A Brief History Of Terry’s Chocolate Orange

Lizzie Robinson
3 Minutes Read

Did you know that the Terry's Chocolate Orange headquarters produced aircraft materials during World War II?

    Terry’s Chocolate Orange has become an absolute favorite down the decades, most commonly seen at Christmas time.

    With its unique segments of rich orange chocolate, it makes a perfect stocking filler and a great gift all year round.  

    But for how long has this popular confectionery graced the earth, and where did it all begin?

    Let’s go right back to the start and take a journey through a brief history of Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

    When did Terry’s Chocolate Orange first appear?

    A Terry's Chocolate Apple

    The famous chocolate orange was first sold in 1932 in York, England.

    It was initially called the “Dessert Chocolate Orange” and was packaged in a small box just like we know it today.

    Terry’s Chocolate Orange followed on from Terry’s Chocolate Apple, invented just six years earlier in 1926.

    As you might imagine, the Chocolate Apple looked very similar to the Chocolate Orange but tasted of apple-flavored chocolate instead.

    Who invented Terry’s Chocolate Orange?

    Terry's old factory in York, England

    It’s been around for decades and is one of the most popular snacks at Christmas, but who is responsible for creating this chocolate wonder?

    In 1823 – more than 100 years before the chocolate orange was first sold – Joseph Terry joined “Bayldon and Berry,” a confectionery shop in Bootham Bar, York.

    He joined new owner George Berry two years later to rename the business “Terry & Berry.” It was later renamed again in 1828 to “Joseph Terry and Company” when Berry left the firm.

    Joseph Terry died in 1850, but the business was left to his sons and later his grandsons and great-grandsons.

    This is where the chocolate orange came in. When Frank and Noel Terry gained control of the company in 1923, they developed a new factory – Terry’s Chocolate Works – and a brand new line of products.

    Terry’s Chocolate Orange was among the first to be released – along with the Chocolate Apple and Terry’s All Gold.

    Terry’s Chocolate Works produced aircraft materials in WWII.

    A boxed and unboxed chocolate orange

    During the Second World War from 1939-1945, Terry’s headquarters became a factory to produce aircraft material.

    F. Hills and Sons, based in Manchester, took over the premises to fix and make propellor blades for military aircraft.

    The factory was returned to Terry’s – officially named Terry’s of York – after the war, although rationing and limited imports made it challenging to scale up production of confectionery items.

    Terry’s had many owners through the years.

    Terry's cChocolate Orange segments splitting from the wrapper

    In 1977, Colgate-Palmolive became the new owners of Terry’s before it was sold on to United Biscuits.

    Profits for United Biscuits fell by more than a quarter in 1993 – creating financial problems for the company. So they sold Terry’s of York to Kraft Foods, which officially renamed it Terry’s in 2000.

    Kraft Foods closed the York-based chocolate factory in 2005, moving production elsewhere in Europe. Terry’s continued to be produced and sold from factories in Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden.

    When Kraft Foods split in 2012 to form Kraft Foods Group and Mondelēz International, Mondelēz took control of Terry’s. Then, just four years later, it was taken over by Eurazeo.

    In 2017, Terry’s became a part of Carambar & Co – a new company dedicated to reviving “legendary brands.”

    There have been more than 20 different flavors of Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

    Lots of types of Terry's Chocolates

    We’ve already heard about Terry’s Chocolate Apple, but did you know a Chocolate Lemon was released in 1979? This lemon-flavored chocolate ball was put on the shelves but discontinued just three years later, in 1982.

    The chocolate apple had also come to an end in 1954 due to a limited supply of cocoa available after World War 2. So the company invested in the increased production of chocolate oranges instead.

    Since its beginnings, there have been more than 20 different flavors of Terry’s Chocolate. These include raspberry, birthday cake, toffee crunch, cookies, and many more.

    Terry’s Chocolate Orange has also been adapted into chocolate bars and snacks bags, with smaller segments individually wrapped or unwrapped. Terry’s remains a popular favorite at Easter, too, with a range of Easter eggs and mini eggs proving it’s not just for Christmas.


    You might be surprised to have learned just how many challenges Terry’s has overcome throughout the years. From its humble beginnings in York, this orange sweet treat now ranks 28th most popular among chocolate lovers in the United Kingdom.

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About The Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson

Lizzie Robinson has been a freelance writer since 2011. She studied English Literature at university and enjoys sailing & playing the piano in her free time. Lizzie enjoys writing about current issues & business.

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