All posts by 2016e677

It is Only Fair That You Eat “Good” Chocolate

“The mission of Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO) is to connect producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower disadvantaged producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives.

    Consumers for all products are marketed to, effective marketing increases sales and if something sells it continues as a store product. Chocolate is no different however there are now many brands types of chocolate, there is milk or dark chocolate options, as well as conventional and organic/Fairtrade. I will explore and compare the two franchised grocery stores -Star Market and Whole Foods. Similarly, both shops sell chocolate, however, Star Market sells a majority of conventional chocolate while Whole foods sells more certified brands like organic, Fairtrade, rainforest alliance certified, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free and direct trade. The placement of chocolate on the shelves are similar with the two franchises, but the varieties of chocolate and the price points are different. This tends to attract different types of consumers. Star Market customers are not usually looking for premium products that are priced higher because of the triple bottom line (social, financial, and environmental) reasons, whereas, those who shop at Whole Foods tend to make purchases with social and environmental implications in mind. Conventional chocolate is not sold at Whole Foods but Star Market does sell some of the different certified brands in the health food section of their store. Below is an example of the sort of variety of chocolate products Star Market carries in their stores.

IMG_0541 (1)

    Star Market which has operated and grown since 1915 into a well-known New England supermarket brand today it is “a part of the company’s Shaw’s division, they operate 154 stores throughout New England, which is part of a 2,200+ store operation that employs approximately 265,000 people nationwide (Our Story). Whole Foods was founded in 1980 in Austin Texas and “when four local business people decided the natural foods industry was ready for a supermarket format…it was an immediate success. At the time, there were less than half a dozen natural food supermarkets in the United States” (Whole Foods). Below is an example of the variety of chocolate carried in Whole Foods Market.

Whole Foods Chocolate

(Best of 2013)

        Chocolate in many varieties seems to be offered almost everywhere in the North America. Most vendors not only grocery stores, shops like; hardware stores, gas stations, airports, restaurants magazine shops and convenience stores, gift shops, book stores, etc offer chocolate close to the cash register, this is not happenstance, it is a well-proven marketing ploy to market to last minute buyers and children. Enticing the customers as they stand in line waiting to ring through their purchases. It works with me, seldom do I pass up a last minute chocolate bar.

    When chocolate is offered on store shelves most consumers do not think about where their chocolate comes from, how it is made, what employment practices and transportation modes were involved,  in getting chocolate on the shelf. Most consumers simply consider what kind of chocolate they like; milk or dark, with or without fruits or nuts, and what brand they prefer (usually seeming from childhood brands). Grocery stores like Star Markets cater to this kind of consumer. Whole Foods, on the other hand, serves another type of customer base those who seem to understand and use their purchase power even if their chocolate costs more. When they buy chocolate they may be choosing to support Fairtrade. For instance, “a Fairtrade premium added to the purchase price is used by cooperatives for social and economic investments such as education, health services, processing equipment and loans to members” (Cocoa). Furthermore, purchasing Fairtrade chocolate supports and maintains these products on the store shelves. Of course taste and quality of chocolate are also factored in when responsible consumers use their purchasing choices. On the “Fairtrade International” website are the guidance documents on productivity and quality improvements designed as a support document for cocoa producer organizations. “It provides an explanation on what productivity and/or quality improvement is and what investments this may require, as well as additional information on the reporting of these investments. This document relates to section 4.3.7 and 4.3.8 of the Fairtrade Standard for Cocoa for Small Producer Organizations” (Cocoa).

    Star Market customers who enjoy conventional chocolate brands like Kit Kat, Hershey’s, Reeses, or Twix bars etc, cost less than Fairtrade but not by much. The graph below shows the price differentiation between conventional and Fairtrade.figure_40_full.jpg

(Rousu) 

    Fairtrade chocolate really isn’t much more expensive than conventional chocolate and it usually is better quality.  It depends on what kind of chocolate consumer prefer. For example, purchasing a Kit Kat bar is, in fact, cheaper than purchasing a gourmet exotically spiced dark chocolate bar, but purchasing a plain milk chocolate bar vs. a Fairtrade milk chocolate bar the price variation is not drastic approximately a $0.40 difference as the chart above displays.         

