All posts by 2016e301

Chocolate Retailing

Chocolate can be found in almost every store depending where you are. If you’re going to Target in search of some pants, chances are that there will be chocolate products available at the checkout line.One can learn many things from the kind of chocolate selection they have in a local store. You can learn about types of chocolate that is being used, ethical concerns, price point, and who the intended audience is.

Depending where someone is from, they can have a limited amount of exposure and knowledge about what is in food (like certain chemicals and additives) and what is good quality. Different stores sell different products that target a certain audience. Some chocolate companies do the same and only sell their products to companies who are their ideal client in revenue.  

I grew up in a low income household in a low income community that was highly populated by immigrants. Despite the problems my hometown had, Chelsea, MA is a small and efficient city where stores were so close by that we didn’t have to travel to another city to get our food, clothes, and other supplies.  I grew up with a convenient store just down the street from my mom’s apartment, a CVS just 2 blocks away, and a DeMoulas Market Basket a 5 minute drive away.

All of these locations had very similar things when it came down to selling chocolate. I would see candies like a Hershey bar by the Hershey Company, M&M’s candy by the Mars company, and a Butterfinger by Nestle. What these candies have in common is that they are low in cost which makes them more affordable than others. I have learned that the chocolate sweets I grew up eating don’t actually contain a lot of chocolate. What I did like was sugar. Products like a Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar contains approximately 10% of true cacao (Chocolate by the numbers). The first ingredient listed on the back of a Hershey’s bar is sugar (Mikes Candy Bar Page – Hershey Bar).

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Figure 1. Hershey’s Candy Wrapper with Ingredients Listed

Stores like CVS don’t sell a wide variety of chocolate. There can be different kinds like Crunch bar, Kit Kat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, Twix, etc…, but the chocolate is still produced by big manufacturers. The manufacturers include Hershey, Mars, Nestle, and Kraft. Most of these candy bars sells for about $1-2. When breaking down the list of ingredients, it is not a surprise that these chocolate bars can be bought at a low price. With a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup, there is more peanut butter than chocolate. With the candy the has these cheap (but delicious) fillings, It’s no surprise that the product can be at a really low cost because not much cacao is actually being used in the product.

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Figure 2. Picture I took of the chocolate selection at CVS.

Aside from most of the chocolates being from these big manufacturers, CVS do have a very small selection of premium chocolates. There are chocolates that are produced by Lindt chocolatier and Ghirardelli chocolates. Growing up to me these were the “expensive” chocolate’s as they contained richer ingredients like a high percentage of cacao, and  very bitter to my young taste buds due to the low amount of sugar in the products.  In comparison with the ingredients in the Hershey’s bar, the Lindt chocolate bar  is better in quality and does not use a lot of ingredients that I have trouble pronouncing. Also to mention that the first ingredient listed in a Lindt chocolate bar is chocolate.  The label is also give away since it does say the amount of cacao that is in the bar,which is 70%. A product of this kind f quality is often hard to sell. These bars sell for about $4 each. When CVS cannot sell them all, they go on    sale.

 

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Figure 3. Lindt Chocolate, Front

 

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Figure 5. Lindt Chocolate on Sale at CVS

Personally, I like that CVS has a very small section of Premium chocolates. It does give people the opportunity to try darker chocolate. They probably won’t like it because they are use to chocolates that contain a high amount of sugar. There is a spectrum from when people mention that they love chocolate. Is it really the taste of the cacao that they enjoy or is it the taste of the sugar in the bar (The Huffington Post).

People may prefer the sugary taste of chocolate because it is what they have been able to afford. Some people may view a chocolate bar which is worth over $4 as too expensive when they can get a cheaper bar for half the price. The battle can by quantity over quality.  When people can’t afford a certain product, a barrier is placed that eliminates them from the targeted audience.

Personally, I like that CVS has a very small section of Premium chocolates. It does give people the opportunity to try darker chocolate. They probably won’t like it because they are use to chocolates that contain a high amount of sugar. There is a spectrum from when people mention that they love chocolate. Is it really the taste of the cacao that they enjoy or is it the taste of the sugar in the bar (The Huffington Post).

