Hanover, PA is known as the Snack Food Capital of the World--and for good reason. It is home to two of the most delicious names in the industry including Utz Quality Foods and Snyder's of Hanover. Besides providing tasty treats, these businesses have been a part of Hanover's history from the very beginning by attracting new residents, providing jobs, and giving back to the community to make Hanover a great place to live.
Where It All Began
With access to vast amounts of fresh produce from the fertile Susquehanna River Valley and a stash of German pretzel and dessert recipes from the Pennsylvania Dutch, opening a snack food company was relatively easy and affordable in the Hanover area in the early 1900s. Several companies started up, many merged, and some closed down. Snyder's and Utz are two of the biggest that are still in operation today.
Snyder's of Hanover
Founded in 1909, Snyder's of Hanover was originally called Hanover Canning Company. The company became Snyder's Bakery in the 1920s and produced a variety of items from snacks to cakes to pasta. It wasn't until the 1960s, after the company had experienced a few tragedies and had changed hands several times, that the recipe for the Sourdough Hard Pretzel was developed. In the 1980s, the company branched out its operations and the Snyder's of Hanover snack operation as we know it today was born. Snyder's merged with Lance, Inc. in 2010 to become one of the biggest snack food companies in the U.S.
Utz Quality Foods
Right alongside the Snyder family, in the 1920s, William and Salie Utz were producing potato chips in kitchen of their summer home under the name "Hanover Home Brand". In the 1930s, the facilities were expanded when they built on to the back of their home to include a factory. A few years later a modern manufacturing facility was built across town. The brand was changed to "Utz" in the late forties, and the Carlisle Street plant was purchased. The Broadway plant and the High Street plant were both added in the 1970s and in the 1980s production expanded to include popcorn, corn chips and cheese curls. The latest facility, the Kindig Lane plant, was opened in 2003. Today, Utz is the largest independently held snack company in the U.S.
Things to Do in Hanover PA: Factory Tours
Both companies offer free tours for anyone looking for things to do in Hanover PA. Snyder's of Hanover gives a history of their fast-paced facility at the 1350 York Street building. The guided tour begins in the warehouse of raw foods, travels through the finished goods warehouse, and then on to the oven room where the smells can be intoxicating. The Utz factory has a special observation gallery that walks through the process from beginning to end. The tour is unguided, so feel free to take your time. Of the many things to do in Hanover PA, these tours are family favorites and are revisited often by Hanover residents.
Snyder's of Hanover and Utz have been supporting the community of Hanover for more than a century. In the very beginning, each company kept local farmers and tradesmen in business. Today, close to 5,000 local, full-time jobs are provided along with many more from shipping and distribution, and the boost to the local economy from the employees earning good wages. Both companies also contribute to local charities to keep the community strong making Hanover a great place to call home.