    Conventional chocolate consumers who to loyal conventional brands like Cadbury’s, Kit Kats (Nestle) will soon have the option to buy fair trade. Cadbury’s has recently made their milk chocolate bar that is Fairtrade as well as their hot chocolate mix. Likewise, Kit Kat (Nestle) in the UK offers a Fairtrade bar,  however, the American Kit Kat remains conventional chocolate. There must be money in Fairtrade if the larger chocolate manufactures like Cadburys and Nestle are offering this.  Hershey’s announced in April 2013 that “its next step toward 100% certified sustainable cocoa… (also) inclusion fair trade USA” (Rousu) Hershey’s now announced that by 2020 their plan is to source 100% fair trade and certified sustainable (Rousu). If all of the conventional chocolate makers made a Fairtrade version they most likely would see that sales would increase to the point that they could discontinue conventional chocolate altogether. Hopefully, this is a sign that conventional chocolate is on its way to being pushed out of the chocolate market. 

    Different studies and marketing results have shown consumers will pay slightly more for items with Fairtrade certification. Consumers want to and feel better buying products that are healthier for the consumer and the environment, as well as the workers and communities that provide them. If Fairtrade instead of conventional chocolate was strategically placed at the register for last minute consumers and children, the power of persuasion and the feel good factors of purchasing would work well together to increase sales. Star Market displays Fairtrade chocolate in the health food aisle.

    Something new happened in the chocolate world. A new chocolate bar appeared on the shelves of supermarkets across the UK “Named “Maya Gold,” it came with the endorsement of the Fairtrade Foundation, an organization established by Oxfam and other groups to ensure that Third World producers (in this case the Kekchi Maya of Belize) were given a better trading deal for their raw products.” “The Kekchi Maya shared in the profits of their (Maya Gold) chocolate bar.” Unfortunately, slave labor still exists today which also includes child slavery and exploitation like in many West African plantations (Coe pg 262-266). Child slavery continues to be a blight on the chocolate industry, “several million African children, many of them trafficked from neighbouring countries scubas Mali, work under terrible conditions throughout the year, suffering from powerful pastiches……cutting themselves with machetes that they must wield to open pods, and never in their short lives receiving medical treatment or seeing the inside of a school” (Coe pg 262-266). How could anyone enjoy a chocolate knowing children were exploited for their chocolate enjoyment.

    It is encouraging that large conventional chocolate manufacturers seem to be embracing Fairtrade options for their long-standing traditional products. While there is much to be accomplished in terms of improving the conditions of the workers especially human trafficked children and other appalling and shameful practices associated with the conventional chocolate industry. It seems only logical that Star Market and other grocery stores could apply pressure to conventional chocolate manufacturers by buying and selling only ethical and responsible chocolate products. It is apparent that if some of the companies are embracing this that there are financial returns or they would not be producing Fairtrade options. I for one will only be buying Fairtrade, every little bit counts. 

References:

“Best of 2013: High-End Chocolate Bar Selection – Orange Coast.” Orange Coast. Orange Coast Magazine, 08 July 2013. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.orangecoast.com/bestoforangecoast/best-of-2013-high-end-chocolate-bar-selection/&gt;.

“Cocoa.” Fairtrade International (FLO):. Fairtrade International, n.d. Web. 9 May 2016. <http://www.fairtrade.net/products/cocoa.html&gt;.

“Chocolate Class.” Chocolate Class. WordPress, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <https://chocolateclass.wordpress.com/&gt;.

Coe, Sophie D., Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate, 3rd ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2013. Print.Marcel, Presilla E. The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2009. 17 February 2016. Print.

Marcel, Presilla E. The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2009. 17 February 2016. Print.

