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Hershey's Plans Milk Candy for China

Hershey's Plans Milk Candy for China

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Milk candy is a billion-dollar industry in China

Everybody wants to get into China these days. But what is a giant chocolate company to do when it turns out chocolate doesn't sell very well over there? Hershey's has decided to just give the people what they do want, in this case: milk candy.

According to Shanghaiist, Hershey's has not launched a new product outside the U.S. in its 120-year history, but there's a first time for everything, and the milk candy business is estimated to be a billion-dollar industry in China.

Hershey's has spent two years developing a new product for China, and it's described as a premium, high-end milk candy with a creamy texture. It will be called Yo-Man in Chinese and Lancaster in English and will be available in three flavors: Original, Rich, and Strawberry-Filled.

"We actually started with a more traditional caramel and we quickly found out that that's not where the taste preferences are in China," said Hershey's senior vice president Steven Schiller. "The taste preferences and even the whole eating profile functionally of products are very different from what we know in the Western world."

Yo-Man milk candy will be produced in China from imported milk and slow-cooked to give it a smooth texture and creamy flavor.

The Yo-Man milk candy will launch in Chengdu, Wuhan, and Hangzhou next month, and is expected to get to the rest of China in 2014.

Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars with Simple Ingredients Roll Out This Holiday Season

Holiday Hershey&rsquos Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate Bars, made with simple ingredients and no artificial flavor, launch nationwide this holiday season. These are some of the first products from Hershey to transition to simpler, familiar ingredients. Holiday Hershey&rsquos Kisses Milk Chocolates packages are also the first to pilot the SmartLabel&trade QR code to instantly get detailed product information. (Photo: Business Wire)

Holiday Hershey&rsquos Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate Bars, made with simple ingredients and no artificial flavor, launch nationwide this holiday season. These are some of the first products from Hershey to transition to simpler, familiar ingredients. Holiday Hershey&rsquos Kisses Milk Chocolates packages are also the first to pilot the SmartLabel&trade QR code to instantly get detailed product information. (Photo: Business Wire)

Holiday Hershey&rsquos Kisses Milk Chocolates packages are also the first to pilot the SmartLabel&trade QR code to instantly get detailed product information, from ingredient and nutrition facts to allergens. (Photo: Business Wire)

HERSHEY, Pa.--( BUSINESS WIRE )--Today, The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced that Holiday Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, made with simple ingredients and no artificial flavor, will launch nationwide this holiday season. These are some of the first products from Hershey to transition to simpler ingredients, a commitment announced earlier this year to transition products to ingredients with which consumers are familiar. Holiday Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates packages are also the first to pilot the SmartLabel™. With this new mobile tool you can scan a QR code to instantly get detailed product information, from ingredient and nutrition facts to allergens.

The SmartLabel™ QR code is an innovative web-based platform that allows consumers to access a wealth of information about products that is not limited by the size and space of packaging. Hershey led this industry-wide collaboration to create a universal solution that gives people access to information about where their food comes from and what goes into making it, at the touch of their fingertips.

“We started making our great-tasting chocolate in 1894 with ingredients you might find in your pantry, like cocoa, milk, sugar and vanilla, and we’re continuing that tradition today,” said Mary-Ann Somers, vice president and general manager of US Confection, The Hershey Company. “People want to see ingredients that they know and are familiar with in their foods and we’re listening. Our commitments to simple ingredients and transparency continue with some of our most popular products, Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars.”

The new, simple Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars are made with fresh milk from local Pennsylvania farms, cocoa beans sourced responsibly from West Africa, pure cane sugar and natural flavor, with these ingredients reflected on-pack.

“There is a growing expectation for companies to provide more transparency about all that goes into their products and we’re at the forefront, piloting the SmartLabel™ this holiday season,” said Somers.

Join the conversation about Hershey’s ingredients at or on Twitter @HersheyCompany.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company, headquartered in Hershey, Pa., is a global confectionery leader known for bringing goodness to the world through its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks. Hershey has approximately 22,000 employees around the world who work every day to deliver delicious, quality products. The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers and Brookside. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks. The company remains focused on growing its presence in key international markets while continuing to extend its competitive advantage in North America.

At Hershey, goodness has always been about more than delicious products. For more than 120 years, Hershey has been committed to operating fairly, ethically and sustainably. Hershey founder, Milton Hershey, created the Milton Hershey School in 1909 and since then the company has focused on giving underserved children the skills and support they need to be successful. Today, the company continues this social purpose through 'Nourishing Minds,' a global initiative that provides basic nutrition to help children learn and grow. From neighborhoods across the United States to the streets of Shanghai and Mumbai and villages of West Africa, our goal is to nourish one million minds by 2020.

How the 125-year-old Hershey Company continues to innovate

The candy company is launching new stand-up packaging for 150 items, and pushing the industry forward in digital commerce and marketing.

The West Hershey plant opened in 1992 and produces more than 70 million Hershey&rsquos Kisses s Kisses Milk Chocolates a day. The facility also manufactures Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate bars, Hershey&rsquos Cookies &lsquon&rsquo Creme, Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate with Almond bars and Hershey&rsquos Syrup

The Hershey Company&rsquos corporate offi ces in Hershey, Pa. are in the original Hershey Company factory, which was recently renovated to accommodate their staff.

The new Hershey offi ces feature historic chocolate making equipment that has been displayed as works of art.

The Hershey offi ces are located in the original Hershey&rsquos factory, which Milton Hershey originally designed without windows in an effort to be practical and save on heating and cooling costs. However, the renovations included letting lots of light in through skylights.

Hershey&rsquos Chocolate Company is celebrating its 125th year in 2019. This display at Hershey&rsquos Chocolate World highlights some of the company&rsquos most famous brands.

Guests at Hershey&rsquos Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa., can create custom bulk candy bags.

Milton Hershey started Hershey&rsquos in 1894, and the company works hard to honor his legacy with displays like this one in Hershey&rsquos Chocolate World.

Hershey&rsquos Global Customer Insights Center features different insights for retailers through life-size display suggestions, such as this one aimed toward convenience retailers, which relays that consumers often purchase candy with a drink

The hallway leading into the Global Customer Insights Center highlights the candy company&rsquos rich history, with 2019 marking the company&rsquos 125th year.

Hershey hosts retailers throughout the year at its Global Customer Insights Center in Hershey, Pa., offering individualized tours that focus on the specifi c needs of that retailer.

The 2019 Global Customer Insights Center includes an area that highlights how Hershey&rsquos salty snacks would be marketed in same aisle as its sweet products.

A section in the Global Customer Insights Center highlights ways for retailers to make the most of self check-outs, including setting up a queue that allows them to browse candy and other last-minute items before they check out.

This model version of a store is on display at the Global Customer Insights Center in 2019, and was created with 3D printing.

Hershey is launching new stand-up packaging for 150 items. The new packaging is easier to open and stands up better on the shelf.

Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate bars go down the line to be packaged.

Dat Nguyen, production supervisor, Kiss Business Unit, stands in front of Hershey&rsquos Milk Chocolate bars, which are cooling on the line.

Hershey still uses fresh milk for its famous Hershey&rsquos chocolate, and they collect it at the factory daily from 26,000 cows, which are milked twice a day.

Hershey&rsquos Kisses s Kisses wrappers are ready to be used on the chocolates. The paper has to be strong enough to withstand the extremely fast wrapping machines.

Wrapped Hershey&rsquos Kisses go down the line to be packaged.

Hershey&rsquos Kisses are separated into bags.

Hershey&rsquos has launched new stand-up packaging for 150 items, and the process included upgrading their packaging lines at their factories.

Boxes of Hershey&rsquos chocolates fl ow downstairs to be put into pallets.

An overhead view of the West Hershey Plant shows the factory&rsquos two levels.

Hershey&rsquos uses a robotics palletizing system for packaging.

When Hershey was designing its new stand-up packaging, it was looking for more than just a beautiful bag for the store shelf — it also had to be beautiful on a cell phone screen.

“The packaging needs to be seen on a 5-inch screen, but it also needs to be easily identifiable in the same way from about 20 feet,” explains Doug Straton, chief digital commerce officer for The Hershey Company. “If you don’t merchandise the digital shelf correctly, people may choose not to shop with you in the digital or the physical store.”

It’s just one example of how the 125-old-company is constantly thinking about the latest technology and innovation.

Hershey, which had $7.7 billion in sales in 2018, has five of the Top 10 Confectionery brands, including: Reese’s, Hershey’s, Kit Kat, Ice Breakers, and Hershey’s Kisses. And it’s no secret that what the company does matters in the confectionery industry. If it pushes a new supply chain philosophy, a new store shelf design, or a new packaging concept, it trickles down into candy aisles all over the world.

And Hershey is pushing a lot of new concepts and innovations. The candy maker is launching new stand-up packaging for 150 items this year, reinventing the self-check queue, innovating for digital commerce, expanding manufacturing plants, renovating its corporate offices, and going viral on social media.

The biggest change is its new stand-up packaging. Hershey was looking to launch something that looked good on the store shelf, was appealing on a cellphone screen, could hold its own on a kitchen counter and was easy to open.

They’ve succeeded. They’re hitting the market now, after the company spent a year and a half getting the packaging just right and then upgrading all the related packaging lines to accommodate the news bags.

Tim Hinegardner, senior director manufacturing, North America at The Hershey Company, says in the West Hershey plant, the largest candy factory in North America, it meant changing multiple baggers into a different style and design so that they could pack the candy in a stand-up format, carton it and palletize it.

“Traditionally since the 1950s, we basically made laydown bags,” he says. “So, when you think about moving to this format across all of our items, it is a pretty dramatic change for the company.”

Susanna Zhu, v.p. U.S. supply chain operations for The Hershey Company, says the new packages have a lot of advantages.

“What we found is for consumers when you have a lay down bag, they don’t really see the product on the shelf,” she explains. “And for our customers, having a stand-up bag, it really helped them to bring consumers into the candy aisle. We also improved the quality of the film and the packaging material.”

The bags also feature a new branding design, including bright colors and recipes, which create a bold presence on the store shelf, like a vibrant orange section of Reese’s items and a stunning silver section of Hershey’s Kisses.

Straton also made sure they would look good for online shoppers, and he is the resident expert. He’s leading the way into the future at Hershey when it comes to the digital side of things, helping the candy company strategize on everything from brand websites to e-commerce — although he doesn’t really like that word.

“If you really want to be good at e-commerce, you just have to be good at commerce,” he says.