People may prefer the sugary taste of chocolate because it is what they have been able to afford. Some people may view a chocolate bar which is worth over $4 as too expensive when they can get a cheaper bar for half the price. The battle can by quantity over quality.  When people can’t afford a certain product, a barrier is placed that eliminates them from the targeted audience.

Another supermarket that does create create barriers which limits their targeted audience is Whole Foods. Whole Foods is known to have organic and sustainable food.The food is presented to be in higher quality and thus being higher in prices. The running joke that most people say is Whole Paycheck (Urban Dictionary) instead of Whole Foods, because the cost of food from their is worth almost an entire paycheck.

When I visited their chocolate selection, I could not find a chocolate product that was manufactured by Hershey’s, Mars, or Nestle. Instead there were brands that I did not recognize and some that I was a little  familiar within the past few year due to furthering my exposure as I began to frequently travel to Cambridge and Boston for school and work.

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Figure 6. Chocolates from Whole Foods

 

 

Going into Whole Foods, and even now, I sometimes feel out of place because I grew up going to a supermarket that was always busy and full and the prices were cheap. It’s also because I see lack of diversity when I go in. The people shopping at whole foods is usually white people and you can tell that they probably earn a high salary. Whole Foods seems target this specific audience as they are the one who can afford their products.

I sometimes think that it is ridiculous to pay $6 for a chocolate bar, (as seens as above). I constantly remind myself that the chocolate is at a fair price because of its quality. Having learned what the process is for making chocolate, how it comes from bean to bar, and understanding the true labour that comes with it, I have no problem with spending $6 on a chocolate bar because I know I am getting quality chocolate and with organizations like Fair Trade, I know that farmers and workers are getting their fair share.

Now, there are other places to purchase chocolate that does not have to come from a chain retail store. There are independent stores that specialize in gourmet foods. In Harvard Square there is a gourmet shoppe called Cardullo’s. Cardullo’s has been around since 1950. They sell a variety of gourmet goods including wine, cheeses, teas, and chocolates.

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Figure 7. Chocolates from Cardullo’s

Cardullo’s sells a lot of chocolate, kinds that I cannot find in Whole Foods. They are truly gourmet and rich in flavour. At my trip to this story I purchase 2 chocolate bars. The first one was an Earl Grey tea infused chocolate by the brand Dolfin. The back of the wrapping was difficult to photograph but the first ingredient on this bar was cacao mass, sugar, cacao butter, and Earl Grey tea at 2,%.

The other bar of chocolate that I purchased was by Taza. Taza Chocolate with Sea Salt and Almond. On the front label it say 80% dark stone ground chocolate. On the back of the bar, the ingredients listed are Organic cacao beans, organic sugar cane, organic almonds, organic cacao butter, organic vanilla beans, and sea salt. I love that everything is organic and that I know what these ingredients are and how to pronounce them.

Each bar was about $8 and they were delicious. I never had tea infused chocolate and now if I want more I know the only place nearest me to purchase it is at Cardullo’s. Taza chocolates can be found in Whole Foods but I do not recall seeing this specific kind with sea salt and almonds. Cardullo’s is a wonderful shop with so many variations of chocolate from different companies to try, but I would need to place a budget to try all of these chocolates.

The chocolates sold here says that they care where the cacao is grown, how it is being processed, and that the laborers are being paid appropriately, and that child labor is not occurring. The cost does out weigh the taste. Know what’s in the chocolate bar, and that the ingredients are organic, this counts more as quality than quantity.

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Figure 8. Chocolate from Cardullo’s, Dolfin
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Figure 9. Chocolate from Cardullo’s, Taza front label
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Figure 9. Chocolate from Cardullo’s, Taza back label

For retail shops to target an audience, they have to see demographically where the need is for their store and who can afford the products. The maps below show the locations comparisons/difference of CVS, Whole Foods, and gourmet shops like Cardullo’s, near Chelsea, MA.

Since my hometown is in Chelsea, MA, I decided to show exactly what is accessible to the people from my community. For CVS or other convenient stores, there are multiple in the area. These stores can be easily accessed by walking, biking, and even public transportation.

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Figure 10. Convenience stores in Chelsea, MA

From experience i do know that there are more small convenience stores in Chelsea than the ones listed.

