Deal With Hershey’s Puts An End To Import Of Cadbury Chocolates

It will soon be more difficult for consumers who prefer the taste of British-made chocolate to get their sweet-tooth fix. A new deal between Hershey’s and Let’s Buy British Imports essentially puts a stop to the import of many iconic British chocolate brands from overseas.

The New York Times reports the two parties agreed to stop the import of all British-produced Cadbury chocolate, as well as KitKat bars, Toffee Crisps and Yorkie chocolate bars after Hershey’s claimed the products infringed on its trademarks and trade dress licensing.

(Once again, don’t worry about not having a Cadbury Creme Egg this Easter. Hershey’s has a license agreement to manufacture Cadbury’s chocolate in the U.S., albeit with a different recipe.)

Officials with Hershey’s say that L.B.B. and other groups were importing the products that were never intended for sale in the United States.

The issue doesn’t come down to the chocolate itself, as chocolate made in Britain has a distinctly different recipe.

For example, the Times reports, British chocolate has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk. In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar.

Instead the decision to stop importing the goods from overseas rests on the products’ packaging. Toffee Crisps comes in an orange packaging and yellow-lined brown script, which Hershey’s says too closely resembled that of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, while Yorkie bars could be considered an infringement on the York peppermint patty, the Times reports.

“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” Jeff Beckman, a representative for Hershey’s tells the Times.

While you would often be hard-pressed to find a British-made chocolate bar in the aisle of your local supermarket, many small, independently owned speciality stores regularly stocked the items.

One British goods retailer tells the Times that the ban on importing the treats will likely put her out of business.

“Cadbury’s is about half of my business,” she says, “and more than that at Christmas. I don’t know how we’ll survive.”

The impending ban on imported British chocolate was met with opposition not only from business owners but consumers. A petition was created on MoveOn.org protesting Hershey’s actions and seeking to allow the treats entrance to the U.S. So far, the petition has garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

After a Deal, British Chocolates Won’t Cross the Pond [The New York Times]