The Willy Wonka Candy Company was first imagined in the pages of Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Willy Wonka Candy Company came to be as the result of film director Mel Stuart's 10-year-old daughter Madeline. Madeline read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and asked her father to make it into a film, obliging him to get "Uncle Dave" (producer David L. Wolper) to produce it. Stuart showed the book to Wolper, who was engaged in talks with the Quaker Oats Company. Wolper convinced the Quaker Oats Company into signing the deal for up to $3 million to finance the film version in exchange for the candy bar tie-in. Quaker, who had no previous experience in the film industry, bought the rights to the book and financed the picture for the purpose of promoting their new Wonka Bar. The name of Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory however was renamed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for promotion purposes.
The new brand was produced in Illinois, at the Chicago-based Breaker Confections (which was then owned by Sunmark Co., a subsidiary of Quaker). The original Wonka Bars never saw store shelves due to factory production problems prior to the film's release. Regardless, later Wonka product releases were highly successful. Breaker Confections changed its name into Willy Wonka Brands in 1980 in an attempt at developing its Wonka brand image. In 1988 Willy Wonka Brands was sold, along with parent company Sunmark, by Quaker to Nestlé, who in 1993 renamed Willy Wonka Brands to Willy Wonka Candy Company. Today, the company produces over 100 different varieties of candy.
1 Currently manufactured by General Mills in the United States. Produced by Cereal Partners under the Nestlé brand elsewhere. 2 Brand owned by General Mills; U.S. and Canadian production rights controlled by Nestlé under license. 3 U.S. production rights owned by The Hershey Company. 4 Canadian production rights owned by The Hershey Company. 5 U.S. rights and production owned by Smarties Candy Company, with a different product. 6 U.S. rights and specific trade dress owned by Nestlé; rights elsewhere owned by Associated British Foods. 7 Produced by Cereal Partners, branded as Nestlè. 8 Produced by Cereal Partners, and Branded Nestlé in The United Kingdom, and Ireland. Produced by Post Foods, elsewhere.