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Hershey's Kisses is a brand of chocolate manufactured by The Hershey Company. The bite-sized pieces of chocolate have a distinctive shape, commonly described as flat-bottomed teardrops. Hershey's Kisses chocolates are wrapped in squares of lightweight aluminum foil with a narrow strip of paper protruding from the top.
Kisses is one of the most popular brands of candies in the US. In 1989, the chocolate drops were the 5th most popular chocolate brand in the United States, spawning sales that topped $400 million. More than 60 million Hershey's Kisses chocolates are produced each day at the company's two factories. Today's Kisses brand chocolates use Hershey's original milk chocolate formula.
In 2006 Hershey's Kissables were introduced as a smaller sized, candy coated version of Kisses chocolates. They have been discontinued.
Hershey's Kisses milk chocolates were introduced in 1907. The candy got its name from the machine that makes them, which makes kissing sounds and appears to "kiss" the conveyor belt onto which the chocolate is dispensed.
Another Pennsylvania chocolatier, H.O. Wilbur & Sons Chocolate Company, had been making a similar product known as Wilbur Buds since 1894. The shape and size of those candies likely served as an inspiration for Hershey's Kisses chocolates.
Hershey's Kisses chocolates were originally wrapped by hand. Automated wrapping began in 1956. The same automatic wrapping process allowed for the insertion of the distinctive paper "plume" that the company used to guarantee that consumers were getting the genuine Hershey product, rather than an imitation. This thin paper strip was registered as a company trademark in 1924. Italian confectioner Perugina manufactures a small chocolate and hazelnut candy called Baci (Italian for "kisses"). Baci are reputed to have been used as a clandestine method for delivering love notes between two confectioners, Giovanni Buitoni and Luisa Spagnoli. This may have served as the inspiration for the paper strip.
Hershey's Kisses chocolates have been produced continuously since 1907, except for the period of time between 1942 and 1949. Rationing of raw materials during World War II made the aluminum foil for the wrappers a scarce commodity.
The word KISSES became a registered trademark by the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 2, 2001. (Reg. No. 2,416,701). The plume device is also a federally registered trademark (Reg. No. 186,828). The conical configuration of the product is also a federally registered trademark.
Some streetlights in the town of Hershey are shaped like Kisses. These can be found on Chocolate Avenue (Hershey's main street and the site of the original chocolate factory), as well as a downtown portion of Park Avenue, and at several Hershey Company facilities. These were first installed in 1963 and generally alternate between wrapped and unwrapped Kisses.
In 2007, The United States Postal Service issued a postage stamp commemorating the Hershey's Kiss. This 39-cent stamp was part of the USPS's "Love" series.
Though originally made of solely milk chocolate, many variations of the Kisses brand of chocolates and candies have since been introduced. Hershey introduces and discontinues new flavors constantly. As of January 2013, some of the flavors available throughout the year include:
Hershey's Kisses chocolates were originally wrapped in silver-colored foil, and were only available in this color for decades. 1962 marked the first year that Kisses chocolates were available in different colored foil wrappers: red, green, and silver-wrapped candies were manufactured to coincide with the Christmas season. In 1968, pastel blue, pink, and green wrappers were introduced for Easter, and in 1986, Valentine's Day-themed wrappers of red and silver were introduced. Xs and Os have also appeared on pink and red wrappers as well as little red hearts on silver wrappers for Valentine’s Day. "Fall Harvest" colors were introduced in 1991. Independence Day has silver with red stripes and blue-starred wrappers. Pink wrappers with "ribbons" on them to support breast cancer research have also appeared. Camouflage wrappers are also available, primarily on military bases. Kisses Dark Chocolates come in a deep purple wrapper. The Halloween themed Kisses Candy Corn candies come in a wrapper whose colors imitate the color of a candy corn with yellow, white and orange stripes swirling around the candy. The Christmas themed Kisses Candy Cane candies also come in a wrapper whose colors imitate the color pattern (red stripes and white chocolate). The original silver (for regular) and gold (for Almonds) wrappers are available year-round.
Hershey is introducing new pastel-colored wrappers with white polka dots for the upcoming Easter season. This created controversy within the organization because many workers and environmentalists have requested a more environmentally-friendly packaging, which would have eliminated the aluminum wrapping and replaced it with biodegradable materials. This was supposed to be rolled out on April 1, 2009.
In addition to the standard "Kisses®" paper plume and the special variety plumes (such as "cheesecake") special messages have been available for various occasions, including:
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