I spent four months at the University of Millersville in Pennsylvania for an exchange semester in 2016. While there, I got to visit Hershey Chocolate World, where I tried a selection of US Cadbury products and noticed it tasted different from the original British version.
While it was many years ago, I remember thinking that the US version of Cadbury's Dairy Milk in particular didn't taste as good as the UK's — but I couldn't put my finger on why.
As Insider previously reported, Hershey paid $300 million for the US operations of the British-owned Cadbury in 1988. This included Mounds, Almond Joy, and York Peppermint Patties, as well as Cadbury products such as Dairy Milk and Carmello.
A friend from the US visited me at my home in Scotland last month, and I asked if he could bring a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with him so I could compare it to the same product in the UK.
I thought that tasting both chocolate bars one after the other would be the fair and accurate way to examine the differences. I was also eager to find out if I'd still prefer the UK version.
As Insider's Mary Hanbury previously reported, the only differences between the UK and US versions are the fat content and the amount of cocoa used. While the US Cadbury bars use cocoa butter as the fat, in order to meet FDA standards, the UK is allowed to use vegetable oils such as palm and shea.
A Hershey spokesperson told Hanbury that they source quality ingredients "straight from the Cadbury plant in the British isles" using the same amounts of milk, sugar, and chocolate as the UK version.
"In fact, it's the same milk sourced by Cadbury from cows in Europe," the spokesperson said. "We add cocoa butter and mold the milk chocolate into bars for sale in the United States."
The chocolate bar had gotten a little bashed on the journey from the US, but it still looked tasty.
One thing I noticed was that the US bar had a more flat and squared shape, whereas the UK bar was cubed and raised.
I asked my sister, Aimee, to help taste the chocolate bars. Aimee has also spent time in the US, having previously spent a summer as a camp counselor in Massachusetts many years ago.
I gave Aimee the US Dairy Milk without telling her which place it belonged to, and her immediate response was: "This is American." She said she could tell because in her opinion it tasted less sweet than UK Cadbury.
When I tried the chocolate, the first thing that stood out to me was the crumbly texture. While the UK Cadbury is so smooth and chewy that it melts in your mouth, this isn't the case for the US version. I also found that it wasn't as sweet as the UK version, perhaps due to the bitterness of the cocoa.
That being said, I enjoyed it more this time around than I did in 2016.
I tried the UK version right after trying the US version, and I stand by my previous opinion that the UK product is superior. The silky smooth texture of the chocolate bar makes it that much more enjoyable to eat, and in my opinion, this makes it appear to be better quality too.
Representatives for Hershey and Cadbury did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.