The confectionery industry as a whole has had the luxury of time when it comes to digital strategy because shoppers have been reluctant to purchase groceries online. But Straton is hoping to change that.

“The most important thing is to believe that a 125-year-old company can actually be at a forefront of the thinking around how people create, manufacture and distribute products using digital technologies,” Straton says.

And he’s up to the challenge.

“[With] e-commerce everybody thinks it’s just Amazon and it’s like ‘Well, no,’” Straton explains. “All the different segments — mass grocery, drug, convenience — everybody is playing in digital. And some of them are playing multiple models within digital so, it’s actually much more multifaceted, and if you can kind of go into it thinking that way then you can usually design a solution around it.”

Those solutions include things like encouraging retailers to ask shoppers if they want to add a candy bar to their online cart, and offering a push notification 30 minutes before another shopper is scheduled to pick up his groceries at a store pick-up location.

Hershey’s stand-up bags also tie into this — they’re designed to get people to buy candy in bulk, which is more typical of what online shoppers look for. And it’s all about getting on a consumer’s online list because once you do, the store can just ask shoppers if they’d like to purchase the same groceries as last time, and usually they’ll say yes, Straton explains.

And while some companies are shifting to plain packaging for products purchased online — by the time customers see the packaging in person they’ve already purchased it — Hershey is avoiding that.

“There’s some thinking around do you really need [appealing packaging], if it’s never going to really be on a shelf?” Straton says.

He says that consumers likely wouldn’t want to eat something as fun as candy out of a plain brown box in their pantry, though.

“I want to eat it out of something that’s fun and happy and maybe has a recipe on the back,” Straton says.

Plain packaging also interferes with the consumer experience.

“People really hate it, when they buy something online and it looks beautiful and it shows up [plain],” he explains. “There’s actually an element of disappointment when they’re like, ‘That’s not what I bought,’ or if it’s just been thrown into a bag and taped together, and they’re like, ‘That looks terrible. Do they really care about these products?’”

Touring the 2019 Global Customer Insights Center

It’s those kinds of digital insights that retailers can learn about at Hershey’s Global Customer Insights Center.

The GCIC allows Hershey to host retailers for an interactive experience, offering life-size checkout suggestions and shelf displays that also include competitor products so they can get a realistic idea of how to set up their stores. And the company recently refreshed the center for 2019, with a focus on digital.

The GCIC is an impressive building in downtown Hershey, Pa., where the street lights are covered with Hershey’s Kisses. There’s no doubt that hosting retailers at the GCIC in the iconic city helps to put them in the candy spirit.

Inside the building, historical facts and consumer data are mixed in among artistic renderings of Hershey Co. logos on the walls, and although visitors start their visit in a conference room, they spend most of their time in a theatrical staging area that features a variety of displays.

“We’ve gotten really smart about how we have our meetings. It’s very experiential,” says Larry Thomas, senior manager of the GCIC. “It’s very engaging, so all the people come in [the conference room] thinking, ‘Okay, now we’ll be PowerPointed.’ But it’s just a basic set-up of the meeting. It’s, here’s the agenda, here’s the introductions, here’s an opportunity for the customer to speak to us because they like to tell their story to us — as much as we do to them. Then, we’ll have someone from Hershey talk about the Hershey vision and where we’re going. Then, we’re up and moving the rest of the day. All of a sudden they’re off their guard because we’re out of this room.”

And all of the tours are individualized for the retailers.

“There’s so much to see,” Thomas explains. “We only address what’s appropriate for that particular retailer. So, if it’s pay point and its everyday and maybe seasonal, they would never come to some of the other areas.”

It opened in 2006, and was expanded once in 2011 and again 2016. In 2018, Hershey also launched a traveling tractor trailer version designed to accommodate convenience stores.

Hershey walked Candy Industry Magazine through the main GCIC in early April, just days after the 2019 refresh was finished. It includes various displays, such as one designed around self-check outs, another featuring seasonal products, and another highlighting snacking aisles that include confectionery items.

“What we did with this latest refresh is incorporate digital into every story,” says David Nolen, v.p. of category management. “It’s not separate digital isn’t a separate conversation. It’s total commerce and understanding the path to purchase — 80 percent of the influence of buying in the physical is done through the digital.”

Retailers who visit get a chance to meet with category and subject matter experts as well as sales people.

“Our most effective meetings are when we pair our sales people with subject matter experts so that it’s more of an education-based conversation around what we know about shopper insights and how we satisfy the shoppers,” Thomas says.

The tours range from information about the basics like register organization, to more sophisticated information about cross merchandising and time-of-day sales, which includes featuring different items at different points in the day. For example, if a store has a dedicated end cap for doughnuts, but they stop selling after 10 a.m., how can they better use that space the rest of the day?

“One of the things that popped up for us is late at night, the gamers are buying an energy drink and a Reese’s King Size bar because they’re up late and they’re doing their gaming,” Nolen says. “We’re always looking at new occasions, and how do we incorporate the right bundles in the occasions to the merchandise?”

And that is based on data they gather from retailers and time-of-day analytics. Another time-of-day insight they highlight was that many consumers purchase a Kit Kat with their coffee, so they encourage retailers to pair the two together. Then they run local radio ads that are retailer specific and encourage morning commuters to stop into that specific convenience store.

The 2019 GCIC also includes an example for stores to follow for click and collect areas — where consumers pick up the items they purchased online. Nolen says almost 80 percent of those customers are still going into the stores to get their items, which means there’s one more opportunity to add on items like snacks and beverages.

The model includes a pick-up locker area that might exist in a physical store, surrounded by confectionery and beverage displays.

“This would represent a pick-up point in the store and making sure you have the opportunity to convert a snack or confection as you pick up your product,” Nolen explains.

The GCIC also includes a model for self-checkouts that includes a single queue line that filters into all the registers, and is filled with add-on items. Nolen says about 60 percent of transactions are moving to self-check lanes.

“What happens is this is typically an operations initiative to save labor. They don’t typically think about the merchandising that they should be adding,” Nolen says.

Then there’s the candy aisle, which of course, Hershey also has insights into. The GCIC features an ideal candy aisle that was created with virtual testing.

“We did around 20 different variations of different sets, and this is the gold standard to get what’s best for the retailer and for shopper,” Nolen says. “And it’s all about the usage, not necessarily brand blocking because you put all your brands together across all these different usages, it gets very confusing for the shopper.”

In short, products need to be easier to find, then categorized with the right groups of candy or snacks.

“The big frustration is shoppers can’t find what they’re looking for,” Nolen says of their research. “It’s all different colors, and we find that if you organize it by usage occasion they can find what they’re looking for quickly and that can drive category growth.”

Also, the end cap of the candy aisle should be stocked with candy, because it can signal to shoppers where to look in the store.

“If you had a beacon end cap that you can find in the aisle, then that draws them into the aisle by leading with these big brands and then drawing them all the way down the aisle to drive conversion,” Nolen says.

The 2019 GCIC also highlights digital shelf signs, which can be updated with different prices and messaging.

“If you see this, you’d engage it,” Thomas explains. “I can put any message on there, and as you get closer to it, there’s a motion sensor in the camera. When you get closer to it, it pops up and the prices come up. There’s also an inventory control aspect to this, too, so it tells me if I’ve got Reese’s party bags on sale and I’m out of stock, the message goes to the store manager, ‘Hey, you’ve got to get some product on the shelf.’”

The GCIC also has a seasonal insights area, and one of the suggestions is to put seasonal candy out even earlier than they do now. For example, while they don’t suggest a full Easter aisle after the first of the year, they do recommend that retailers put out Cadbury Eggs in January because not only does it let consumers know that Easter is coming, the eggs also will sell that early.

In addition, there are new products on display, like the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar filled with Reese’s Pieces candy, which was launched after the success of the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups filled with Reese’s Pieces. There’s also Reese’s Thins, which have already seen lots of interest.

“We do a lot of consumer research,” Zhu says. “So, for example consumers want different textures, right? So, that’s why we launched a product like Cookie Layer Crunch. The consumer also wants different flavors, so that’s why we launched it in different flavors. And, consumer wants inclusions, so that’s why we have Reese’s Peanut Butter cups with Reese’s Pieces.

Creating those new products requires more insight, and the production side of things has to be involved.

That’s where Zhu, with her supply chain expertise, and Hinegardner, with his plant operations expertise, come in.

“It gets back to how our equipment is designed and all that. We can pretty much put inclusions in about anything. The question is what inclusion does the consumer want?” Hinegardner says, specifically discussing the Reese’s Peanut Butter cups filled with Reese’s Pieces candy. “We have a lot of flexibility. That’s the type of complexity that we would say is maybe smart complexity or easy complexity, where it really doesn’t cost much investment or changeovers or pain in manufacturing, and we love innovation like that.”

The Reese’s Thins were so successful that retailers asked for them early. Sales was more than happy to say yes, but they needed supply chain to accommodate the request.

“Two customers just came to us and said, ‘We want them early,’” Zhu says. “So, having supply chain talking to customers in real time, we can tell them, ‘Yes, we can deliver this early,’ or, ‘No, we cannot.’ Or if we know there’s a strong pull, we can manage or adjust our manufacturing.”

Manufacturing expansion

Hershey has been steadfast in its commitment to U.S. manufacturing, with multiple expansions and upgrades to its U.S. plants in the last few years.

The biggest undertaking was the company’s 2012 300,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing addition to its West Hershey plant in Hershey, Pa.

It involved combining three different cultures and now, seven years later, Hinegardner says it was a success. There was the original West Hershey plant employees, the workers from the original Hershey plant, and the new employees.

“So a lot of the focus through that period was that you had to define and create and get everyone behind the same culture,” explains Hinegardner, who was plant manager at the time. “And it’s not that the original Hershey plant culture wasn’t great, and it’s not that the original West Hershey culture wasn’t great. But you had to build everyone around specific Hershey values.”

It was important for them to remember that changing culture starts at the foundation.

“When you look at a culture — that is defined by everyone, right? And culture isn’t generated from above,” Hinegardner says. “So, it took significant resources to get everyone’s input into what we wanted to plan to be for all that training and culture development. We came up with those. Now, the great thing is those tied directly into our Hershey values.”

But Hershey hasn’t rested in the time since the 2012 expansion. Most recently, they added a line in the West Hershey plant for Cookie’s ‘n’ Creme, which is one of the fastest growing segments in the market.

“It resonates with certain group of consumers, for example, the Hispanic consumers,” Zhu says. “So, as we saw the growth, we believed it was the right thing for us to bring that in house.”