“Our Story.” Starmarket Our Story Comments. Star Market, n.d. Web. 9 May 2016. <http://www.starmarket.com/our-company/traditions-history/&gt;.

Rousu, Mattew C., and Jay R. Corrigan. “CHOICES.” Home. AAEA, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=22&gt;.

“Whole Foods Market History.” Whole Foods Market. Whole Food Market, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. <http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/company-info/whole-foods-market-history&gt;.

Audrey Hepburn Sells Chocolate

    In the advertisement above a computer generated image (CGI) of Audrey Hepburn is used to sell Dove dark chocolate (Rohwedder). It is most likely aimed at the target demographic of women whom Audrey represents. The advertising company cleverly resurrects the adored late Audrey Hepburn. Her computerized look alike cleverly portrays Audrey’s iconic persona so convincingly that it almost feels like Audrey is and always will be with us. This association of Dove dark chocolate with Audrey the immortal legend who represents beauty, innocence, and sweetness refreshingly stands out amongst other ads which use sexualized imagery to sell chocolate products. The Dove chocolate advertisement emulates Audrey’s feminine and naive innocence, and the purity of 1950’s. Together these elements stand in stark contrast to the typical and predictable techniques to sell products with overt sexualization.

    The story line and narrative of the advertisement which is set in the idealized 50’s era, cleverly recreates the feel of the 1953 film “The Roman Holiday” starring Ms. Hepburn. The delightful visuals of a charming coastal Italian town, with hints of romance and the purity of an era of film long past, all work perfectly to set the tone. The computer generated Audrey Hepburn and her handsome lead man who closely resembles the iconic Cary Grant give a sense of a whimsical light-hearted unpredictability. The story starts with lovely Audrey sitting on a packed public bus which is stuck in a traffic. The mayhem is due to a collapsed fruit stand and it’s flamboyant owner. Audrey (or the CGI version of Audrey) looks longingly into her purse at her bar of Dove dark chocolate, then she glances out her bus window and meets the eyes of a handsome man in a car alongside the bus. When their eyes meet he gives Audrey an inviting wave gesturing her to his car. She smiles and without hesitation strolls out of the bus and playfully takes the bus drivers hat on her way to the handsome strangers car. She places the bus driver’s hat on the handsome man’s head, takes a seat in the back of his car- intimating and officiating him as her chauffeur. Looking slightly put out and yet besotted with her at the same time he drives away with Audrey in the back seat. The final scene is of Audrey with the handsome man driving on a winding coastal road as she snaps off a piece of Dove dark chocolate, placing it into her mouth framed by her perfectly scarlet glossed lips when the words “It’s not just dark. It’s Dove” appear against a perfect blue Italian sky. The advertisement refreshingly sells the chocolate by leaving the audience with the resonating feeling of romance, happiness, and beauty and lingering warm thoughts of chocolate. Moreover, the ad refreshingly empowers lovely and pure Audrey to sell their dark chocolate.

    Now that I have discussed the CGI version of adorable, innocent and flirty Audrey Hepburn as the star of the Dove chocolate commercial. For my advertisement, I created a montage of another side of Audrey. She remains the star of the ad, and similarly she is not sexualized in the ad in order to sell chocolate, but she does represents and evoke the opposite emotions of the romantic advertisement. The opposite of sweet, flirty, and happy go lucky is angry, sad, and unromantic and these emotions used correctly can also sell chocolate. In my advertisement, Audrey portrays women’s darker emotions and the audience is left with the resonating desire to consume dark chocolate. While both advertisements use the technique of using emotion to persuade, opposite emotions are employed in each ad. Audrey sells both while retaining her purity, innocence, and charm. Ultimately both advertisements sell chocolate, one to celebrate and relax and the other to comfort and calm, both appeal to the demographic of women.

