Breaking Down the Bitterness: Two Reasons People Are Saying “I Hate Hershey’s”

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It’s estimated that 81% of people in the United States enjoy chocolate.

When looking to curb a chocolate craving, Hershey’s is a name that’s bound to pop up as it’s one of the most well-known chocolate brands in the world.

But with fame often comes infamy!

While loved by many, Hershey’s has also managed to amass quite a few people who dislike or even hate its products or the company itself.

In recent years, the company and brand have come under fire for a couple of different reasons: product quality and controversial marketing. We’ll explore both of these in this article.

Love it or hate it, it’s clear that Hershey’s is a powerhouse in the chocolate industry. Before you decide which side you’re on, let’s take a look at the full story.

I Hate Hersheys - 2 Reasons For The Bitterness

I Hate Hershey’s Reason One: Quality

One of the main complaints about Hershey’s chocolate is its overall quality and taste.

Of course, taste preferences are subjective, but many people are quite outspoken when it comes to something being not quite right about the taste of Hershey’s.

Perceptions Of Hershey’s Chocolate In The US and Other Countries

Many people from the US who grew up snacking on Hershey’s, very much enjoy their sweet and familiar treats. From classic milk chocolate bars to special seasonal treats, Hershey’s is found in nearly check-out aisle and candy dishes across America.

But that’s not to say everyone in the US is partial to Hershey’s chocolate. Plenty of folks from the US find the quality subpar noting that it tastes blah, acidic, overly sweet or even tangy!

And those who reside in Europe and other areas where finer chocolates are the norm, often find Hershey’s chocolate doesn’t quite meet their expectations either.

Some people believe Hershey’s chocolate tastes almost watered down, especially in comparison to European chocolates like Lindt and Cadbury.

When comparing traditional Swiss and Belgian chocolates with Hershey’s, some find the classic European chocolates far richer, suggesting a potentially higher cocoa content.

On internet threads and in YouTube videos, Brits in particular appear to find Hershey’s chocolate somewhat bland and rubbish compared to their own chocolates from back home.

Differences Between American and European Chocolate

So, it’s clear that there have been a few complaints about Hershey’s quality and flavor. But is this all just personal preference or is there more to it?

As a general rule, there are some pretty big differences between typical American chocolates and chocolates produced in other areas of the world – in particular, Europe. Let’s take a closer looker.

As you’ll learn, there are plenty of legit reasons for people to prefer a higher quality chocolate of any brand or origin over a mass-produced bar.

Brand Variety

The American chocolate market is dominated by a few major brands like Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestle, which cater to a wide audience. In Europe, there is a more diverse range of chocolate makers, each with their unique styles and regional specialties.

Cultural Differences

Chocolate holds significant cultural importance in Europe, with countries like Belgium, Switzerland, and France having a long history of chocolate craftsmanship.

This cultural heritage often translates into a broader appreciation and demand for high-quality chocolates in European markets.

Cocoa Content

European chocolates tend to have a higher cocoa content compared to most American chocolates. European chocolates often use a higher percentage of cocoa solids, resulting in a more intense and complex chocolate flavor.

American chocolates, including popular brands like Hershey’s, typically have a lower cocoa content and may be sweeter.

Sugar Content

It’s no secret many Americans love their sweet treats! So it shouldn’t be a surprise to say that American chocolates, on average, tend to be sweeter than many European chocolates.

European chocolate makers often focus on a more balanced sweetness, letting the natural flavors of cocoa shine through.

Milk Fat and Ingredients

European chocolates often use higher-quality ingredients, including real cocoa butter, which contributes to a smoother and creamier texture.

American chocolates might use cheaper alternative fats or vegetable oils, which can affect the mouthfeel and taste.

Production Techniques

European chocolate manufacturers often employ traditional chocolate-making methods that emphasize craftsmanship and attention to detail. This approach can lead to a more nuanced and refined product.

In contrast, American chocolate production sometimes prioritizes mass production and consistency.

Hershey's Her She Influencer Campaign Fueled I Hate Hershey's Backlash
Credit: Three Snackateers Instagram

I Hate Hershey’s Reason Two: The She/her Campaign

The second big reason some people hate Hershey’s is an entirely different issue that has nothing to do with product quality.

In early 2023, Hershey’s launched the SHE campaign, celebrating the impact of inspirational and powerful women leading up to Women’s History Month. The campaign included a diverse cast of women, including trans-rights activist Fae Johnstone.

However, some people weren’t happy with this campaign, creating the trending Twitter hashtag #BoycottHershey as something of a rallying to their follow conservative Twitter members to stop purchasing Hershey’s chocolates.

As well as a general anti-feminist reaction to Hershey’s SHE campaign, some people were against Hershey featuring a trans-rights activist in their campaign.

The anti-Hershey campaign quickly spread across social media and was fueled by news and media coverage around the world.

As a response to Hershey’s campaign, the co-founder of The Daily Wire, Jeremy Boreing, launched a brand called Jeremy’s Chocolate, where he featured witty comeback lines targeted at Hershey’s HER campaign, including “SheHer: Nutless Chocolate”, and the products included “micro-aggression size.”

To give you a better idea of Boreing’s stance, here are a few lines from his commercial on YouTube to announce the launch of the new chocolate line: “Yes, it’s real. We have two kinds: HeHim and SheHer. One of them has nuts. If you need me to tell you which one, keep buying Hershey’s.”

But the true kicker came with the URL Jeremy used for this chocolate brand; it could be found under www.ihatehersheys.com.

While this URL now just redirects to Jeremy’s chocolate brand, it was certainly a bold move and added even more fuel to the entire Hershey’s debacle.

A portion of Hershey’s campaign was clearly a little controversial, but this can often be the case when well-known brands attempt to put more of a political spin on their campaigns.

It’s a growing belief among many that companies – especially those like Hershey’s, which is usually a palatable and light-hearted brand – should stay away from more political themes in their campaigns and advertising, which is part of why the campaign wasn’t received well by some.

Final Thoughts: Why Some People Hate Hershey’s

To wrap things up, we’ve gone through two of the big reasons that help explain why some people dislike Hershey’s chocolate, either as a sweet treat or generally as a brand.

  • Hershey’s is a household name in the US for chocolate, but when it comes to taste and quality, it’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.
  • The company’s She/Her campaign was met with quite a bit of controversy and backlash causing some to boycott the popular US confectionary brand.

Are either of these reasons enough to “hate” a brand like Hershey’s? That’s debatable. But of course, that’s a highly personal decision and everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the matter.

In the end, we hope you find some chocolate that you love, because everyone deserves a sweet treat!

If all this chocolate talk made you hungry, check out these other articles!
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Meet Micky Reed, your go-to snack expert and creator of The Three Snackateers—a hub for all the best sweets and treats to make, try, and buy. From whipping up collaborations with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's to being featured on Delish and PopSugar, Micky's delicious adventures are causing a stir in the foodie world. You can find Micky on IG and Pinterest.