The new line came with a lot of benefits.

“You bring it under the Hershey manufacturing processes and people, and so you’d like to think when you do something like that, you increase quality,” Hinegardner explains. “We actually brought in a brand-new production line. And it fit well because we make the white chocolate here on site. So, instead of having to send away chocolate to a co-manufacturer, now we have the efficiency of having that chocolate here already. So we put in a brand-new production line that includes from the time you mould the bar all the way through wrapping and cartoning and palletizing.”

They’ve also added a new Kit Kat line to the factory in Hazleton, Pa., which brought about 90 jobs to that area and started running in January. And they also are planning to upgrade another Kit Kat line at the Reese’s plant in Hershey, Pa.

“So with the growth of the Kit Kat brand, we recognized there’s a lot of need for innovation and new items,” Hinegardner says. “And so we’re going to be doing more line modifications, adding capabilities basically to do different types of Kit Kat.

And of course, they had to make all the factory upgrades to accommodate the new stand-up packaging.

Hershey also has moved their corporate offices into the original Hershey’s chocolate factory in downtown Hershey, Pa. The beautiful office space is flooded with natural light and includes antique confectionery equipment as art installations.

All of Hershey’s upgrades aren’t just to the physical space, though.

They also have had to change how they approach training and institutional knowledge, especially since the West Hershey plant includes so much technology and automation. And the jobs are very different than they were even 10 years ago.

“So, in the past, you would get an employee, maybe spend two weeks training them about safety and quality and then you’d send them out with one of our older employees to go and learn your job,” Hinegardner says. “Now, it takes three months to a year for most of our employees to become qualified. The jobs have become very highly automated and require a lot of technical knowledge and understanding of the technology.”

The process includes training modules that help standardize what they teach employees and also formalizes some of the institutional knowledge that they used to depend on from staff that may be retiring soon.

“Employees learn differently now, much more technologically based, and the interaction with technology is considerably different than what has been,” Hinegardner says.

Zhu says they are able to keep labor costs down in the U.S. through automation.

“From our side, especially given the low unemployment rate, we need to look at automation to drive efficiency and consistency. So, we standardized things that are ‘repetitive work,’ so you see that a lot on the packaging side, the palletizers, the robotic arms,” she explains. “We also have a lot of automation in the ingredient processing as well as in the conching area. You really don’t see many operators until you get to the control room. So, we really look at where technology adds the most value to drive automation.”

The future of supply chain

Hershey also is focused on the future of supply chain, which helps make supply chain a competitive advantage for Hershey.

“I always tell people supply chain is about making the right product at the right quality at the right cost and delivering it to the right place at the right time,” Zhu explains.

Supply Chain 2.0 starts with a focus on advance planning.

“How can we make sure we anticipate customer and consumer requirements and plan our production and all supply accordingly?” Zhu says.

The second area is a managed complexity.

“Consumers want variety. We want to give them what they need, what they want. We want to generate innovation and drive the innovation to drive growth for our customers as well as for Hershey. With that comes complexity,” Zhu explains. “So, we need to make sure that we manage complexity the right way.

Then they look at integrated supply.

“How do we drive the broader supply to not just within the four walls of Hershey but within our supplier community?” Zhu asked.

And the next piece is agile fulfillment.

“How do we make sure that we fulfill the different requirements, whether it’s e-commerce, or whether it’s big box retailers,” Zhu says. “Each customer wants different pack types and we need to provide that.”

Then there’s manufacturing.

“How do we apply the latest technology, whether its ingredient processing, whether it’s quality control, whether it’s automation?” Zhu asks. “Having smart manufacturing using the latest technology to drive quality, efficiency and improved food safety.”

And all of it helps the entire company realize that what one person does is always connected to what others are doing at Hershey.

“We look at shifts in our consumer trends. We look hard at syndicated data, we look at customer specific data, we look at different channel data and all of those are flowed through the entire organization,” Zhu says. “So, I think we are a consumer-centric, innovation-driven company and that’s also the guiding principles as we look at how we design the supply chain organization as well.”

Sustainable chocolate

It would be impossible to talk about supply chain without mentioning sustainable cocoa.

Hershey’s main efforts here are called Cocoa For Good, which is a holistic, sustainable cocoa program. Specifically, the company says it is investing half a billion dollars by 2030 to, “nourish children, elevate youth, build prosperous communities and preserve natural ecosystems.”

Hershey says the program looks to:

  • Increase access to nutritious foods. Families need access to nutritious foods to live healthy lives and avoid issues like anemia, which affects 1.6 billion people worldwide.
  • Eliminate child labor. A symptom of poverty in cocoa communities, children are at the greatest risk.
  • Economically empower women. West African women are 45 percent of cocoa farm labor, but have less access to training, financial services and land than men.
  • Increase agroforestry and shade-grown cocoa. Cocoa grown in the shade is productive for up to 15 years longer than cocoa grown in full sun.

Hershey also works closely with its suppliers to make sure they are getting sustainable cocoa, although that doesn’t necessarily mean they are in contact with the farmers.

“Very few people can reach the farmers directly, especially large candy companies like the Hershey Company,” Zhu explains. “Now through our suppliers, we do go through various traceability programs so that we leverage resources for suppliers on the ground in origin countries to make sure that we provide training, certification, and various community empowerment programs — such as female empowerment and education for children. And to make sure that we not only have this ability, but also make an impact for the cocoa farmers who produce for us indirectly today.”

The majority of Hershey’s plants are zero-waste landfill, including the West Hershey plant.

“What that means is we have highly developed recycling programs,” Hinegardner explains. “So, when you look at any of these bars, things like the foil and the wrappers and the core, all that stuff, is pretty much going to some type of recycling.

They also put candy that’s not quite perfect through the rework line.

“If a Kit Kat comes off the line and it doesn’t look perfect, we send it through rework,” Zhu says.

In the end rework is a great way to describe Hershey in general. The company never stops reworking product lines, manufacturing plants and approaches to the confectionery industry as a whole.

And as long as the company keeps doing that, it’ll likely be making Kit Kats and all the other brands for at least another 125 years.


Is it a new bag? If it’s not a new bag, it could have gone bad. Have someone try it and see what they think.

KrystaElyse ( 3598 />) “Great Answer” ( 2 />)

Many of the chocolates that Hershey’s makes is now made with vegetable oil in place of cocoa butter. They started doing this a few months ago. Were these Krackels or Mr. Goodbars? The regular Hershey bars (with and without almonds), Kisses, and Reese’s are still made with cocoa butter and shouldn’t taste any different.
You can tell which are the ones with the oil as they will say “made with Hershey’s chocolate” instead of just “chocolate.”

AstroChuck ( 37461 />) “Great Answer” ( 7 />)

@KrystaElyse It was at work. Everybody tried them and we all thought they we’re strange.

@AstroChuck They just said Hersheys on them. If they didn’t have cocoa butter in that might explain the funny taste.

Lightlyseared ( 32569 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

Hershey’s opened a new plant in Monterrey, Mexico within the last couple of years and I wonder if the poor taste of the chocolate you are eating, if manufactured there, was a consequence of that.

In Mexico, they used to say (and probably still do), ‘don’t drink the water’ and now it might have to include ‘don’t eat the chocolate either’.

Bluefreedom ( 22931 />) “Great Answer” ( 4 />)

Waxy? Cheap chocolate tastes like WAX! Phooey!

SpatzieLover ( 24554 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

I had a resident in one of my apartments who was a quality control manager for Nestle. He left his apartment nastier than any other apartment I have ever seen. I won’t eat Nestle anymore.
we’re talking butt prints in the pile of poop because the chain fell off his flusher and he didn’t want to tell us so we could fix it because his apartment was so trashed. 4 foot high piles of beer cans!

Judi ( 39865 />) “Great Answer” ( 3 />)

@AstroChuck – I understand that if the label says “milk chocolate” it is made with cocoa butter. If it says “chocolate candy” it is made with vegetable oil. The FDA took exception to the change because it w no longer met their definition of milk chocolate.

Darwin ( 21815 />) “Great Answer” ( 1 />)

@judi now I don’t want to eat Nestle any more either. It’s just a shame they own everything.

Lightlyseared ( 32569 />) “Great Answer” ( 2 />)

Depending on where you are from and what chocolate you normally eat you may find all Hershey chocolate to taste “weird.”

Hershey chocolate in comparison to European chocolate has a slightly sour or spoiled milk taste. This has to do with the recipe that Hershey uses. To make milk chocolate one can use fresh, sweetened condensed, or powdered whole milk. This will change the flavor of the final product. Hershey uses a form of sweetened condensed milk that is used by other companies to make caramels.

“Tanker trucks bring the fresh milk to the factory every day where it is tested, pasteurized, and then mixed with sugar. The whole milk-sugar mixture is slowly dried until it turns into a thick, taffy-like material.”

This drying process sours the milk and gives Hershey chocolate a slightly “spoiled” taste as compared to European chocolate. You need to realize that when Hershey was experimenting with producing chocolate the recipes were closely guarded secrets. He had to experiment on his own to discover a way to combine milk and the other ingredients in a way that would keep the result creamy and not curdled. Since he didn’t know how the Swiss did it he came up with another way based on his experience in adding milk to caramels, which was his first business before he went to the 1893 Columbian Exposition and became enamored of chocolate-making equipment. It took him about 10 years to come up with his recipe.

There are other specific differences between Hershey chocolate and other chocolates. For example Hershey uses cacao beans from 12 different sources to get that specific Hershey flavor. Chocolate also has to be “conched” for varying lengths of time to make it smooth, and it has to be “tempered” in order to end up with the right texture and “snap” (the way it breaks).

So if you normally eat Hershey’s chocolate and these tasted strange it could be you were eating the vegetable oil version. However, if you normally eat European chocolate then Hershey’s should taste slightly sour to you.

Darwin ( 21815 />) “Great Answer” ( 3 />)

@Lightlyseared I can’t believe you’ve asked this. I’ve said this for months & months about Hershey’s candy bars. We love the Hershey’s with almonds & buy them by the box at Sam’s. But they’ve had an ‘off’ taste to me, too. Not really bad, but just not as…I dunno…chocolatey, if that makes sense. Thank you. Now I know I’m not nuts. (said the squirrel)

jbfletcherfan ( 13207 />) “Great Answer” ( 1 />)

almond joy has nuts. Mounds don’t.

Judi ( 39865 />) “Great Answer” ( 2 />)

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Almond Joys got nuts, Mounds don’t.

