British chocolates, including those produced by UK-based confectioner Cadbury, along with KitKat bars, Toffee Crisps, Maltesers, and Yorkie chocolate bars will no longer be imported into the United States as part of a settlement reached between the Hershey’s Company and Let’s Buy British Imports (L.B.B.), reports The New York Times.
A deal reached earlier in January pointed to trademark infringement as the reason for the chocolate ban. Hershey’s contended that British chocolates like those listed above were packaged too similarly to American candies like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and York Peppermint Patties. Furthermore, the Hershey’s Company has a licensing agreement to manufacture Cadbury chocolates in the United States with a different recipe as well as modified packaging.
“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” a Hershey’s representative told The New York Times in an email.
For Britons living in the States, the news comes as an unwelcome shock. British chocolate has higher fat content across the board, and according to the Times, “an informal blind taste test comparing Cadbury Dairy Milk bars” on either side of the pond suggested that an informed ex-pat “had reason to be upset.”
Though other business owners may try their hand at importing British chocolates themselves, the process requires dealing with regulations from the FDA, USDA, and customs. In the future, Hershey’s is reportedly looking to stop the sale of Cadbury products and other British chocolates within the U.S. entirely.
Former Londoner Mick McGurk, now a resident of Houston, offered a solution for Hershey’s fear of the competition: “It may sound a bit childish, but they should make it the same and not cheapen it with those additives.”