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Altruism vs. Individual Gain – Effectiveness of Alternative Marketing Strategies for Chocolate

It’s finals period. I want chocolate, you want chocolate, everyone wants chocolate. But, it’s not as simple as it sounds – we are people of the 21st century, we have options. I’m not just going to go to the store and buy a bag of generic “Chocolate,” no, I’m going to weigh my options. Do I want the smooth milky taste of a Hershey’s bar, or do I want a euphoric crunchiness with each bite with a Crunch bar? But, there is more to this selection than just pure taste and texture. As the chocolate market grows increasingly competitive, marketing strategies have to evolve as well. Some chocolate companies try to market their products as worthy impulses, and others have taken the approach of appealing to your innate desire to help others, by advertising their chocolates as synonymous to charity.

At the end of the day, you’re not just buying chocolate – you’re buying happiness. Short-term, immediate happiness. Each chocolate company takes you to a magical world, where everything is good. So, what is this ultimate and magical “good?” That depends on which chocolate company you ask. Chocolate companies such as Hershey’s and Cadbury paint a more personal view of happiness, while other companies such as Endangered Species Chocolate and Taza promote a wider utopian view of worldwide harmony, where all people and animals live in harmony with mutual respect for each other. But the point of this blog post is not to discuss which view is more correct, but rather which one has more influence among consumers. Before beginning, I will make my bias clear: I love chocolate. The more sugar, the better. I primarily care about taste. I will demonstrate how my view is a commonly held one, and that the average consumer, or at least those willing to voice their opinions, do not prioritize environmental or social impacts. I will do so using these four mentioned companies as case studies, as a representative sample of the greater chocolate industry.

To begin, let us take a look at how these four companies promise to bring about happiness. Hershey’s explicitly states that its product is designed with the consumer’s happiness in mind. Its website features a promotional video, equating the word “Hershey’s” to simplicity, deliciousness, and happiness. Its website goes on further to describe how its founder, Milton Hershey, was someone who always had other people’s happiness in mind, “Milton Hershey believed that everyone should have the choice to be happy, and enjoy simple goodness,” (Hershey’s). It further goes on to suggest that consuming its product is the key to happiness, saying “Thanks to Milton’s vision, we remind ourselves everyday that we always have a choice about how we feel – and so do you. So why not say hello to happy?” The Hershey company paints its product as a euphoric snack, an item unlocking the door to carefree happiness, and this is further exemplified by their amusement park, the self-proclaimed “Sweetest Place On Earth.” Yes, its website does mention the Milton Hershey School for orphan boys, but this is not featured on its website nearly as predominantly as its promise of delivering happiness. Cadbury, too, promotes itself to the individual’s self-interest, equating its brand with “fun.” Its website’s homepage boldly features the promise of its chocolate being full of fun, and invites consumers to participate with the hashtag: #CADBURYWORLD. Cadbury also features an amusement park, which promises to “whisk you away on an adventurous journey,” with some of its attractions being described as “a magical journey full of surprises,” ultimately declaring that “It’s great fun – especially for kids,” (Cadbury). Both Cadbury and Hershey’s sell their products as opportunities to enjoy life more, via fun or happiness, and both promote a sense of a better life for the individual consumer.

Companies such as Taza and Endangered Species Chocolate, however, advertise themselves as an opportunity for their consumers to feel good about themselves, by participating in a cause improving the lives of others. Endangered Species Chocolate’s website features its “Promise” as the first link on the website, in which it promotes its giveback of 10% of net profits to its GiveBack partners. It also lists how it supports farmers (notably at a cost to itself), and shares links for the animal organizations it’s donating to, complete with cute animal photos encoded with relevant links. Further, even on its specific product information pages, it focuses just as much, if not more, on the animals associated with the product as the product itself, even if the connection between the chocolate and the specific animal is unclear. Its products feature pictures of sad-eyed animals that are pleading for your help, and even the brand’s name makes it clear that purchasing this product is not just about chocolate – it is about the difference you can make. Investing in Endangered Species Chocolate is more than just purchasing a snack, it is about saving the planet. Endangered Species Chocolate utilizes altruism to promise a fulfilling snacking experience, so that its consumers know their snack did so much more good in the world than just satisfy their hunger (or sweet-tooth). This type of “poverty porn” makes it easy for consumers to feel good about themselves, all you have to do is buy the ‘charity’ product, “and you’ve done a thing,” (Dortonne). Taza chocolate too promotes itself as a “pioneer in ethical cacao sourcing,” (Taza), claiming to have a deep concern for its laborers and the environment. Taza utilizes both altruism and personal investment to sell its products, with claims of both quality and sustainability.