Sorry Judi, I felt unnaturally compelled to write the whole thing out. :-)

Bluefreedom ( 22931 />) “Great Answer” ( 3 />)

Was there a lot of pale or whitish chocolate edges? If so, it went funky. That’s all. Otherwise, it’s the oil/butter argument all the way.

asmonet ( 21370 />) “Great Answer” ( 2 />)

i hope it’s not poop. that would be a mean april fool’s joke. it’s not even april yet.

casheroo ( 18091 />) “Great Answer” ( 2 />)

If it tastes kind of like vomit, it’s just how Hershey’s tastes. (No, really, that is how Hershey’s registers in my mouth… I just can’t eat it because it tastes a bit like vomit.)

EmpressPixie ( 14733 />) “Great Answer” ( 1 />)

@EmpressPixie I must agree. Except for me it’s CRAP
not saying I’m a connoisseur of poo, either
Real chocolate should melt in your mouth like butter.

SpatzieLover ( 24554 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

@EmpressPixie: I’m the same way with squash. It tastes just like my brand of stomach contents. No thanks.

asmonet ( 21370 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

I haven’t liked Hershey’s for a long time, it tastes like wax and has for years! I used to like the Nestle’s Crunch ‘big thick’ bars but those seem to be hard to find now, or they stopped making them.

lollipop ( 734 />) “Great Answer” ( 1 />)

How can Hershey’s chocolate even thing to compare themselves against the best European chocolates? It cannot! European brands are far superior.
The only reason Hershey’s is still in business as the cheap chocolate reminds people of their youth.

astronautbaby ( 1 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

Actually I talked to a friend that works for a company that collects spoiled milk from Supermarkets etc, they processed the expired milk and turn it into powder milk, Hershey’s buys it to mix with their chocolate. We are eating spoiled milk, so Hershey’s can save some money..

kidzvillage ( 1 />) “Great Answer” ( 0 />)

Hershey Kisses

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Hershey fractions. See more details in the blog post. The set of hershey fractions cards has 14 different pairs of matching cards for the different fractions you can make with a hersheys candy bar make it even more fun by using real chocolate bars along with this set. A hersheys bar is made up of 12 little rectangles making it the perfect edible tool for teaching fractions.

Students will learn how to identify fractions within whole numbers. I also made a set of printable hershey fractions cards to use to go along with the book. Free shipping on qualifying offers.

Believe it or not teaching fractions can be both educational and delicious. Hershey bars are the perfect treat to use to practice fractions. Theyll even get to the props milk chocolate bars.

A set of 5 pages pf math labs to do with a hersheys candy bar. The book goes through a process of showing how a hersheys bar can be used to understand fractions. The students should also be able to recognize as many fractions as possible within a whole hersheys chocolate bar.

I have this really fun hershey fractions book and decided we needed to get some candy bars and have fun with fractions. Be sure that you have an application to open this file type before downloading andor purchasing. The hersheys fractions book is a great book to use when teaching fractions and equivalent fractions.

Hersheys bar fractions is a timeless lesson that teaches conceptual understanding of unit fractions and their equivalent fractions. There are no reviews yet. Students will be able to identify fractions within whole numbers once this lesson is completed.

This is a pdf download not a physical product. Can be used separately or together. This was a book i got to use in one my math lessons this semester and it was very successful.

Even if you dont have the hershey fractions book this is a fun and delicious way to introduce fractions to your class. This activity is a great follow up after reading the hersheys fraction book. Use the hersheys milk chocolate bar fractions book and kids who once crumpled their brows in frustration at the concept of fractions will suddenly salivate at the mere mention of this important math concept.

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Going for bronze: Hershey eyes third spot in Brazil’s chocolate market by 2020

Hershey looks to put pressure on Mondelēz's Lacta and Nestlé's Garoto

It’s new five-year plan for the Brazilian market is part of the company’s renewed focus on Brazil as a strategic market in which the company aims to triple its operations and offer innovative products to consumers.

Following the dissolution of its Brazilian joint venture with panettone maker Bauducco, Hershey told ConfectioneryNews it will go it alone with the aim of becoming the third largest manufacturer in the Brazilian market with annual sales topping BRL 1 bn ($261m) from 2020.

The company’s planned growth is based on expanding Hershey’s product distribution, new product launches, brand strengthening, improvement of sale point performance and growing local production capacity.

Marcel Sacco, director general of Hershey’s operation in Brazil, said that 2015 is a transition and transformation year for the company. Following the recent end of the joint venture with Bauducco, Hershey opened a new office in São Paulo, hired more than 60 new collaborators and it now employs around 600 staff in its São Roque production plant and São Paulo HQ.

Brazilian competition authorities approved a deal​​ for Hershey to purchase the remaining 47% of its joint venture with Bauducco in August, which opened the way for Hershey’s new era in the Brazilian market.

During this quarter, Hershey will gradually assume commercial command over the joint venture and in order to achieve this, the US giant has invested in a new 100% Hershey sales team that will be active across the entire territory of Brazil.

Hershey's Chocolate Bar Memories

When I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, my Dad would take a business trip once a year to Hershey, PA and the Hershey chocolate factory. While he would go to the offices on business, my mother, brothers and sister would tour the candy factory. We would walk through the factory, between the yellow lines painted on the floor, and see all of the workers doing all of the jobs necessary to make a Hershey chocolate bar.

When I was a kid growing up in Philadelphia, my Dad would take a business trip once a year to Hershey, PA and the Hershey chocolate factory. While he would go to the offices on business, my mother, brothers and sister would tour the candy factory. We would walk through the factory, between the yellow lines painted on the floor, and see all of the workers doing all of the jobs necessary to make a Hershey chocolate bar.

Meant To Be

This chocolate peanut butter fudge can be made in less than 20 minutes! It is a simple, foolproof recipe that is smooth, creamy and perfect all-around. Being a big peanut butter and chocolate lover I have to say I actually like this recipe slightly more than just the plain chocolate recipe. But that is just me. In my opinion, chocolate and peanut butter were just meant to be together.

This is the perfect Fall or Holiday recipe that is guaranteed to “wow” your guests. People will think you spent way more time on it than you actually did– plus it is so pretty! You can’t go wrong making this and taking it to the neighbors over the holidays. You will definitely be the favorite on the block!

I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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I never thought dinner rolls were something I could get excited about until I got my hand into the breadbasket at Texas Roadhouse. The rolls are fresh out of the oven and they hit the table when you do, so there’s no waiting to tear into a magnificently gooey sweet roll topped with soft cinnamon butter. The first bite you take will make you think of a fresh cinnamon roll, and then you can’t stop eating it. And when the first roll’s gone, you are powerless to resist grabbing for just one more. But it’s never just one more. It’s two or three more, plus a few extra to take home for tomorrow.

Discovering the secret to making rolls at home that taste as good as the real ones involved making numerous batches of dough, each one sweeter than the last (sweetened with sugar, not honey—I checked), until a very sticky batch, proofed for 2 hours, produced exactly what I was looking for. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a handheld one, the only difference being that you must knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. When working with the dough add a little bit of flour at a time to keep it from sticking, and just know that the dough will be less sticky and more workable after the first rise.

Roll the dough out and measure it as specified here, and after a final proofing and a quick bake—plus a generous brushing of butter on the tops—you will produce dinner rolls that look and taste just like the best rolls I’ve had at any famous American dinner chain.

Getting a table at the 123-year-old original Rao’s restaurant in New York City is next to impossible. The tables are “owned” by regulars who schedule their meals months in advance, so every table is full every night, and that’s the way it’s been for the last 38 years. The only way an outsider would get to taste the restaurant’s fresh marinara sauce is to be invited by a regular.

If that isn’t in the stars for you, you could buy a bottle of the sauce at your local market (if they even have it). It won't be fresh, and it's likely to be the most expensive sauce in the store, but it still has that great Rao's taste. An even better solution is to copy the sauce for yourself using this new and very easy hack.

The current co-owner of Rao’s, Frank Pellegrino Jr., told Bon Appetit in 2015 that the famous marinara sauce was created by his grandmother many years ago, and the sauce you buy in stores is the same recipe served in his restaurants. The ingredients are common, but correctly choosing the main ingredient—tomatoes—is important. Try to find San Marzano-style whole canned tomatoes, preferably from Italy. They are a little more expensive than typical canned tomatoes, but they will give you some great sauce.

After 30 minutes of cooking, you’ll end up with about the same amount of sauce as in a large jar of the real thing. Your version will likely be just a little bit brighter and better than the bottled stuff, thanks to the fresh ingredients. But now you can eat it anytime you want, with no reservations, at a table you own.

You might also like my #1 recipe of 2019, Texas Roadhouse Rolls.

A recipe for Portuguese sweet bread inspired the soft rolls that became a big hit at Robert Tiara's Bakery & Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before Robert changed the name of his thriving business to King’s Hawaiian, and in 1977 the company opened its first bakery on the mainland, in Torrance, California, to make the now-famous island sweet rolls sold in stores across the U.S.

King’s Hawaiian Rolls are similar to Texas Roadhouse Rolls in that they are both pillowy, sweet white rolls, so it made sense to dig out my Texas Roadhouse Rolls clone recipe and use it as a starting point. These new rolls had to be slightly softer and sweeter, so I made some adjustments and added a little egg for color. And by baking the dough in a high-rimmed baking pan with 24 dough balls placed snugly together, I ended up with beautiful rolls that rose nicely to the occasion, forming a tear-apart loaf just like the original, but with clean ingredients, and without the dough conditioners found in the packaged rolls.

Use these fluffy sweet rolls for sandwiches, sliders, or simply warmed up and slathered with soft European butter.

This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2020. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes for the year: Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce (#1), Olive Garden Lasagna Classico (#2), Pei Wei Better Orange Chicken (#4), Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas (#5).

The famous hard caramel candy created in 1903 in the German town of Werther is easy to duplicate at home as long as you’ve got a candy thermometer and some rounded silicone candy molds. Realistically, you can make these candies any shape you want (one time I made some in a gummy-bear mold!), but the best shape for hard candies is something smooth and rounded. That’s what works best for a candy designed to be sucked on, rather than chewed. Just be sure to get enough molds to hold 50 or more bite-size candies at once.

This hack calls for fresh cream and butter just like the original, which was invented in Germany over 100 years ago and is now sold throughout Europe and North America.

I've hacked a lot of famous candy over the years. See if I copied your favorites here.