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Figure 11. CVS in Chelsea, MA
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Figure 12. Whole Foods Market near Chelsea, MA

The map on top show the closest Whole Foods near Chelsea.  The closest one is in one of Boston’s neighborhoods,  Charlestown. Getting there would require a car and going through tolls. Whole foods seem to exist areas that are not of low income communities. I am hoping that this will change for good. I think organic food should be accessible to everyone, not be so far away from a community. Whole foods has a store in one of the poorest communities of Chicago called Englwood. An article form the Washington Post talk about the effects of a wholefoods being in a community where not a lot of people can afford their products, but they do try to make it lower. The article mentioned that “the company has tried to set its price points relative to other supermarkets in the city, not relative to its own stores outside of it”. (Washington Post) The goal is to get everyone to eat healthier.

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Figure 13. Gourmet Shops (like Cardullo’s) near Chelsea, MA

This map shows the closest gourmet shops near Chelsea. As you may see, they lie just outside the city over bridges. If one owns a car, then it is not too much of an ordeal to go to the city to visit one of these gourmet shops. But man other rely on public transportation to travel into the city. When I traveled from Chelsea to Cambridge, it would usually take about one hour to get there, and one hour to head back. It’s not that people don’t want enjoy and eat better, organic food. There are many factors that come into play that don’t make it possible. Affordability, distance, availability are a few to name.

Chocolate products can be found in almost any store. You can easily find chocolate that is popular from the Hershey’s company, Mars company, and the Nestle company. These can be found in supermarkets, convenient stores, and at CVS. Or you may find brands that are more wholesome like Organic 365, Whole Foods brand, and Equal Exchange at a gourmet food stores, at Whole Foods Markets, and Trader Joe’s.

The type of chocolate that you can find in stores do say a lot about what is available to the community and how much they can know about these chocolates. The sophisticated wrapping can have a small history of the company and how the process their chocolate from bean to bar. This occurs more with chocolates that are not part of the large companies.

There are so many things you learn from the chocolate selection in a store. There are many factors

The selection of chocolate that is available in stores can say a lot. It can be a signal of who is who is the targeted audiences for certain brands of chocolate. It can say how you live you lifestyle by choosing to eat healthy and organic foods. You can see who is potentially gaining profit from selling the candy.

So, where do you buy your chocolate ?

 

Bibliography:

Badger, Emily. “Why Whole Foods Is Moving into One of the Poorest Neighborhoods in Chicago.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2014. Web. 10 May 2016.

Lfrey. “Whole Paycheck.” Urban Dictionary. 26 Apr. 2006. Web. 3 May 2016.

Maps, Google Maps. Web. 6 May 2016.

“Mike’s Candy Bar Page – Hershey Bar.” Mike’s Candy Bar Page – Hershey Bar. June 2012. Web. 01 May 2016.

Nixon, Cherie. “Why Does Dark Chocolate Taste So Nasty?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 3 May 2016.

“Whole Foods Market History.” Whole Foods Market. Web. 3 May 2016.
Wolke, Robert L. “Chocolate by The Numbers.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 9 June 2004. Web. 01 May 2016. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A24276-2004Jun8.html>.

 

 

The Over Sexualization of Chocolate Marketing

Sex sells. It is a phrase, a method, and/or  a motto that is used to advertise certain products. From cars, to Carl Jr.’s burgers, to chocolate, there is always a sex appeal to advertisements for their products. I can remember when I was little girl that I would usually see these advertisements between commercials of my favorite TV shows and/or in magazines. Since I was young, I was also naïve and not really aware of what was going on. I would mostly look at the chocolate rather than the actress in the advertisement. While watching Univision, a channel that’s in Spanish, with my mother advertising it but then my mom would say sometimes like “okay, that’s ridiculous”. The next time I would see the commercial,I would try to pay more attention the actress in the commercial.

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Figure 1.

 

In Figure 1, you see a woman relaxing on a white couch, planning to eat an entire box of chocolates alone and she looks like she’s taking immense pleasure of eating chocolate. In my opinion this picture looks silly. First of all, I would never eat chocolate on the couch that way. That just seems like you’re asking a chocolate accident to happen. But this picture does have context and is relatable from its original source. This picture came from an article by Mirror UK, stating the 10 reasons why chocolate is good for you.
They state, “ One theory why we love chocolate so much is that a brain-active chemical called phenylethylamine in cocoa allegedly stimulates the same reaction that we experience when we’re falling in love”.