    In the advertisement I produced the clips and scenes were drawn from a few Audrey Hepburn films to give the tumultuous and intense emotions of sadness, stress, and anxiety, which call require chocolate. Sometimes chocolate can be the only fix to receive comfort during these times. My advertisement implicitly delivers the message that if you need comfort, only a bar of dark chocolate will do. When I chose to use the more realistic, misunderstood, sad or angry, and even comical sections of Audrey’s films the technique of persuasion even worked on me. While editing my advertisement I had to eat dark chocolate. My persuasion technique was effective on me, who doesn’t turn to chocolate to comfort themselves. Find an escape in chocolate in good times and in bad like Audrey and every other woman.

“For the Brightest & Darkest of Times… Dark Chocolate”

References:

Grant, Eilidh L. “AUDREY HEPBURN SELLS DARK CHOCOLATE: Advertisement for Class.” Youtube. Eilidh Grant, 8 Apr. 2016. Web. 8 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ROK7JZSZyY&feature=youtu.be&gt;.

“”It’s DOVE:Feat. Audrey Hepburn” 2014 Commercial.” Youtube. Cinemagia Filmes, 15 Mar. 2014. Web. 6 Apr. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sB44n4ADg2Y&gt;.

Rohwedder, Kristie. “How Did They Make the Audrey Hepburn Dove Chocolate Commercial? Let’s Take a Look.” Bustle. Bustle, 28 Apr. 2014. Web. 06 Apr. 2016. <http://www.bustle.com/articles/22563-how-did-they-make-the-audrey-hepburn-dove-chocolate-commercial-lets-take-a-look&gt;.

The Journey of Chocolate

chocolate chip cookies.jpgBoxes of chocolates, chocolate bars, cakes, a hot cup of cocoa, brownies, chocolate mousse, chocolate chip cookies… who doesn’t indulge in chocolate in some form or another? I think it’s fair to say that the majority of people love chocolate. And why wouldn’t we? There have been hundreds of variations of chocolate for every occasion and for many chocolate taste bud preferences. Chocolate seems to be a part of our everyday lives and we have had a long historical relationship with it. The journey of chocolate becoming a commonly consumed food item to enjoy is not only interesting but it is continually developing. Consumption and innovation throughout history have kept chocolate in demand. Different eras have added new and delightful versions and forms of chocolate that we consume today.

When chocolate made it’s way to England in the 1650s it became popular with the royals and aristocrats, but it was only the elite that could afford the expensive Spanish import (Klein, Christopher). Most commonly the wealthy enjoyed chocolate drinks as a celebrated elixir with salubrious benefits (Klein, Christopher). “As the popularity of chocolate grew, so did the number of cocoa growing countries in the world” (Discovering Chocolate). When more cocoa beans became available to a wider population this greatly contributed to the popularization of chocolate, and so “the price of cocoa beans gradually began to fall as greater quantities came onto the market” (Discovering Chocolate). In addition, in 1853, a significant reduction of import duties were made with the Industrial Revolution making transporting the commodity more lucrative (Discovering Chocolate).

It wasn’t until Johannes Van Houten invented the hydraulic press in 1828 that chocolate-making revolutionized. The hydraulic press squeezes the cocoa butter from the cacao beans producing a dry cake that then gets pulverized into a fine powder, or as we know it, cocoa powder. During this progressive time in chocolate’s history, chocolate began to develop from its drinkable form into other forms that we are more familiar with. Johannes Van Houten’s innovation permitted cocoa to be mixed with other ingredients which enabled it to be used as a confectionary ingredient. This development also created a drop in production costs, making chocolate more affordable to the masses thereby increasing demand.

From Johannes Van Houten’s creation came many other developments in chocolate’s journey, like Joseph Fry’s manufacturing of the first chocolate bars for eating in 1847. Henri Nestle mastered the art of powdered milk, which in turn enabled Daniel Peter to create the first milk chocolate bar in 1867. Each of these innovations contributed to the next chocolate transformation, bringing more varitys and ways to consume it.

