The Willy Wonka Candy Company
The Willy Wonka Candy Company is a British brand of candy owned and licensed by Swiss corporation Nestlé Société Anonyme. The Wonka brand's inception comes from materials licensed from British author Roald Dahl. His classic children's novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and its film adaptations are the source of both the packaging and the marketing styles of the Wonka brand. The brand was launched in 1971, coinciding with the release of the novel's first film adaptation. In 1988 the Willy Wonka Candy Company brand – then owned by Sunmark – was acquired by Nestlé. Nestlé sells sweets and chocolate under the Willy Wonka brand name in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica and Panama.
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.
A number of the Willy Wonka-branded products originated from Roald Dahl's book and later film adaptations, while others were originally created or acquired for the brand. Some of the products included under the brand include Everlasting Gobstoppers, Sweettarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Kazoozles, Shockers, Bottle Caps, Gummies, Fun Dip, Spree, Runts, Pixy Stix, MixUps and their world-famous Wonka Bars.
In the United States, the Willy Wonka Candy Factory is located today at 1445 West Norwood Avenue in Itasca, Illinois.
- Wonka Bar (Found in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand)
- Bottle Caps
- Nerds (1983–)
- Nerds Rope (2000–)
- Pixy Stix
- Everlasting Gobstopper
- Fun Dip
- Laffy Taffy
- SweeTarts Soft & Chewy Ropes
- Wonka Ice Cream (Peel-A-Pops and Push Ups)
- Randoms (Rowntree's Randoms in the UK, made and sold in the US under the Wonka brand)
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