Ever since the 1920s, Yoo-hoo has been making a permanent mark in the history of
The story starts in the beginning of the 20th century, when the Olivieri family
of New Jersey ran a small business producing Tru-Fruit flavors by squeezing
fresh fruit. Mr. Natale Olivieri believed that a chocolate flavor, which could
be marketed without fear of spoilage, would be a very successful addition to
his Tru-Fruit business.
In keeping with his policy of natural ingredients, Mr. Olivieri did not want to
introduce a chocolate drink unless he could eliminate spoilage problems without
the addition of any chemicals or preservatives.
One day Mr. Olivieri was assisting his wife in the kitchen while she was
preparing to preserve her homemade tomato sauce. The idea struck him that heat
might be a method of preserving chocolate as well. That day he prepared six
bottles of chocolate drink and had his wife put them through the same process
that she used on her tomato sauce. After a period of time, three out of the six
spoiled. After further experimentation, Mr. Olivieri realized that while time
and temperature were the two main factors in this new process, agitation was
also necessary in order to achieve uniform heating of his product. This led him
to the purchase of a rotating pressure retort with which he processed his first
commercial batch of chocolate drink.
The name Yoo-hoo was already being used for the fruit drinks and was applied to
the new chocolate drink. As far as we know, the term Yoo-hoo may have been
derived from some of the popular expressions of the day, which led to the
naming of some other beverage products, such as Whooppee, Vigor and Moxie. The
drink soon became so successful that a major bottler/distributor began
distributing Yoo-hoo. Yoo-hoo sales increased and distribution became more
The following years saw continued success for Yoo-hoo, especially through the
efforts of Yogi Berra and his Yankee teammates who supported what was probably
the most successful Yoo-hoo advertising campaign in the company's history. The
slogans of "Me-hee for Yoo-hoo" and "The Drink of Champions" were certainly
applicable through the representation of the product by the members of the
World Champion Yankee teams of the 50s and 60s.
In the late 50s, B.B.C. Industries, who were distributors for Yoo-hoo in the Bronx and owned the New York Nedicks at the time, became interested in acquiring the Yoo-hoo Beverage Company. Under B.B.C. Industries, Yoo-hoo continued to grow and expand. The brand changed hands several times and in 2008 Yoo-hoo became apart of Dr Pepper Snapple Group. The new management expanded distribution while it introduced new products and flavors. Yoo-hoo enjoyed renewed interest and growth as it geared up to become the popular drink that you know and love today. Yoo-hoo remains close to its New York area roots, with corporate headquarters and one plant in Carlstadt, NJ , and another plant in Opelousas, LA.