Crafting a clone of Olive Garden’s signature Lasagna Classico became the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful multi-layered lasagna hack recipe that uses up the whole box of lasagna noodles and fills the baking pan all the way to the top. This Top Secret Recipe makes a lasagna that tips the scale at nearly 10 pounds and will feed hungry mouths for days, with every delicious layer copied directly from the carefully dissected Olive Garden original.

I found a few credible bits of intel in a video of an Olive Garden chef demonstrating what he claims is the real formula on a midday news show, but the recipe was abbreviated for TV and the chef left out some crucial information. One ingredient he conspicuously left out of the recipe is the secret layer of Cheddar cheese located near the middle of the stack. I wasn’t expecting to find Cheddar in lasagna, but when I carefully separated the layers from several servings of the original dish, there was the golden melted cheesy goodness in every slice.

This clone recipe will make enough for 8 big portions, but if you make slightly smaller slices this is easily enough food to fill twelve lasagna-loving bellies. If you like lasagna, you're going to love this version.

Browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.

To get their Extra Crispy Chicken so crispy KFC breads the chicken two times. This double breading gives the chicken its ultra craggy exterior and extra crunch, which is a different texture than the less crispy Original Recipe Chicken that’s breaded just once and pressure fried.

As with my KFC Original Recipe hack, we must first brine the chicken to give it flavor and moisture all the way through, like the real thing, then the chicken is double breaded and deep fried until golden brown. KFC uses small chickens which cook faster, but small chickens can be hard to find. If your chicken parts are on the large side, they may not cook all the way through in the 12 to 15 minutes of frying I’m specifying here. To be sure your chicken is cooked, start frying with the thickest pieces, like the breasts, then park them in a 300-degree oven while you finish with the smaller pieces. This will keep the chicken warm and crispy, and more importantly, ensure that they are cooked perfectly all the way through.

On my CMT show Top Secret Recipe I chatted with Winston Shelton, a long-time friend of KFC founder Harland Sanders. Winston saw the Colonel's handwritten secret recipe for the Original Recipe chicken, and he told me one of the secret ingredients is Tellicherry black pepper. It's a more expensive, better-tasting black pepper that comes from the Malabar coast in India, and you should use it here if you can find it. Winston pulled me aside and whispered this secret to me when he thought we were off-camera, but our microphones and very alert cameramen caught the whole thing, and we aired it.

I first published this hack in Even More Top Secret Recipes, but recently applied some newly acquired secrets and tips to make this much-improved version of one of the most familiar fried chicken recipes in the world.

This recipe was our #2 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).

Braised and shredded pork shoulder is a staple of Mexican cuisine that Chipotle prepares with a simple blend of flavors, and a surprising ingredient you may not have expected: juniper berries. Once you track those down (they’re easy to find online), the berries are combined with thyme and bay leaves in a braising liquid that will transform your own pork roast into an easily shreddable thing of beauty in under 3 hours. Then you can use your freshly cloned carnitas on tacos, in burritos, or in a bowl over rice and beans just like they do in the restaurant.

When picking your pork roast, try to find one without too much fat. If your roast has a thick cap of fat on it, trim off the excess. You want some fat in your braising liquid, but if the cap of fat is too thick, it may not fully render down and you’ll get chunks of fat in the shred.

It’s often assumed that the pork butt is from the rear end of the pig, even though cuts from the back region already have a name: ham. The pork butt, also known as a Boston butt, is cut from the other end, the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s called a “butt” because in pre-Revolutionary War New England the roasts were stored and transported in barrels called “butts”, and the confusing name stuck.

In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family golden retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life golden retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight. Their confidential baked beans formula is considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.

Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from 10 thousand cases in the first year to over 100 thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a top food secret, despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drat!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.

I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the Original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. The recipe starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t soak them for more than 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off.

My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the real Bush’s beans, which include caramel coloring—an ingredient that can be hard to find on its own. I eventually discovered that the “browning” sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, will add the dark caramel color needed to our home version of the beans so that they’ll look just like the real thing.

This recipe was our #5 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4).

The real Dole Whip is a non-dairy dessert that includes artificial flavoring, a small amount of real pineapple juice, and more gums than a candy store. Everything in this Hawaiian ice cream is combined in a powdered form including the pineapple juice in 4.4-pound bags that are sold to soft-serve machine operators at fairs, sporting events, and amusement parks. On the back of the Dole Whip mix are instructions to dissolve the powder in 2 gallons of cold tap water, then immediately pour the syrup into a soft serve machine and hit the switch.

Up until now, almost all recipes that claim to reproduce Dole Whip—including one shared by Disneyland during the coronavirus outbreak—include ice cream, to make what is supposed to be a "non-dairy" dessert one that is quite full of dairy. The results you get from these recipes may be tasty, but they are nothing like Dole Whip because Dole Whip is sorbet and sorbet isn't made with ice cream.

One thing that makes Dole Whip special is its creamy consistency, which may lead some people to believe it has dairy in it. Dole Whip creates this thickness with the assistance of six different natural gums and gels: cellulose gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, karaya gum, and pectin. In addition, there is a small amount of coconut fat solids in the mix to help simulate the fat found in dairy.

For this hack, I limited the gels to two that are easy to find: unflavored gelatin and pectin. When these two ingredients are heated, then cooled, they form a gel similar to what’s in the real Dole Whip, and the result is a thick-and-creamy consistency. Another trick often used to help thicken sorbets is the use of viscous corn syrup to replace much of the sugar. Corn syrup will give the sorbet body and it helps tone down the acidic pineapple juice.

But the best part of this Dole Whip copycat recipe, unlike the real thing, is that it contains all-natural ingredients and it's mostly made of real Dole pineapple juice, plus a little tangerine juice to round out the flavor and enrich the color. This homemade Dole Whip is ridiculously easy to make (you'll need an ice cream maker) and fans of the real thing will love it. Plus, now you can have this DIY Dole Whip whenever you want—no amusement park required.

Click here for more hacks of delicious desserts and sweet treats.

Samuel Bath Thomas immigrated from England to New York City and opened his first bakery there in 1880. That is where Thomas created skillet bread that would one day become the famous muffins known for their craggy texture when split in half. This hack for Thomas’ English Muffins uses a special kneading process to give the muffins the "nooks and crannies" they are famous for, making craters in the finished bread to better hold on to melted butter and jam.

I have seen several recipes that claim to re-create these muffins, but none produce the large air pockets that a proper clone requires, in addition to great flavor and a perfectly cooked interior. To ensure proper nooks and crannies and muffins that are cooked all the way through, I've included some important steps.

The dough you'll make here is like a ciabatta dough in that it is very wet. So rather than kneading the dough, you stretch and fold it over several times on a well-oiled surface. Then, when the portioned-out dough has proofed on baking sheets for another 1½ to 2 hours, you par-bake the muffins.

After baking, the muffins are cooked on a griddle or in a pan until dark brown on both sides, then they must cool. This is the hardest part. The muffins will be too soft to open for at least four hours, and now you have to fight off the temptation to eat one. It’s hard, I know. The muffins smell great and you’ve waited all this time, but resist for now and your patience will be rewarded.

When the muffins have had their rest, split them with a fork and toast them as you would any English muffin.

Check out all my top secret recipes for famous bread here.

The Cheesecake Factory’s latest decadent dessert goes extreme with America’s favorite cookie. You’ll find Oreos in the middle of the cheesecake, in the cookie mousse layer, pressed onto the edge, sprinkled on the whipped cream, and even up on top where an Oreo wafer crowns each slice. In fact, I’ve designed this copycat Cheesecake Factory Oreo cheesecake recipe to use every Oreo in a standard size-package—all 36 of them!

This beautiful cheesecake starts with a chocolate cake layer, topped with a layer of chocolate buttercream icing, followed by a no-bake cheesecake layer, Oreo cookie mousse, and more chocolate icing. It’s a chocolate lover’s—and Oreo lover’s—dream, and not surprisingly, one of Cheesecake Factory’s best sellers.

When creating your own version of this dessert masterpiece at home, be sure to use a 10-inch springform pan. This is a big cheesecake, so you'll get 12 large slices out of it. The restaurant charges around 56 bucks for a whole cheesecake this big, but thankfully, a homemade version will cost you much less than that.

Over a century ago, Detroit, Michigan became the Coney Island chili dog capital of the world, even though Coney Island is nowhere near there. Greek immigrants who entered the U.S. through Ellis Island adapted a recipe for the hot dogs they ate while visiting Coney Island, New York, on their way to the Midwest. When they settled in southern Michigan, many opened restaurants to sell their clones of the food they ate when they first got to America, turning New York-style Coney Dogs into a Midwest phenomenon.

Two of the most famous Coney Island restaurants in Detroit are Lafayette Coney Island and its next-door neighbor, American Coney Island. The two buildings were originally one building with a single restaurant inside, built by brothers Gus and Bill Keros in 1915. But somewhere along the way the brothers had a falling out and split the restaurant in half, right down the middle, and it stayed that way. Today, the two Coney Island restaurants are under different ownership, but they still remain next-door rivals.

I decided the best Coney dog to hack is from American Coney Island, not only because of the restaurant’s deep history, but also because I was able to order the chili dogs shipped to my house in a kit. That’s always good news, since shipped foods must list ingredients, and I get to see exactly what’s in the chili. Built the traditional way, a typical Detroit Coney Island chili dog features a natural-casing hot dog in a soft white bun, smothered in chili sauce, drizzled with mustard, and topped with a pile of diced sweet onion. The kit came with everything I needed, including the tub of chili with clearly-labeled ingredients that I was counting on.

With the help of that information, I was able to create a thick, flavorful chili sauce that you can use on your favorite hot dogs to make a delicious clone. Crushed soda crackers thicken the chili, and extra beef fat adds a smooth quality that mimics the famous 100-year-old recipe.

The chili must simmer for four hours to properly tenderize the meat, so plan your Coney dog cloning adventure accordingly.

And now if you're craving French fries, try my Mcdonald's Fries copycat recipe here.

Braised Beef Pasta Menu Description: “Slow-simmered meat sauce with tender braised beef and Italian sausage, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta and a touch of alfredo sauce—just like Nonna’s recipe.”

It’s a mistake to assume that a recipe posted to a restaurant chain’s website is the real recipe for the food served there. I’ve found this to be the case with many Olive Garden recipes, and this one is no exception. A widely circulated recipe that claims to duplicate the chain’s classic Bolognese actually originated on Olive Garden’s own website, and if you make that recipe you’ll be disappointed when the final product doesn’t even come close to the real deal. I won’t get into all the specifics of the things wrong with that recipe (too much wine, save some of that for drinking!), but at first glance it’s easy to see that a few important ingredients found in traditional Bolognese sauces are conspicuously missing, including milk, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.

