Boston merchants and lovers of chocolate are boycotting Hershey’s products, signing petitions and backing a candy war started by a lawsuit over copyright infringement against Cadbury. However, there’s no sign of the Pennsylvania chocolatiers backing down.
Meanwhile, in a sign that the story is going national, "CBS This Morning" did a long segment in which tasters overwhelmingly preferred the British-made choclolate.
Cadbury’s chocolate, made in Britain and Ireland, is now a thing of the past in the United States. While the US produced version of Cadbury’s will be available, those in the know will tell you that the European-produced product is superior.
A 7-Eleven store owner on Adams Street in Quincy, MA, Dennis Lane, says what’s been created is a mini-trade war. He told the Boston Globe it’s “the Boston Tea Party…in chocolate.”
“I’m mad as hell,” Lane continued, adding that he has threatened to pull Hershey’s products from his shelves.
“I’ve got two choices: Allow Hershey to bully me as a retailer, or take a stand and send a message.”
And he did. On Feb 8 Lane wrote to Hershey’s Chief Executive John Bilbrey and told him he would no longer be purchasing Hershey’s products if there was not a reasonable explanation given for the blockade of UK Cadbury chocolate.
Lane’s store caters for a large Irish population in Milton and Quincy. Lane estimates that he sells more than $15,000 a years in imported candies.
At the movies in Methuen, British ex-pat Mel Ball forbade his granddaughter from buying Hershey’s-produced Twizzlers. They ate M&Ms while watching “Paddington” instead.
Ball said, “I have recommended to anybody that has Hershey products in their home to send them back to Hershey and ask for a refund.”
Cindy Quinn, the co-owner of the Greenhills Irish Bakery, in Dorchester, said her importer is ending her supply. But she added, “regular old Hershey’s is not going to cut it with my customers.”
In Cambridge, Donez Cardullo, the owner of Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, busily stockpiled Flakes, Crunchies, and other Cadbury treats and signed online petitions.
Cardullo said, “I can’t even wrap my head around what it’s going to mean not carrying Cadbury.”
For 30 years America has been enjoying chocolate from Cadbury's, which has factories in Dublin and Kerry. However, Hershey’s recent lawsuit has put the kibosh on that.
In 2013 Hershey’s sued two food importers claiming they had infringed on the trademarks that Hershey’s has had since acquiring Cadbury's US in the 1980s. The US chocolate giant said it had notice that UK versions of the sweet treats were showing up on the shelves of big US retailers, and not just specialty stores. The demand for these imported chocolates grew.
Chocolate lovers in the US are furious. Special Facebook and Twitter pages were established and lit up with irate Irish and British expats and chocolate aficionados who were incensed by this news. A petition on MoveOn.org garnered more than 35,000 signatures and boycotting of Hershey’s products has commenced.
The hope is that Hershey’s will back down, but according to their spokesman Jeff Beckman this isn’t going to happen.
The Boston Globe reports that “Hershey took the next step of going to court with lawsuits against Posh Nosh Imports of New Jersey and California’s LBB Imports, he said, after a proliferation of the imported sweets started showing up in mainstream stores. He said Hershey bought the US Cadbury business from the Cadbury family in 1988 and uses the recipe developed by the family in the 1970s. The only significant difference, Beckman said, is that the US bars don’t contain vegetable oils because of the variation in US standards for milk chocolate.”
It should be pointed out that Hershey’s also claims that the imported Nestle’s Yorkie infringed York Peppermint Pattie and the Toffee Crisp upon Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, just because they both have orange wrappers.
LBB president Nathan Dulley said he tried to work out an agreement with Hershey’s.
He said, “You would think that there would be some reasonable economic agreement that could be reached in order for both to coexist.
The loss of the business at LBB is not going to be at Hershey’s gain.”