E.Wedel (Cadbury-Wedel Polska since 1999) is a famous Polish confectionery company, producing many varieties of high-quality chocolates, cakes, and snacks. Wedel is also a well-recognized brand of sweets in Poland, considered by some to be the "Polish national brand" in that market, and is the leading sweets brand among Polish producers with about 14% of the Polish market in 2005 and 11.7% in 2007.
Founded in 1851 by Karol Ernest Wedel (1813-1902), the company and its products became known in most of Central and Eastern Europe. The logo of the company is based on Karol Wedel's signature. His son Emil Albert Fryderyk Wedel (1841-1919) apprenticed in sweets and chocolate factories in Western Europe before inheriting and expanding his father's business. His descendant Jan Wedel (d. 1960), the last member of the Wedel family to own the company, was considered "the Willy Wonka" of pre-war Poland. In 1894 the company moved its main factory from Szpitalna street in Warsaw. In 1934, during the time of the Great Depression, Jan Wedel opened a second factory, one of the most modern in the Second Polish Republic. The company was also known for its very generous social welfare policies. As one of the first in Europe, it had its own creche, kindergarten, hospital and cafeteria, and rewarded its best employees with no-interest housing loans; its model was highly acclaimed by the Polish Socialist Party. Hence prior to World War II, Wedel became a successful private company, with shops in London and Paris.
Jan Wedel made plans for World War II, and the company managed to continue production during the first few years of the war; it also started producing basic foodstuffs such as bread for starving Warsaw, and was the site of the underground teaching. Despite the family's German ancestry Wedel refused to collaborate with the Germans, and did not sign the Volksliste; increasingly this led to him and his employees being persecuted by the Nazis. The war devastated Poland and the company; the buildings at Warsaw were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising. After the war, Wedel rebuilt the factory, only to have the communist government nationalize the company. The Wedel plant itself was renamed '22 Lipca' (22nd July) after the Communist 'Independence Day' (PKWN Manifesto), although even the communists chose to retain the Wedel brand name, with products bearing both the new and old logos (particularly as after 10 years of not using the logo, all attempts at exporting proved futile). The company was reprivatized in 1989 after the fall of communism in Poland. In 1991 it was bought by PepsiCo Foods and Beverages, and in 1999 it was bought by the British company Cadbury Schweppes for US$76.5 million.
In recent years the company has also branched out, opening a series of chocolate shops based on pre-war tradition.
Kraft Foods, Northfield, IL, signed an agreement to sell Cadbury's E. Wedel-branded chocolate and sugar confectionery operations in Poland to Lotte Group.(MERGER RELATED NEWS)(Brief article)
Jul 05, 2010; KRAFT FOODS, Northfield, IL, signed an agreement to sell CADBURY's E. Wedel-branded chocolate and sugar confectionery operations...