I incorporated all those missing ingredients into this new hack recipe, tweaked a few other things, and then tested several methods of braising the beef so that it comes out perfectly tender: covered, uncovered, and a combo. The technique I settled on was cooking the sauce covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for 1 additional hour so that the sauce reduces and the beef transforms into a fork-flakeable flavor bomb. Yes, it comes from Olive Garden, but this Bolognese is better than any I’ve had at restaurants that charge twice as much, like Rao’s where the meat is ground, not braised, and they hit you up for $30.

As a side note, Olive Garden’s menu says the dish comes with ruffled pappardelle pasta, but it’s actually mafaldine, a narrower noodle with curly edges (shown in the top right corner of the photo). Pappardelle, which is the traditional pasta to serve with Bolognese, is a very wide noodle with straight edges, and it’s more familiar than mafaldine, so perhaps that’s why the menu fudges this fact. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which pasta you choose. Just know that a wide noodle works best. Even fettuccine is good here.

For the little bit of alfredo sauce spooned into the middle of the dish I went with a premade bottled sauce to save time. You can also make this from scratch if you like (I’ve got a great hack for Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce), but it’s such a small amount that premade sauce in either a chilled tub from the deli section or in a bottle off the shelf works great here.

This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).

And browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.

“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.

One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.

Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.

While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.

For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.

Imagine a giant soft sugar cookie with sweetened cream cheese on top and served warm as if it just came out of the oven and you have California Pizza Kitchen's Butter Cake, a delectable dessert described on the menu with five simple words: “Trust us…just try it.”

This dessert is an easy one to prep in the restaurant since the cakes are made ahead of time and chilled until ordered. Once an order comes in the cake is zapped for a minute in the microwave, then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and surrounded by dollops of whipped cream. You can prepare yours this way at home as well—make your cakes in advance, then chill them until dessert time. Or, you can serve the cakes right after they come out of the oven. Either way works.

The construction is an easy one—you’ll need four 4-inch cake pans, or ramekins, or anything you can bake in that is 4-inches across. To make the batter I used a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and it worked great, but a hand-held granny mixer also works.

I think you're gonna love this one. Trust me. just hack it.

Find more amazing CPK copycat recipes here.

A requirement of any visit to Chicago is eating at least one slice of deep dish pizza in the city that perfected it. Deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago staple after Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened the first Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and served a hearty new style of pizza constructed in a high-rimmed cake pan. The yeast crust was tender and flakey, like a pastry, and the cheese was layered under the sauce so that it wouldn’t burn in a hot oven for the long cooking time.

While researching a home hack of this now-iconic recipe, I discovered an unexpected technique that I hadn’t seen in other deep dish recipes. Employees told me the pizza crusts are partially cooked each morning to cut down on the wait time for customers. Before the restaurant opens each day, cooks press the dough into a pan and then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese. The shells are then partially baked and set aside. Later, when an order comes in, the pizza is built into one of the par-baked crusts and finished off. This way customers get their food faster, and the tables turn over quicker.

Copying that delicious, flakey crust was the task that took me the longest. After two weeks of baking, I finally settled on a formula that was a mash-up of yeast dough and pie crust and made a perfectly tender deep dish crust, with great flavor that exactly mimicked the original. If you like Uno, you will love this.

Regarding the cheese: be sure your cheese is at room temperature, not cold, or it may not melt all the way through. Also, it’s best if you buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag, and it won’t melt as smoothly as cheese you shred by hand.

This recipe will make enough sauce for two pizzas. I just thought you should know that in case you get the urge to make another deep dish after this one disappears.

This recipe was our #4 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).

Three things make Costco Blueberry Muffins special: they’re huge, they’re moist, and berries are bursting out of the top of each one. Now your home muffins can be just as special using a similar recipe and freshly unlocked tricks from our favorite big-box store.

Obviously, you get huge muffins by using a huge muffin pan, so you’ll need a jumbo or “Texas-size” muffin pan if you want your muffins the same size as the originals. You can certainly make standard muffins with this batter in a standard-size muffin pan, but in this case, bigger is definitely better.

To get muffins that are moist you’ll need oil. I noticed many muffin recipes use butter, but I found it made the muffins taste more like butter cake or pound cake than true muffins. Looking at the ingredients listed on the package of Kirkland muffins, you won’t find any butter in there. Just oil. For this hack, some of that oil comes from margarine (for a mild butter flavor and thicker batter), and the rest is vegetable oil.

As for the blueberries, if you add them straight into the batter the juice frozen on the outside of the berries will streak your batter blue, so be sure to rinse the berries before you add them. And to make your muffins look as irresistible as those at Costco, we’ll use another one of their tasty tricks: press 4 blueberries into the batter in each cup just before the pan goes into the oven so that every baked muffin is sure to have several tantalizing berries popping out of the top.

Menu Description: “Creamy marsala wine sauce with mushrooms over grilled chicken breasts, stuffed with Italian cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.”

This recipe includes a marsala sauce that even marsala sauce haters will like. My wife is one of those haters, but when she tried this sauce, her eyes lit up and she begged for more. That’s great, now I won’t have to eat alone.

Not only is Olive Garden's delicious marsala sauce hacked here (and it’s easy to make), you’ll also get the copycat hack for the chain's awesome Italian cheese stuffing that goes between the two pan-cooked chicken fillets. Build it, sauce it, serve it. The presentation is awesome, and the flavor will soothe your soul.

Try this dish paired with my recent clone of Olive Garden’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the complete O.G. Stuffed Chicken Marsala experience.

I’m not sure why Einstein Bros. claims there are just four cheeses in the new Twice-Baked Hash Brown when the ingredients clearly list six kinds of cheese, plus cream cheese. Regardless, the shredded Asiago, Romano, Parmesan, provolone, and mozzarella listed there can be found combined in an “Italian Blend” at many supermarkets, making for an easy start to our home clone. And don’t just be thinking about breakfast for these cheesy potatoes. They work great as a side for any meal.

In the detailed description of the new item, Einstein Bros. claims the hash browns contain two kinds of schmears, which is true, but a little misleading because one of them is just plain cream cheese. The other is onion-and-chive cream cheese, which we can make from scratch. We’ll combine those two shmears into one blend by doubling the cream cheese added to our onion-and-chive schmear formula.

Mix everything together and load the ingredients into a standard 12-cup muffin pan with circles of parchment paper cut out to fit into the bottom of the 12 cups. Without these parchment circles, the hash browns may stick and break when they’re released. You can also use paper muffin cups, if you don’t mind the less crispy, ridged sides.

Bake them the first time for 30 minutes, then cool and store. Now you have a dozen servings of cheesy hash brown potatoes that are easy to finish off by baking them a second time until crispy. They are great served with breakfast, or for dinner as your starchy side alongside beef, chicken, lamb, and many other savory entrees.

You can also make homemade Einstein Bros bagels, sandwiches, and shmears. See if I hacked your favorites here.

After the success of Panera Bread’s Cinnamon Crunch Bagels, the popular sandwich chain went back into the development kitchen and came out with these incredible scones, filled with the same crunchy cinnamon drops found in the bagels and drizzled with cinnamon icing.

When first released, these scones were cut as triangles and frosted, but in 2018 the shape was changed to more “rustic”-shaped round blobs with drizzled or piped icing on top. I like to hack the latest recipe, so the newer version of this pastry is the version I’ve re-created here.

These are cream scones, so cream is the main wet ingredient that holds the dough together—but keep the dough crumbly as you mix it, and try not to compress it much, or you risk making the final product too dense. The best way to form the scones is to use both hands and shape the dough like you’re making a loose snowball. Then use one hand to place the dough onto the baking sheet and form it into a rough dome shape. The scones will flatten and spread out a little bit as they bake.

Other recipes I’ve seen that claim to duplicate the fabulous flavor of this popular soup do not make good clones, yet the long grain and wild rice mix that many of these recipes call for is a great way to get the exact amount of rice you need in a perfect blend. Just be sure not to use the flavor packet that comes with those rice kits, or you won’t get a good clone of the Panera original. Toss out that blend (or you can use it elsewhere see Tidbits) and use the recipe below to make a better flavoring for the soup.

Thanks to Panera Bread's policy of completely transparent ingredients, I discovered a surprising ingredient or two (wow, cabbage!), and was able to craft the best clone you’ll find for this top secret signature soup.

Click here for more of my Panera Bread copycat recipes.

At the 2018 Salvation Army National Doughnut Day World Doughnut Eating Contest, held every June 1 st , competitive eater Joey Chestnut consumed 257 Hostess powdered Donettes in six minutes to take home the top prize. There was a big smile on Joey's powdered-sugar-and-crumb-coated face that day as he raised a trophy to celebrate another glorious gastronomic feat.

If you had to guess who makes the top-selling doughnuts in America, you’d probably say Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme, but you’d be wrong. According to Hostess, Donettes are the country’s most popular doughnuts—you rarely find a supermarket, corner market, or convenience store without at least a few packages on the shelf. Hostess Donettes come in several flavors, including chocolate, crumb, and strawberry, but the one most people turn to, and the one I grew up on (they were called “Gems” back then), is coated with a thick layer of powdered sugar.

Cloning the Hostess powdered doughnuts recipe is not hard, once you know the secrets. You'll make a stiff cake dough, punch out 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter, pierce the dough with a straw or chopstick to make a hole, then fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes until golden brown. After you roll them in powdered sugar you'll have around 20 fresh, home-cloned miniature doughnuts that will make you feel like a kid again.

And—just doing a little math here—it would take Joey Chestnut all of about 14 seconds to eat that entire plate of doughnuts you just made.

I’m not sure when it happened, but it appears Taco Bell recently changed its seasoned beef recipe. I hacked the recipe several years ago for the book TSR Step-by-Step, and I recall the recipe had much more oat filler, so that’s how I cloned it. Taco Bell came under fire in 2011 for the significant amount of oats in the recipe that the chain was listing as “spices,” and after that, Taco Bell was more transparent about ingredients. But somewhere along the way it appears the company tweaked the recipe to include less filler and more flavor, so I decided I had to create a new Top Secret Recipe for the beef.

This recipe makes a duplicate of the beef currently served at Taco Bell. If you want to turn it into a Chalupa—which the restaurant makes by deep frying the flatbread used for Gorditas—the instructions are here. But you can also use this new, improved beef hack for anything you’re copying, whether it's tacos, burritos, Enchiritos, Mexican Pizzas, or a big pile of nachos.