The model in the photo does seem to be in love with her chocolate. Maybe that’s what the marketing team was going for when they were trying to find a picture to match this article.

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Figure 2.

 

In Figure 2, This is an ad for Godiva chocolate that was found in a magazine. This displays a beautiful woman laying down somewhere in a not so casual pose but emphasizing the piece of chocolate that is among her chest. Why is she not eating it? Godiva Chocolate is really good it shouldn’t just be on your chest is someone else going to eat it? Is that what they’re trying to sell? That there can be a lucky person looking at the magazine can find a beautiful woman with a piece of chocolate on her chest that they can eat from?

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Figure 3.

Figure 3 is a very different kind of advertisement compared to the others. A lot of what these advertisements show the slogan that sex sells. We are seeing  woman experiencing some sexual euphoria when she eats or is around chocolate. We don’t learn exactly where this chocolate came from, where it came to be,  and where was the Cacao from. There should be more marketing telling us more about the process of chocolate and its history. Figure 3 is an advertisement for Divine Chocolate. They have a more campaign ads similar to the one I selected  that represent more about chocolate where it came from and who’s producing it.

 

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Figure 4.

In figure 4, I chose to recreate an ad  to something simple, an image of what eating chocolate is really like without the ludicrous sex appeal. Chocolate can be a dessert or a snack that can be either consumed alone or with friends but I am not completely consumed by the thought of eating chocolate. I don’t eat chocolate alone and relish in immense pleasure from it. I eat while I’m doing my homework or writing papers or blog posts. Chocolate can take form in memories.  Some of my memories of eating chocolate is sharing it up the movie theaters with friends, or growing up with my mom making Abuelita hot chocolate from Nestle.New memories of chocolate include taking this chocolate class.

Figure 1. – http://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/10-reasons-why-chocolate-is-good-for-you-1369798

Figure 2. – http://www.coloribus.com/adsarchive/prints/godiva-dark-chocolate-6481905/

Figure 3. – http://www.vogue.co.uk/blogs/livia-firth/2011/01/18/livia-firth-divine-chocolate-competition

Figure 4. – Provided by me.

 

 

The Development of Chocolate as an Industrialized Food

Before the wonderful creation of the chocolate bar, cacao in Europe was mostly consumed in the form of drink. It wasn’t until inventors and innovators began to think outside the pod and wonder what else cacao can be transformed into. Cacao over the past 200 years has undergone a major transformation and has gone through quite a process to get from bean to bar to industrialization of the bar.

Around the time of 1828, the industrializing of chocolate began. The start of this industrialization actual began with Coenraad Johannes van Houten father, Casparus, inventing the hydraulic press. He used the invention to separate the cacao nibs, which results in cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Later on, van Houten added alkaline salt so that the powder would mix more easily with water. This is known as the Dutch process. The invention of the hydraulic press relieved people from the labor-intensive process of grinding cacao. It enabled the inexpensive processing of cacao and the mass production of chocolate. From that moment on, the history of cacao changed drastically.

In 1847, English chocolate maker J.S. Fry & Sons produced the first chocolate bar. The use of the hydraulic press led to so much flexibility with chocolate. The use of cocoa powder made creating chocolate drinks much easier, but also made it possible to combine chocolate with sugar and then mix in more cocoa butter to create a solid bar.

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Industrial machine for refining chocolate (J.S. Fry & Sons) via worldstandards.eu

As the years pass by, inventors and chemist and chocolatiers/makes were interested in way they can make chocolate better. It was common since the mid017th century that when chocolate was used as  a drink, adding milk would add flavor. By 1875, Daniel Peter from Switzerland invented milk chocolate by blending together powdered milk by Henri Nestle with the chocolate liquor.In 1879, the texture and taste of chocolate was further improved when Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching machine.The new machines that were developed made the process of making chocolate a lot faster. The machine also helped make chocolate smoother and creamier.

The process from bean to bar has not become a mechanized process. Although cacao pods are still being hand grown grown at farm, machines have made chocolate faster to produce and cheaper to buy. Farmers still tend, harvest, ferment, dry and pack the seeds by hand. Cacao farmers sell their product to chocolate-processing companies through traders at the “Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange”. Vendors include the highest producers of chocolate like Hershey, Nestle, and Cadbury.