As chocolate became increasingly more popular chocolate producers were stretching it with fillers to satisfy the growing demand. A scandal in production required the British government to intervene with an enforceable act to stop the chocolate producers from using inappropriate fillers to produce their chocolate products more cheaply. The Food and Drugs Act was passed in 1860. Cadbury’s name in particularly was tarnished when they got caught cutting their products with brick dust, iron filings, and lichen. Unsurprisingly the consumers were not amused. Cadbury came back strong from the scandal by developing improved products with their new slogan “absolutely pure.” The scandal did not prevent chocolate’s journey to become one of the most commonly consumed sweets in the world.

The next major and significant invention in chocolate production was Rudolph Lindt’s conching process in 1897. The conch is a kneading machine which refines chocolate into small particle sizes and creates velvety texture to chocolate with a superior taste (Klein, Christopher).

Chocolate became a mass-produced food product with ever-increasing consumer demand. The chocolate boom in the late 1800s and early 1900s has yet to fade (Klein, Christopher). If anything, chocolate consumption continues to rise. The average American today consumes 12 lbs of chocolate a year, Swedish people consume a whopping 20 lbs a year, and $75 billion is spent annually on chocolate worldwide (Klein, Christopher).

Modern manufacturing of chocolate is very industrialized and commercialized. For example, the most popular chocolate product is M&Ms. M&Ms are a Mars company product that generates $417.7 million in sales annually (The Daily Meal). There are multiple factories that produce M&Ms in a large industrialized fashion, as seen in the following video:

 

Although M&Ms and similar chocolate products are items commonly consumed, home cooked chocolate treats have a special emotional “factor.” Chocolate consumption that is made at home will more than likely be something more similar to chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cakes, or brownies very different from the industrialized M&Ms. With homemade sweet treats there comes an added sense of comfort. In Nigella Lawson’s double chocolate chip cookies recipe seen below, we can only imagine the comfort and satisfaction one might get from bitting into the delicious looking cookies:

The way chocolate is being made is continually changing. We have been making chocolate in a heavily commercial and industrialized way since the mid-1800s. However, now consumers seem to prefer chocolate made a more historic way, which is smaller scale than industrialized production, the slower and more attentive process creates more refined and flavorful chocolate. Fair trade and other alike qualifications are also becoming increasingly important for consumers purchasing choices. As production methods continue to evolve and the innovation of new products enter the market for reasons of price, taste, and now growing ethics, the demand will also continue to increase. It is however the industrialization of chocolate that is perahps the most significant milestone in chocolate’s historic journey which enabled chocolate to reach the masses. Humanity’s most enjoyed and indulgent foods for centuries owes the industrialisation era of chocolate to become a widespread and accessible pleasure to all. Without it chocolate may have remained and indulgent food of the elite. 

References:

“Discovering Chocolate.” Cadbury. Cadbury, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2016. <https://www.cadbury.com.au/about-chocolate/discovering-chocolate.aspx&gt;.
Klein, Christopher. “The Sweet History of Chocolate.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 13 Feb. 1014. Web. 8 Mar. 2016. <http://www.history.com/news/hungry-history/the-sweet-history-of-chocolate&gt;.
“Nigella Lawson Chocolate Chip Cookies.” Youtube. Millionairsrbak, 16 Oct. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.
“#1 M&Ms from America’s 10 Favorite Chocolate Candies.” The Daily Meal. The Daily Meal, n.d. Web. 8 Mar. 2016. <http://www.thedailymeal.com/eat/america-s-10-favorite-chocolate-candies-0/slide-11&gt;.
“Watch How Mars Makes M&M’s.” YouTube. CNNMoney, 17 Jan. 2013. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.

Marcel, Presilla E. The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2009. 17 February 2016. Print.

Coe, Sophie D., Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate, 3rd ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2013. Print.

Pixle1. Chocolate Chip Cookies. 2015. N.p.

Is Columbus to Thank for Chocolate?

Many people believe that it was Christopher Columbus who discovered chocolate and brought it to Europe where it developed into the chocolate that we consume today. However, only a portion of this statement reflects reality.

