Bill to name Hershey Kiss official state candy introduced
Two pieces of legislation have been introduced seeking to make the Hershey Kiss the state’s official candy.
In December, Rep. Thomas Mehaffie, R-Dauphin, introduced House Bill 2150. Then, on Valentine’s Day, Sen. Maria Collett, D-Bucks/Montgomery, introduced Senate Bill 2150. Collett’s legislation started as a classroom project by Mr. Loughran’s class at Newtown Middle School in Bucks County. Students conceived the idea, met with Hershey’s executives, lobbied legislators and drafted the language in the legislation.
“Soon I will introduce legislation to name the Hershey Kiss as Pennsylvania’s state candy,” Collett wrote in her legislative justification. “Not only is the Hershey Kiss’s symbolic nature and the inviting tone of a candy named “Kiss” fit perfectly with the image of this great state but the impact the Hershey Company, and its production of 70 million Kisses daily, continue to be the backbone of the Pennsylvania economy.”
Hershey has a long history in the state dating back to 1894, when Milton Hershey incorporated the Lancaster Caramel Company with the Hershey Chocolate Company as a subsidiary. The Hershey milk chocolate bars were launched in 1900 with Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses following in 1907. According to the Hershey website, the Hershey Kiss was originally in production from 1907 to 1942 and then not produced until 1947 due to rationing of aluminum during World War II. During that nearly six-year period, Hershey retooled its production equipment in order to produce chocolate D-Rations for the US military. The Hershey Kiss has been in production since 1947.
From 1907 to 1921, the Hershey Kiss was foil-wrapped by hand, including the tissue paper identification tag inside the foil wrapper. After 1921, the chocolates have been wrapped using a machine that added the printed paper plume and then the aluminum foil wrapping.
“Not only is the Hershey Kiss’s symbolic nature and the inviting tone of a candy named “Kiss” fit perfectly with the image of this great state but the impact the Hershey Company, and its production of 70 million Kisses daily, continue to be the backbone of the Pennsylvania economy,” Mehaffie wrote in his legislative memorandum. “Specifically, the Hershey Company supports Pennsylvania’s proud dairy industry for more than 125 years through their use of fresh dairy milk from Pennsylvania farms that surround their chocolate factory and used to make the milk chocolate in their Hershey’s Kisses chocolates. Additionally, Hershey’s Kisses chocolates are one of the most iconic products ever created by the Hershey’s Company, not only are they so loved by Hershey that they made their street lamps into the likeness of Hershey’s Kisses, but they are also the most recognized and beloved products around the world. The official symbols of the Commonwealth are important because they help to differentiate our state from others. Most states have an official state dog, tree and flower, etc.; all of which help to show what is important to that state. I believe that denoting the Hershey Kiss as the state candy will not only bring more attention to our state but also commemorate a company and candy that has forever impacted our state’s economy and values.”