Converting cacao seeds into chocolate has now evolved into a complex and mechanized process. A majority of factories have workers work on an assembly-line, a variety of cacao from different vendors around the world. At the factory the cacao blended, roasted, cracked, winnowed, ground, pressed, mixed, conched, refined and tempered into candy bars. A few icons of the early 1900s still survive today, like Hershey, Cadbury and Nestlé.

 

http://www.worldstandards.eu/chocolate%20-%20history.html

http://www.worldstandards.eu/images/refining%20chocolate.jpg

Goody, Jack. 2013[1982]. “Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine.” pp. 72-88

Brenner, Joel. 2000. The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars. chapters 5, 13 pp. 49-69, 179-194

Cacao: The Uses of Today and the Uses of the Past

This past weekend I was in New York City. There is so much to view; the tall buildings within the city, the amazing flashy lights from the teleprompters,and a lot of stores. There are two stores in Times Square that caught my interest and they were right across the street from each other. M&M World and the Hershey store. The last time I was in those stores was about eight years ago. I remember drooling over the enormous amount of chocolate available. Back then I didn’t know how chocolate was made of where it came from. Then 3 years later it became clear to me that all foods have a source and origin and I learned that chocolate came from the cacao tree, but alas my knowledge only went so far. Now, with my interest and participation in this course I am noticing things and remembering facts about chocolate.  
Now, as I walk in the stores as an adult, and having the knowledge I have, I am amazed by how much chocolate they sell. Then I think about the amount of work the farmers have to do, the process of how chocolate is taken from the pod, to bean, to nibs, to paste, to the current process for making M&M’s and Hershey’s. How it’s now ready to be purchased and there is a 5-pound bar of Hershey’s chocolate that looked very good. Thankfully a,axon provides an image of big the bad is in comparison.

  

When it comes to the idea of consumerism of chocolate or cacao, I feel like things may not be that different from now compared to the Olmec, Mayan, and the Aztec civilization. The obvious differences would be that chocolate consumerism alone brings profit of about $50 billion. There is also current controversy of slave trafficking and child labor to pick the cacao pods. What is similar is that we still like to consume chocolate, and chocolate is still a form of income. Just now it’s actual income like gold for money versus the currency of the cacao beans. 
According to archaeologists, the Olmec civilizations were the first to use cacao in the form of drink. One of the vessels that was found to acquire this information is also noted that it dates from pre-Olmec period which can be from 1750 BCE. The chocolate drink was used for rituals or medicinal drinks. The use of the cacao by the Mayans can traced by 400 BCE. The Mayans believed that the cacao was food for the gods and they thought that people in high society should be the only ones able to access to cacao beans and their products like the frothy drinks.
  

By the 1500s the cacao beans migrated their way to the Aztec civilization. Since the Aztec’s land could not produce chocolate they became huge importers for the cacao beans for their empire. This is how the cacao beans began to be used as currency. Those of high authority begin to charge the citizens of the Aztec civilization a tax which could be paid in the form of cacao beans. Soon other items such as turkey and avocados were given in exchange for a certain amount of to cacao beans. Some citizens of the Aztec civilization tried really hard to commit fraud by using counterfeit cocoa beans or rather they would take the empty shells from the beans and fill it with mud on the inside so they could stick together. 
The Olmecs, the Mayans, and the Aztecs each had their own uses for cacao beans and definitely changed the world when they began domesticating the trees as a food source. The Aztecs advanced themselves by creating a currency that they all used. From trade between the Mesoaericas to Europe, cacao has expanded globally and is no longer consider a luxury but can still be considered a delicacy. I know that M&M’s and Hershey’s don’t contain that much to cacao but they are still making profit from others. 
Sources

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1996.
Presilla, Maricel E. “The New Taste of Chocolate.” Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2009. 1-59. Print.

Multi-Media Sources 
Amazon.com. “5 pound Hershey Bar.” Hershey’s Inc. Image retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Hersheys-Milk-Chocolate-Candy-5-Pound/dp/B000IW68YC
https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mayan_people_and_chocolate.jpg#mw-jump-to-license