Cadbury’s versus Hersheys: The difference in taste between Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate on either side of the Atlantic has become one of the most contentious debates of our time. For chocolate enthusiasts from the U.K., the difference in taste between the U.K. and American versions is like chalk and cheese. For others (with muted taste buds, perhaps), there’s no real difference. 

      This debate is especially significant to Brits, brought up in a country where Cadbury chocolate abounds, who find themselves living at the mercy of Hershey in America. That is not to say that all American chocolate is inferior to the U.K.’s — it is not. Unless, of course, we are talking about Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

      The mysterious history of these two bars dates back to 1988, when Hershey paid $300 million for the U.S. operations of the British company, Cadbury. This included the Cadbury products of Mounds, Almond Joy, and York Peppermint Patties, as well as the long-term traditional Cadbury products such as Dairy Milk and Carmello. At the time, Cadbury used this sale as a way to enter the US market, which was dominated by Mars and Hershey. 

      Then, in 2015, Hershey took legal action to bar U.S. imports of Cadbury products that had been manufactured in the UK. A Hershey representative, at that time, said the company had the rights to manufacture Cadbury chocolate in America using different recipes. 

      Consequently, the Cadbury Dairy Milk bar that you find in the U.S. today tastes almost nothing like its British counterpart, and there are different explanations for that. The British version of Cadbury has a higher fat content, as its main ingredient is milk. In an American-made Cadbury bar, the first listed ingredient is sugar. However, according to Hershey, this is an incorrect interpretation of the bars’ ingredients.

      A Hershey spokesperson stated that, “Our Cadbury Milk bars start with quality ingredients we get straight from the Cadbury plant in the British Isles. Our ‘chocolate crumb’ — the core mixture of chocolate, sugar and milk — is made at the Cadbury plant using the same amounts of milk, sugar and chocolate as the U.K. version. In fact, it’s the same milk sourced by Cadbury from cows in Europe. We add cocoa butter and mold the milk chocolate into bars for sale in the United States. The only differences are the fat content and the amount of cocoa used in each bar. The U.S. Cadbury bars use only cocoa butter as the “fat,” in order to meet FDA standards. In the U.K., the company is allowed to use vegetable oils such as palm and shea.

      A thorough taste test and analysis is obviously called for to determine the difference between the two products. A picture of the two bars appears at the top of this blog. The U.S. Dairy Milk (top) and U.K. Dairy Milk (bottom).

      The packaging is the first difference we notice: The U.S. packaging is significantly more glitzy.

      Once inside the packaging, the U.S. version’s shape is different; the cubes are much flatter and wider. In the U.K. bar, each cube is slightly raised. However, both have the well-known Cadbury’s logo impressed into the top of each cube.

      Now to the taste: The first bite of the U.K. version is glorious. It’s creamy, sweet, but not sickening, and the texture is smooth. The aftertaste is the best part. It lingers. Each time you chew, it becomes that much creamier.

      The first bite of the U.S. version feels similar. But then you chew. There’s no creamy taste, and your mouth fills with the taste of cocoa. The aftertaste is bitter, and you quickly realize that the raised top of the U.K. bar isn’t just for aesthetics — it makes the texture considerably smoother.

      However, that is the interpretation of a Brit brought up on the “home” version. So, in the interest of fairness, four American tasters were asked to try out each bar.

      The results were mixed. One noticed no difference at all, one preferred the U.S. bar, noting that it had a creamier aftertaste, and the remaining two preferred the U.K. version, claiming that it was significantly less bitter. “I had the U.S. one first, and I thought it was good, and then I tried the other and it was much better,” one tester said. “I can’t taste anything different at all,” another said. 

      Ultimately, it comes down to the ingredients and individual taste, influenced by what you have grown up with. The difference is subtle, but it’s real, and the original version is obviously better!!

About The Author


  1. Avatar

    I am firmly in the UK Cadbury’s milk chocolate is better category. Smooth and creamy, unlike the Hershey’s version which has a bitter, vinegary taste. Hershey’s regular chocolate is almost inedible.

    Just back from a visit to the UK: the UK original remains excellent.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of hCaptcha is required which is subject to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

Scroll to Top