Now that I’ve established how these companies attempt to advertise their chocolate, let’s take a look at how effective they are. To do so, we will look at how consumers view their products, by viewing customer comments of their products, and by interviewing self-proclaimed chocolatiers and chocoholics (note: I will change the names of the interviewees, for anonymity). To begin with, let us look at how these products are reviewed by consumers, by using Amazon comments as a sample of opinions. Hershey’s chocolate bars are given generally positive reviews. The user Natasha says that the products are great for sharing with your whole family; a nameless user commented that the products were loved by his girlfriend (and followed it with a winky face); and the user Western Trans even commented that the Hershey’s products are an “instant happy for my sister,” (Amazon, HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bars). Similarly, with Cadbury products, consumers focused on the taste and overall personal experiences. The user Andrew W. comments on how having Cadbury chocolate again was a nostalgic experience, which brought him back to loving the same product during his childhood (Amazon, Original Cadbury Creme Egg); user P. Breeds calls them luxurious treats that need to be hidden from his children (followed by a smiley face), (Amazon, Cadburys Chocolate Spread); and user Angilena even thanks Cadbury: “thanks for making our dreams of eating this again come true,” (Amazon, Cadbury Dairy Milk Egg ‘n’ Spoon with Oreo). The comments clearly center around the taste and the overall personal experiences resulting from the chocolates, exactly what Hershey’s and Cadbury’s advertisements promote. Their consumers comment on their products in the way they were marketed, indicating that the two companies’ marketing strategies are effective in influencing the way consumers interact with their products. Similarly, the reviews for Taza and Endangered Species Chocolate focus on the taste of the products. However, while Hershey’s and Cadbury promote these aspects of their products, Taza and Endangered Species Chocolate do not do so as prevalently. In Amazon’s top comments for Taza Wicked Dark Chocolate, there is not one single mention of their direct trade policies or their role as an ethical cacao sourcing pioneer; instead, comments focus on taste. Further, in Amazon’s top comments for Endangered Species Panther’s Dark Chocolate bar, only two comments even mention their charitable nature, and both only do so tangentially. User ZapNZs writes a comment entirely void of Endangered Species Chocolate’s good cause, but does refer to it as so in the last five words of his 18-word title (Amazon, Endangered Species Panther, Dark Chocolate). Similarly, Lizzy Throckmorton writes in a Facebook review that Endangered Species Chocolate is delicious, and then ends her comment with “The fact that a portion of the proceeds goes to a very worthy cause is just icing on the cake,” (Facebook, review of Endangered Species Chocolate). None of the comments focus on the charitable aspect of Endangered Species Chocolate, and at most mention it in passing, or humorously to justify consuming the product.

In an interview with Julia, a self-proclaimed chocolatier, I asked for her opinions on these brands. Regarding Hershey’s, Julia said, “My mom would only give it to me during special occasions, and those were always so much fun… Hershey’s reminds me of playing with my sister and mother!” Then, when I asked her about the Endangered Species Chocolate, she had not heard of the brand. After purchasing one for her, she said “What does the chocolate have to do with the animal? … It tastes fine, but if I really wanted to protect the animals, I’d donate all of the money [I spent on the chocolate bar] directly to their organizations, not just 10%.” In this interview, Julia followed the trend of focusing on taste and personal memories instead of the intended cause of Endangered Species Chocolate, and also had the reaction to Hershey’s intended from its advertisement plans. Similarly, in an interview with David, a self-proclaimed chocoholic, I asked the same questions. Growing up in England, he had fond memories of Cadbury products more so than Hershey’s: “Cadbury [chocolates] were simply delightful. My dad would bring some home when he came home from work, so it always reminds me of spending time with him.” When asked about Endangered Species Chocolate, he said “I think it’s a wonderful cause, I love how they’re supporting the animals!” Yet, upon asking him if he’d ever purchased an Endangered Species Chocolate product, he said “I never really considered buying it.”