The secret ingredient in our hack is Knorr tomato bouillon. This flavor powder adds many ingredients found in the original recipe and provides the umami savoriness that’s required for a spot-on clone of the famous seasoned ground beef. To get the right flavor, you need to find "Knorr Tomato Bouillon with Chicken Flavor" powder, in a jar. Not the bouillon cubes.

Smother your creation in mild, hot or diablo sauce. Try all my Taco Bell copycat recipes here.

One of two pasta dishes currently on the pizza giant’s menu, the Meaty Marinara Pasta was first introduced in a 2008 April Fool’s publicity stunt when Pizza Hut claimed it was changing its name to “Pasta Hut.” No one fell for the prank but they did fall for the pasta, and that's why the Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Meaty Marinara Pasta have been on the menu ever since. The sauce is the big secret here it's simple and classic, but customized to produce a marinara with that distinct Pizza Hut taste. And the recipe will make more than enough pasta to go around.

The hack is an easy one. After browning the seasoned beef you add it to the sauce, simmer the sauce until thick, then spread it over one pound of rotini pasta in a baking dish in two layers so that every bite is filled with flavor. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the top and melt it until golden brown under your broiler. Boom! No one can resist. You rule.

This simple and inexpensive meal will feed eight, and leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.

Also check out my clone recipe for Pizza Hut Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta.

The Southern-themed chain famous for its gift shops filled with made-in-America products and delicious homestyle food is also known to have a particularly good meatloaf. This dish ranks high in popularity, right up there with the Chicken ‘n Dumplins and the Hash Brown Casserole, so a good hack is long overdue.

Making meatloaf is easy. What’s hard is making it taste like the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel which is tender and juicy, and flavored with onion, green pepper, and tomato. I sought to turn out a moist and tender loaf of meat, and one that’s not dry and tough, but my first attempts were much too dense. I wasn’t happy about that, but my dog was thrilled.

After playing around with the eggs-to-breadcrumbs-to-milk ratios and being careful to use gentle hands when combining everything and pressing it into the loaf pan, the final batch was a winner and I get to pass it along to you.

It's best to use a meatloaf pan here which has an insert that lets the fat drip to the bottom, away from the meat. A regular loaf pan will still work, but you’ll want to pour off the fat in the pan before slicing.

Satisfy your Cracker Barrel cravings with more of my copycat recipes here.

A popular staple of any Chinese chain is the fried rice so it better be good, and the version served at Panda Express most certainly is. Here's an easy hack when you need a stress-free, low-cost side for your entrées. But I do suggest that you cook the white rice several hours or even a day or two before you plan to make the finished dish. I found that the cooked rice called for in this recipe works best when it's cold.

As for a shortcut, bagged frozen peas and carrots will save you from the hassle of petite-dicing carrots since the carrots in those bags are the perfect size to produce an identical clone. And they're already cooked.

Now, how about some Honey Walnut Shrimp, or Beijing Beef to go with that rice? Find all my Panda Express copycat recipes here.

Here’s a hack that might help when you feel like doing something special with those steaks in the fridge. Or maybe you have salmon fillets in there? Doesn’t matter, this recipe works great on both. And it also makes a great pasta sauce.

The secret Toowoomba sauce is a variation on alfredo sauce that Outback served over pasta at one time. These days the sauce is only used to top steak and salmon at the restaurant, but you can also use it on just about any type of pasta.

In my early batches of the sauce, I noticed that if the shrimp are added at the beginning they get too tough. To solve that problem, I sautéed the seasoned shrimp separately, then added them closer to the end, and they came out perfect.

Spoon this clone of the Toowoomba sauce over grilled tenderloin filets (or salmon filets) for an easy way to elevate your entrée. This recipe will make enough for four servings.

If you love Outback Steakhouse, check out my other clone recipes here.

Menu Description: “Two lightly fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts are smothered with Olive Garden’s homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. We serve our Chicken Parmigiana with a side of spaghetti for dinner.”

Chicken parmigiana is a forever favorite, and it’s not a difficult dish to whip up at home. But for it to taste like the Olive Garden signature entree, we’ll need to take some very specific steps.

Olive Garden’s chicken is salty and moist all the way through, so we must first start by brining the chicken. Give yourself an extra hour for this important marinating step. The marinara sauce used on the chicken is an Olive Garden specialty and no bottled sauce compares, so we’ll make our own from scratch using canned crushed tomatoes and the formula below.

While the sauce cooks, filling your house with its intoxicating aroma, the chicken is breaded and browned. When the marinara is done, top the chicken with the sauce and mozzarella and stick it under your hot broiler until bubbling.

Hopefully, everyone at your house is hungry, because the Olive Garden dinner portion is two chicken fillets, and this recipe will yield a total of four 2-piece servings. Add a small serving of spaghetti on the side, topped with more of the delicious sauce, and you'll have a perfect match to the restaurant plate.

Can't get enough Olive Garden? Click here for more of my copycat recipes.

It’s been nearly 100 years since Walter and Cordelia Knott first started selling berries, preserves, and pies from their roadside produce stand in Buena Park, California. Walter Knott’s berry stand and farm was a popular stop throughout the 1920s for travelers heading to the Southern California beaches.

But Walter’s big claim to fame came in 1932 when he cultivated and sold the world’s first boysenberries—a hybrid of raspberry, blackberry, loganberry, and dewberry. This new berry brought so many people to the farm that they added a restaurant, featuring Cordelia’s secret fried chicken recipe, and the Knotts struck gold again.

The fried chicken was a huge hit, and the restaurant got so crowded the Knotts added rides and attractions to the farm to keep customers occupied while they waited for a table. Over the years the real berry farm transformed into an amusement park called Knott’s Berry Farm—one of my favorites as a kid—which is now ranked as the tenth most visited theme park in North America.

Knott’s Berry Farm is also a brand of delicious preserves, jams, and other foods, including these fantastic little jam-filled shortbread cookies that everyone seems to love. The shortbread dough is piped into closed “c” shapes with a pastry bag onto baking sheets, then a little bit of jam is spooned into the center. You’ll need a pastry bag and a 1M open star tip, plus your favorite seedless jam. Once you’ve got all that, the rest is pretty easy.

Follow this link for more copycat cookies, brownies and treats.

This 220-unit downscaled version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro targets the lunch crowd with a smaller menu that features bento boxes, bowls, and small plates. The bestseller on the menu is this orange chicken, which I have to say is pretty damn good orange chicken. Obviously, a clone is needed for this one, stat.

The name “Wei Better Orange Chicken” is a competitive callout to Panda Express's signature orange chicken, which is made with pre-breaded and frozen chicken. Pei Wei claims its orange chicken is prepared each day from scratch with chicken that is never frozen, so we’ll craft our clone the same way. But rather than assemble the dish in a wok over a high-flame fast stove like they do at the restaurant, we’ll prepare the sauce and chicken separately, then toss them with fresh orange wedges just before serving.

By the way, this dish goes very well with white or brown rice, so don’t forget to make some.

For many years this entree has been a top menu choice at Maggiano's, the 54-unit Italian chain from Brinker, the same company that operates Chili’s Grill & Bar. The $30 restaurant dish consists of three 2½-ounce tenderloin steaks, swimming in a fantastic balsamic cream sauce with sliced portobello mushrooms—but a home version of the signature dish is only seven easy steps away, and it won't hit you in the wallet as hard as the pricey original.

Cracking this dish required a perfect hack of the sauce, and that came quickly after obtaining some very reliable information from my incredibly helpful server/informant at a Las Vegas Maggiano’s. Let’s call him Skippy.

According to Skippy, the balsamic cream sauce is as simple as mixing a sweet balsamic glaze with the chain’s creamy alfredo sauce. So, I first got a sample of Maggiano’s alfredo sauce and figured out how to replicate it. Once that was done, I measured increments of balsamic glaze into the alfredo sauce until the color and flavor matched the original. The rest of the recipe was easy.

This recipe will make two servings of the dish and includes preparation for the tenderloins and sauce. If you’d like to complete the dish the way it’s served at the restaurant (as in the photo), add some garlic mashed potatoes on the side, using my hack for Olive Garden Garlic Mashed Potatoes.

In November 2020, Taco Bell said “adios” to several classic items from their menu including Mexican Pizza—one of my long-time favorites—and anything with shredded chicken in it including the chicken soft taco. But teary goodbyes from fans of the tasty spiced chicken can be avoided if we have a good (and easy) recipe to craft a duplicate at home. Since the fast Mexican chain announced the changes several months in advance, I had time to work up a good hack before the tacos were gone forever.

After cooking the chicken several ways I settled on poaching the fillets in chicken broth, which kept them moist and added great umami flavor. When the chicken cooled, I shredded it, and added it to a sauce seasoned with spices and lime juice, and flavored with Knorr tomato chicken bouillon.

As the sauce thickens it will reduce and infuse the chicken with flavor, then it’s ready for you to use on tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever. And don't forget the hot sauce!

It may look like it's all chocolate, but Wendy's founder Dave Thomas thought that a purely chocolate frozen dairy dessert would overpower his burger and fries, so he mixed chocolate with vanilla to create his signature ultra-thick shake, and in 1969, the Frosty was born.

My first crack at this iconic treat was revealed in a copycat recipe I published 25 years ago that called for mixing milk with Nestle Quik and vanilla ice cream in a blender. Tasty? Sure, it was. But the finished product was too runny, and the flavor wasn't perfect. That's why I recently holed myself up in the lab and created a formula that you churn in a home ice cream maker until thick and creamy, and it now tastes just like the real thing.

Unlike my previous recipe, which relied on premade ice cream and a drink mix, the scratch ingredients I used here allowed me to make small adjustments in flavor for a better match, and an ice cream maker is the perfect way to produce a thick, creamy consistency. So far, this is the best hack I've come up with to duplicate the treat that tests have shown is up to twice as thick as other famous desserts in a cup, including Dairy Queen's Blizzard and McDonald's McFlurry.

You probably think the dark chocolaty stuff that looks like dark chocolate on a dark chocolate Kind nut bar is all chocolate, but it mostly isn’t. There is chocolate in there, but chicory root is listed third in the ingredients statement, right after peanuts and almonds and way before cocoa, so the dark chocolate is actually a chocolate-flavored coating made mostly with chicory root fiber. Curiously, older labels list “chocolate-flavored coating” as the second ingredient, but newer labels don’t.

