Teaching Students About Yoo-hoo Drink: A Chocolatey Lesson in Beverage History


The story of Yoo-hoo, the delicious chocolate drink that has satisfied generations of thirsty patrons, presents a valuable opportunity to teach students about beverage history, marketing, and the food industry. Through an interactive and engaging lesson plan, teachers can pique their students’ interests by incorporating Yoo-hoo into their curriculum.

A Brief History

Yoo-hoo can trace its roots back to the 1920s when Italian immigrant Natale Olivieri first developed the recipe. The drink gained fame after Olivieri sold his popular chocolate beverage in his small grocery store in New Jersey. Soon, Yoo-hoo began to expand nationally as it gained endorsements from celebrities like Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.

Materials for Teaching

1. Yoo-hoo bottles or cans: Having students taste test Yoo-hoo will engage their senses and make historical connections more memorable.

2. A timeline of Yoo-hoo history: A visual aid showcasing key moments in the product’s development will help students better understand its evolution.

3. Photos of old advertisements: Use these to illustrate how marketing has changed over time and to encourage discussions about the advertising industry.

4. Case study: Showcase a brief business study on Yoo-hoo’s ups and downs as a company, providing insight into the world of food and beverage enterprises.

Lesson Plan Ideas

1. Begin with a tasting: Start your lesson by letting students sample Yoo-hoo while explaining its origins and how it became popular thanks to celebrity endorsements.

2. Discuss key moments in history: Using your timeline, discuss important events in the history of Yoo-hoo and draw parallels between these milestones and broader developments in American culture and society.

3. Interactive marketing analysis: Have students examine old advertisements and discuss how they convey information about both the product and the period during which they were created.

4. Entrepreneurship and the food industry: Examine Yoo-hoo as a case study, looking at how the company has adapted to changing times and consumer preferences. Encourage students to think critically about the role of innovation, resilience, and strategic thinking in the food and beverage industry.

Wrap Up

Teaching students about Yoo-hoo presents an enjoyable and memorable learning experience that expands their understanding of American beverage history, marketing, and the world of business in a relatable way. By incorporating tasting sessions, visual materials, and thought-provoking discussions into your lesson plan, you can turn a simple chocolate drink into a fascinating educational opportunity.

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