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Treat yourself to American treats this Easter
Our Buy American Mention of the Week!
by Roger Simmermaker
March 31, 2010

With all the different options for American consumers who want satisfy their sweet tooth this Easter, it can be confusing to know just how to buy American-made candy from American-owned companies so we can keep profits and jobs in America.

No one working in the confectionary industry in America wants to celebrate such a popular holiday and at the same time wonder if Americans really care or are conscientious enough to support Easter candy made right here in America to save their American jobs. Heck, we might even create a few new American jobs if this information reaches enough people who are willing to buy American using the money that they're already going to be spending anyway.

So here are some of the main companies you might see in the stores while you're searching for that chocolate Easter bunny or other Easter-related candy and where most of their candy is made.

Everyone knows about the Hershey Company based in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Hershey's is the largest manufacturer of chocolate in North America. Even though the company did close their Oakdale, CA and Smith Falls (Ontario, Canada) plants and transferred production from these two plants to Monterrey, Mexico, Hershey's still has the owns the largest chocolate factory in the world in Pennsylvania, which measures over two million square feet. So they still make a lot of chocolate products in the USA.

The most maddening issue with Hershey is that it's almost impossible by reading the label to tell if a particular piece of candy is made in America or Mexico. Frequently listed phrases like "Distributed by the Hershey Company" and "Mfd. By Hershey" aren't helpful. It would seem the company could do a lot to diffuse the discontent from moving one of its plants from California to Mexico by making clearer labeling of their products' origin. Hershey has so many products on the market - many of which have to be made here since the company has such huge manufacturing prowess in America - that it would be worth their while to give concerned consumers more information.

Popular Hershey products range from their famous "Kisses" to Kit Kat, Mr. Goodbar, York Peppermint Patties, Milk Duds, Whoppers, and Reese's. If you're searching for a Hershey brand chocolate Easter Bunny, it's doubtful you'll be able to tell where it was made (as is the case with almost all of their other products).

Russell Stover is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and they have the kind of labeling that encourages me to patronize their products. Most have a round, red, white and blue label that says "Proudly Made in America." Russell Stover also has Whitman's and Pangburn's brands under their company umbrella. The Whitman's Sampler boxes not only say "Proudly Made in America" as well, but they also specify "Each Sampler chocolate and all its components are proudly made in America."

Ferrero Rocher is a candy company based in Italy (the same company that makes the Tic Tac brand). The Easter-related candy I found from this company was made in Canada.

Lindt (which also owns Caffarel and Ghirardelli) is an upscale candy maker based in Switzerland, and has six factories worldwide. Their lone American factory is in Stratham, New Hampshire, so most Lindt chocolate you will find is imported.

Some Palmer brand chocolate bunnies bear the "Made in USA" label, but most of them simply say "Mfd. By R.M. Palmer Co." The R.M. Palmer Company is privately owned and was founded in 1848 in West Reading, Pa. The company claims almost all their products are made in USA.

Godiva chocolate may not be on the top of your list this Easter, but it's worth noting that the Campbell Soup Company sold the brand to Turkish-based Yildiz Holdings in 2007.

Brach's is based in the United States, but most of their candy is either not labeled with a country of origin or is made in Mexico.

Cadbury, which has long been British based, was bought out by American-based Kraft this year. Not only is this acquisition good since Cadbury is now an American company, but it also puts to rest a confusing scenario in the confectionary industry.

Before the recent acquisition, British-owned Cadbury products were often made by American-owned Hershey under license, which caused confusion about whether Cadbury could be qualified as an American product or a British product. Now that American-owned Kraft has control of the company, they can either absorb the existing Cadbury products in with Kraft production or continue to use American-based Hershey.

Kraft did make a promise to the Brits that they ended up breaking by closing a factory in Britain they promised to keep open. But I guess that's better than closing an American plant instead, right? Anyway, production was moved from the UK to Poland.

Britain's practice of allowing national champions to become the property of foreigners is now called the "Wimbledon Effect": World-class players competing in a world-class tournament that no Brits are able to win.

Fortunately America has many national champions in the confectionary industry. There are many American companies that are still making chocolate in the United States we can patronize to not only help save existing American jobs but also potentially create new ones. It's all about the old economic law of supply and demand. If patriotic American consumers create the demand for products made at American factories, output from those factories will need to increase, and more Americans will likely be hired to meet that demand.

The answer to America's unemployment problems is right in our own back yard. The answer is "Buy American."

Roger Simmermaker is the author of How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism. He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications, and is now a weekly contributor to WorldNetDaily.


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