The true story begins in Guanaja on the 15th of August, 1502 when a dugout canoe came to meet the Spanish Caravel ship in which Christopher Columbus was on. The Caravel expedition was a mission of exploration to find any lands south of the known islands in the Indies. On this journey to New Spain (todays Mexico) Christopher Columbus saw for the first time mysterious beans which he presumed were a type of almond. These “almonds” were in fact cacao beans. Columbus was entirely unaware that these beans were used to produce chocolate. He did however notice that the native Mayan people who brought the cacao beans onto the ship, were treating these “almonds” as if they were exceedingly precious. We know this information from Christopher Columbus’s son Ferdinand Columbus, who described their first encounter with cacao beans as follows,

For their provisions they had… many of those almonds which in New Spain are used for money. They seemed to hold these almonds at a great price; for when they were brought on board the ship together with their goods, I observed that when any of these almonds fell, they all stopped to pick it up, as if an eye had fallen. (Coe, pg. 109)

Christopher Columbus did gather some of the cacao beans and made his way back to Spain where he provided the information that these beans must be worth something based on how the natives were handling them. His cacao bean finding did not produce anything further in the chocolate and cacao historic European story. Thus we can gather that although Columbus did not discover chocolate, as some may mistakenly believe, it was his voyage to New Spain where  “Europeans first set eyes on the beans of the chocolate tree.” (Coe, pg. 107)Chocolate class image

It was not until the Spanish invaded New Spain around 1519 that the consumption of chocolate (particularly in drink form) was observed by the Europeans. And again the Europeans realized the importance of cacao beans to the native people, in addition to its an economic value. The Spanish Conquistador Don Hernán Cortés brought the cacao beans to Spain in 1528, and the custom of drinking chocolate caught on slowly. Chocolate began to be commonly consumed predominately by the elites and reached England by the 1650s. Chocolate was still prepared primarily as a beverage at this point.

As the consumption of chocolate became more common there began a new business in London, Coffee/Chocolate-Houses, and to this day we have something that closely resembles them- cafés. People would go to these Coffee/Chocolate-Houses and drink their warm drinks such as coffee, tea, and chocolate and talk about politics and other pressing issues of the times. These organizations became a fashionable meeting place.

Chocolate House

These Coffee/Chocolate-Houses were problematic for the government, as people would talk about matters such as democracy. Charles II considered these establishments “hotbeds of sedition” (Coe, pg. 167) and tried to suppress them, without success.

During these earlier times of European chocolate consumption, like tea and coffee, chocolate was considered to be medicinal. The belief was that the chocolate drink was most healthful based on the Galenic humoral scheme in Baroque Europe. This was a theory that the body contained four humors (fluids), each with different properties such as: blood-warm and moist, yellow bile- warm and dry, black bile-cold and dry, and phlegm-cold and moist. The belief of this time was that good health depended on the humors being in balance. Food also was considered to have properties that fell into the humoral scheme. It is interesting to note that chocolates property was believed to be cold and dry, when the drink itself was served as a hot liquid. The early European medicinal chocolate drink then evolved into a recreationally consumed item.

Thus we give thanks to the history of Spanish exploration expeditions, Don Hernán Cortés, the Galen theory, and the early Europeans that drank the chocolate drink, for if it were not for them we may never have know the delicious chocolate products that we know and love today.

References:

Library, Bodleian. 17th Century CoffeeHouse England. Digital image. Wikipedia. University of Oxford. 22 May 2008. Web. 18 February 2016.

Cadbury. “The Great Chocolate Discovery” Cadbury N.p. Web. 2016. https://www.cadbury.com.au/About-Chocolate/Discovering-Chocolate.aspx

Herring, Hubert. A History of Latin America From the Beginnings to the Present. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962. Print.

Madrazo, Raimundo. Hot Chocolate. Digital image. Wikipedia. 12 February 2007. Web. 17 February 2016.

Marcel, Presilla E. The New Taste of Chocolate, Revised. New York: Ten Speed Press, 2009. 17 February 2016. Print.

Coe, Sophie D., Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate, 3rd ed. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2013. Print.