MIRROR Online: LONDON, England, By Lucy Marshall – From humble beginnings to an icon in all things chocolate, the a nation’s favourite chocolate brand, Cadbury, turns 200 this week. We take a look back at the company’s success and the origin of the iconic purple packaging

      Over two centuries ago, a small grocer’s shop opened in Birmingham, not knowing it would one day become the empire that is Cadbury.

      The nation’s favourite chocolate brand officially turned 200 on March 4. The brand’s journey began in 1824 when it was founded by Britain’s very own Willy Wonka, John Cadbury. Mr Cadbury started as tea dealer and coffee roaster and would sell cocoa and drinking chocolate – made by himself. By 1866 a purer and more luxurious drinking chocolate called Cocoa Essence was introduced and used to press cocoa butter. The excess cocoa butter from the press could then be used to make an early form of eating chocolate.

      With his commitment to quality and innovation, as well as help from his son’s Richard and George, the genius chocolate maker was able to rapidly expand his business and make his chocolate, as well as the iconic purple packaging, become synonymous with cherished memories for Brits. But, the staple purple packaging was not introduced until 1914 and was created in honour of none other than Queen Victoria.

      The late Queen was known for being a huge fan of the colour purple and was often seen wearing purple dresses. Following her death in 1901, Cadbury decided to honour her through their packaging colour. When dried, the inside of the cocoa pod bean is also purple – they really thought of everything.

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      Four years after Queen Victoria’s death, Cadbury’s dazzled the nation with their perfect purple wrappers when they launched Cadbury Dairy Milk in 1905. It quickly became a firm fan favourite with its deliciously creamy taste.

      Originally Cadbury Dairy Milk was going to be named Highland Milk or Dairy Maid, but when a customer’s daughter thought of ‘Dairy Milk,’ the name stuck. Delivered in blocks to shops, they were broken up and sold in penny bars.

      The entrance to the Cadbury factory in Bournville, Birmingham

      The entrance to the Cadbury factory in Bournville, Birmingham Getty Images

      Soon after, a new recipe using a whole glass and a half of milk in each half-pound of chocolate – this is where the tagline ‘There’s a glass & a half in everyone’ came from. By the early 1920s, it was the bestselling chocolate bar in the UK.

      All of the ideas of Cadbury’s products sold across the world continue to originate at its home in Bournville, Birmingham, in the Chocolate Research and Development centre. The centre also includes the innovation kitchen where all Cadbury products are invented.

      The company was also one of the first to introduce the weekly half-day holiday with its five-and-a-half-day week. The business also introduced the tradition of employees taking a day off work on Bank holidays in 1871, pioneering bringing Bank Holidays to the masses in the UK. Thanks Cadbury!

      Top Feature Photo: The nation’s favourite chocolate brand, Cadbury, turns 200 years old this week (stock image) Daily Mirror