 million gold Francs. Although I’m going to assume the $3 billion in profit the company made in 2014 probably bought the CEO a chocolate colored Lamborghini.

Hans Riegel Haribo

Inspired by the animal cruelty of turn of the century circuses, Hans Riegel created the first dancing bear inspired fruit gum candy in 1922. With that modest little bear Riegel built a teeth-gluing empire that managed to stick on to $3.2 billion last year. After Hans passed away in 1945 he gave the tacky reigns to his wife since his sons were captives in Allied P.O.W. camps. I’m not even going to touch further on that last part, partly in fear of being boycotted from buying gummy bears. 

Perfetti van Melle

If any of my American brethren have seen the uber bizarre European commercials featuring ‘Mentos the Freshmaker’ I would like to inform you that the weirdness netted the company $3.3 billion of sales last year. For anyone that has not seen it, it’s below and you’re welcome. The company is a result of the copulation of two mega-giant candy making dynasties. As if the company was made for sugar coated sexual innuendos, candy-maker Enric Bernat created the first ever lollipop and named his company Chupa-chup. It gets a little more sexual innuendo orientated here when you realized that the company’s name translates to Sucka Suck. Nice…The other company, Van Melle, created the Mentos and Fruitella which if you were to translate to an American equivalent, are like huge mint flavored and fruit flavored Skittles respectively. 

Have you had candy before? Well tell us about your experience in the comment section below.

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