Chicory is the root of the endive plant and it’s beloved in New Orleans, where it’s combined with coffee drinks because its taste is so similar to coffee. Chicory also happens to taste a lot like chocolate, and it’s cheaper than chocolate, and that’s probably why it’s used here.

But just because Kind uses chicory, doesn’t mean we have to. For our hack, we’ll use real chocolate in the form of melting wafers you can find in most stores. I used Ghirardelli brand because it tastes great, but any easy-to-melt, dippable dark chocolate will do.

The bars are stuck together with honey and agave syrup heated to 260 degrees F, or the hard ball stage. The sticky mixture is pressed into a 10x5-inch loaf pan, cooled, and sliced into 8 bars. The bottoms are dipped in the pure chocolate, and more is drizzled over the top. About 30 minutes later, when the chocolate sets up, your bars are ready to eat.

Do you like dipping things in chocolate? Check out more of my clone recipes here.

The barbecue at Jim N' Nick's is good food. But it's the irresistible mini cheese biscuits served with every meal that have become the signature specialty of this 40-store chain. The sweet little biscuits are made from scratch every day at each restaurant using the same wholesome ingredients I'm including here.

A bag of dry mix can be purchased at the restaurant, but you’re still required to add eggs, butter, cheese, and milk, so why not just make the whole thing from scratch? It's much cheaper than buying the bag of mix, and the biscuits come out better when you use fresh buttermilk rather than relying on the powdered buttermilk included in the dry mix.

Use a mini muffin pan here to make your biscuits the same size as the originals or use a standard muffin pan, if that's all you've got, for bigger muffins. It will take a little longer to cook the larger biscuits (instructions are below), but they will still turn out as addictively delicious as the famous tiny restaurant originals.

Now, what's for dinner? Find recipes your favorite entrees here.

As you can probably guess, KFC's Extra Crispy Tenders are chicken tenderloins coated with the same delicious breading as KFC’s Extra Crispy Chicken. These tenders come in servings of two, three, six, or twelve, with your choice of dipping sauces on the side including buffalo, barbecue, and the new Finger Lickin' Good Sauce.

To duplicate these chicken fingers at home we’ll resort to a similar prep technique to the one used for the Extra Crispy Chicken: the chicken is brined for 2 hours to give it more flavor and juiciness, then the tenders are double-breaded for an extra-crunchy coating.

An important secret revealed in this breading recipe is the use of a specific type of ground black pepper. For the best clone you want to use Tellicherry black pepper, which is premium black pepper ground from mature peppercorns that have had time to develop more flavor. The unique aftertaste of KFC chicken is attributed to this special spice, so it’s worth the time to track it down.

Tellicherry black pepper costs a little more than the younger, more common black pepper, but if you want a good clone of the famous crispy fried chicken, it’s an essential ingredient. Be sure to grind the pepper fine before adding it.

Bob Evans built his first restaurant on a farm in Rio Grande, Ohio in 1962, primarily to sell his own brand of high-quality sausage. Business was good. Really good. There are now over 500 Bob Evans Restaurants in 18 states, each one decorated in a country-living theme that reminds us of the original farm location. Customers seem to like it. They also seem to like the packaged baked goods sold at each of the restaurants under the Bob Evans Farms brand, especially this top-selling, chewy, chocolate chunk cookie that can now be hacked in a snap by you. Try this Bob Evans chocolate chunk cookies recipe today. Make sure to buy chocolate chunks for baking!

The name Jolly Rancher has a friendly Western sound to it, and that’s why Bill Harmsen picked the name for his Golden, Colorado confection company in 1949. Bill sold chocolate and ice cream, but it was his hard candies that got the most attention, and that’s where Bill focused his efforts and grew his business.

The first Jolly Rancher hard candies came in just three flavors: apple, grape, and cinnamon. Eventually they added more flavors including cherry, orange, lemon, grape, peach, and blue raspberry. But today the main flavors have been cut to just five: cherry, watermelon, apple, grape, and blue raspberry. I’ve included clone recipes here for four of them: grape, cherry, watermelon, and green apple.

The flavors are all sour, thanks to malic acid, a very tart natural ingredient often used to make sour candies. If you can’t find malic acid, you can duplicate the sour taste with easier-to-find citric acid. I found some at Walmart.

You’ll also need super-strength flavoring from LorAnn in whichever flavors you chose to make. This is the most popular baking/candy flavoring brand, and you can find it online or in craft stores like Michael’s. Each small bottle is 1 dram, which is just under 1 teaspoon, and you’ll need one of those for each flavor.

Regardless of which flavors you choose to make, the base candy recipe will be the same. The hard candy is formed by bringing the sugar solution up to the “hard crack” stage, or the stage where the candy becomes hard and brittle when cool. You must get the candy to exactly 300 degrees F, and for that, you’ll need a candy thermometer.

The thermometer is essential here and will help you determine when to add the coloring, when to remove the candy from the heat, and when to add the malic or citric acid. If you cook the candy too long, it will begin to caramelize and darken and won't taste right. If you add the acid before the candy cools to 165 degrees F, it will burn and turn bitter. If you add it too late, it may be hard to mix.

This recipe makes over 60 hard candies. When cool, crack the candies apart along their score lines, wrap them up in 4x4-inch cellophane candy wrappers, and you should have more than enough hacked homemade hard candies to fill a candy bowl.

Click here to make more famous candy at home.

In the Summer of 2020, to the dismay of many fans, KFC stopped selling the famous potato wedges that had been on the menu for decades and replaced them with battered French fries.

Like the wedges, these fries are coated with a flavorful batter, but the seasoning used on the fries is a different blend than what was used on the wedges. Are these new fries better than the classic wedges? That depends. Some may prefer the rare treat of fast food skin-on wedges, while others may prefer the crispiness of these new fries. Some don’t care and just want a clone, so here you go.

The hack here is simplified by using par-fried French fries found in the freezer section of your store. After coating the fries with this clone of the seasoned breading, spray them with water, then fry them for 3 to 4 minutes. That’s it. Be sure to have a clean squirt bottle filled with water to transform the breading into a thin batter giving your finished product the same crispy coating as the original.

KFC’s new fries are coated with a blend that includes onion, celery, and carrot powder. It’s easy to find onion powder in most supermarkets, but I had to go online to find celery and carrot juice powders. The blend of vegetable powders adds great flavor, but if you want to omit the celery and carrot powders and just use onion powder, the recipe will still make delicious copycat fries.

Click here for my KFC Original Chicken recipe or search for your favorites here.

There’s one copycat recipe for these famous biscuits that’s posted and shared more than any other, and it’s downright awful. The dough is formulated with self-rising flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, shortening, and buttermilk, and many complain that the recipe creates dough that’s much too loose and the resulting biscuits are a complete disaster. Yet there the recipe remains on blogs and boards all over the interweb for unsuspecting home cloners such as yourself to waste time on. But that won’t happen anymore, because I have made a good copycat Bojangles' buttermilk biscuits recipe that works the way it should, guaranteeing you’ll get amazing golden buttermilk biscuits that look and taste just like a trained Bojangles’ pro made them.

In addition to the obvious overuse of buttermilk, the popular recipe I found online has many problems. The author gets it right when calling for self-rising flour, which is flour containing salt and a leavening agent (aka baking powder), but why would the copycat Bojangles biscuit recipe be designed to use self-rising flour and then add additional leaving? Well, it probably wouldn’t. Biscuits are job number 1 for self-rising flour, and the leavening in there is measured for that use, so there’s no need to add more. If you were planning to add your own leavening, you’d probably start with all-purpose flour, which has no leavening in it. And let's just be clear: baking powder tastes gross, so we want to add as little as possible, not more than necessary.

It’s also important to handle the dough the same way that workers at Bojangles’ do. They make biscuits there every 20 minutes and there are plenty of YouTube videos showing the preparation technique. In a nutshell, the dough is mixed by hand (in the restaurant they use their hands because the quantity is so large, but for this recipe use a mixing spoon), then it’s folded over a few times on a floured countertop before it’s rolled out. This gentle handling of the dough prevents the gluten in the flour from toughening and adds layers, so your biscuits come out of the oven tender and flakey.

For the best results, find White Lily flour. This self-rising flour is low in gluten and makes unbelievably fluffy biscuits. If you use another self-rising brand, you’ll still get great biscuits, but the gluten level will likely be higher, the biscuits will be tougher, and you’ll probably need more buttermilk. Head down to the Tidbits below for details on that.

And I noticed another thing most copycat Bojangles biscuit recipes get wrong. For biscuits that are beautifully golden brown on the top and bottom, you’ll want to bake them on a silicone baking mat (or parchment paper) at 500 degrees F. Yes, 500 degrees. That may seem hot, but this high temp works well with self-rising flour, and in 12 to 15 minutes the biscuits will be perfectly browned.

Counterintuitively, it’s the lower temperatures that end up burning the biscuits, while the higher temperature cooks them just right. At lower temps the biscuits must stay in the oven longer to cook through, which exposes the surfaces to more heat, and they end up too dark on the outside, especially the bottom. For even better results, if you have a convection setting on your oven, use that and set the temp to 475 degrees F. Your biscuits will look like they came straight from the drive-thru.

United States


Just a short drive east from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Lancaster is home to the original Y&S Candies plant, which manufactures Twizzlers Candy. The plant holds the Guinness Book World Record for the longest piece of Pull 'n' Peel candy at 1200 feet, and inside the plant you are surrounded by a rainbow of colors!


Stuarts Draft is our second largest plant in the U.S. Hershey network and primarily produces products with peanuts. At the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains, this quaint community is surrounded by the lush, fertile fields of the Shenandoah Valley, which is dotted with vineyards, farms and historic landmarks of rural Virginia.


Our Hazleton Plant, located in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains, produces delicious Cadbury, Caramello and Kit Kat® products.

Our manufacturing plant here produces Hershey’s gum, mints and licorice and is home of the Ice Breakers brand. This historic city is undergoing a massive revitalization, from its thriving South Main Street Art District and Warehouse District to the Civil Rights Museum and Mississippi riverfront.

In addition to our corporate offices, two manufacturing plants are located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. West Hershey plant opened in 2012 and produces more than 70 million Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates a day! The facility also manufactures Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars, Hershey’s Milk Chocolate with Almonds bars and Hershey’s Syrup. Just across Old Chocolate Avenue, the smell of roasted peanuts often fills the air around the Reese factory where Reese’s products have been produced for over 60 years.


The original Heath candy store here is now a museum that celebrates the birth of the Heath Bar over 100 years ago. You can even still smell the delicious chocolate and caramel aromas across Robinson’s picturesque town square.


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