Thus, it is clear that marketing chocolate as a charity instead of a source of personal enjoyment has not proven effective by these measures. However, it is important to ask if this is specific to chocolate, or just the nature of online commentary. To do this, I will compare chocolate Brand Aid products to Brand Aid products of a different type of product: footwear. Take the well-known example of TOMS shoes, a famous company whose main slogan of “one for one” refers to how it donates a pair of shoes to children in Africa for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased. TOMS will serve as a strong comparison point because it is also a company that promotes itself as a charitable investment, instead of just promoting its product on its own. To use this as an accurate comparison point, we have to assume that TOMS does have noble and undisputed intentions. Thus, we will have to omit the commentary provided by skeptics, as the legitimacy of TOMS’ charitable nature is not the subject of this blog post, and the skeptics would not find purchasing the product an act of charity. We are not analyzing the legitimacy of TOMS or other Brand Aid initiatives, which are undoubtedly controversial (Ponte), but instead, we shall analyze if TOMS is able to influence how its consumers view them. TOMS advertises itself as a charitable organization, so let us now see if its more vocal online consumers agree. On Amazon, user Jeffrey Wittig commented that he “love[s] the new shoes, and [is] happy to know that a child somewhere also got a pair,” (Amazon, TOMS Men’s Classic Canvas Slip-On). Most of the other comments fitting our criteria follow the same pattern, commending TOMS on its noble intentions. A study published in the Journal of Human Rights Practice researching TOMS’ effect found that TOMS has had much success in marketing itself in terms of philanthropy, and is widely known for it (Kingston). It is also important to note that this study argues that it has been vital for TOMS’ success that it lists its Giving Report annually. This leads me to conclude that while philanthropy has had a huge impact in promoting footwear brands, it has not had the same effect for chocolate. Thus, it is apparent that Endangered Species Chocolate and Taza are not as effective as TOMS has been in redirecting their consumers’ thoughts to their charitable intentions.

Chocolate is more than just collections of sugar and cacao; it is an investment towards future happiness. Different chocolate marketing approaches represent different ways of advertising, and thus emphasizing, happiness. Some chocolate companies promote a more individualized vision of personal sanctity, while others promote a more holistic and universal vision of harmony. It appears that this personal approach leaves a bigger impact on consumers than the charitable and altruistic one. That explains why, in Tubular Insight’s ranking of the top ten chocolate advertisement, none focus on charity or giving back of the chocolate products, but instead focus on taste, memories, and feelings of happiness (Tubular Insights). This is also made abundantly clear in pop-culture. Think of the renounced film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The movie depicts a chocolate utopia, benefitting the individuals lucky enough to win a Golden Ticket for themselves and a loved one, but almost no attention is given to the working conditions of the laborers, the Oompa Loompas (Burton). When their labor is mentioned, it focuses only on how they were removed from an awful country, not their current labor conditions. As the narrator in this video mentions, Willy Wonka downplays the severity of slavery. Instead, what’s much more heavily emphasized is how their chocolate will help enhance your happiness, letting you live “in a world of pure imagination” (Burton).

Chocolate has many different forms. As I sit here, writing this last paragraph, I’m currently eating 2 different types of chocolate. There is no one generic “chocolate,” nor is it as simple as a dichotomy – chocolate exists in many different shapes and tastes, and fulfill different purposes. It is no longer enough to just advertise chocolate by their tastes and textures, but now they must be marketed in the ways that they will improve your day. Different companies have different approaches, but not all approaches have equally meaningful impacts. Even when certain companies try to shift the focus onto philanthropic contributions, their chocolate is still viewed for what it is – chocolate, not acts of charity. The joy obtained from eating chocolate is a deeply personal phenomenon, and does not lend itself to holistic generosity as much as it does to immediate satisfaction and happiness. But I would be remiss if I did not add that in all the chocolate advertisements I have viewed I have never seen a fat pimply faced happy person eating a chocolate bar– but that will remain the subject of a further blog.


Works Cited:

Allen, Lawrence L. “Chocolate fortunes: The battle for the hearts, minds, and wallets of China’s consumers.” Thunderbird International Business Review 52.1 (2010): 13-20.

Cadbury. “Home.” Franchise. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

D’antonio, Michael. Hershey: Milton S. Hershey’s extraordinary life of wealth, empire, and utopian dreams. Simon and Schuster, 2007.

Eagle, Bob, and Tim Ambler. “The influence of advertising on the demand for chocolate confectionery.” International Journal of Advertising 21.4 (2002): 437-454.

Endangered Species Chocolate. “Home.” Franchise. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

Hershey’s. “Home.” Franchise. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

“Interview with David.” Personal interview. 28 Apr. 2017.

“Interview with Julia.” Personal interview. 30 Apr. 2017.

Iz1233. YouTube. YouTube, 07 July 2008. Web. 2 May 2017.

Kingston, Lindsey N., and Jeanette Guellil. “TOMS and the Citizen-Consumer: Assessing the Impacts of Socially-Minded Consumption.” Journal of Human Rights Practice (2016): huw004.

Margulies, Stan. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Hollywood: 1971. video.

Marshall, Carla. “Top 10 Most Shared Chocolate Ads Ever: Brands are Huge, Giant Losers.” Tubular Insights. N.p., 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 1 May 2017.

Nestle, Marion. Food politics: How the food industry influences nutrition and health. Vol. 3. Univ of California Press, 2013.

Ponte, Stefano, and Lisa Ann Richey. “Buying into development? Brand Aid forms of cause-related marketing.” Third World Quarterly 35.1 (2014): 65-87.

Satre, Lowell Joseph. Chocolate on trial: Slavery, politics, and the ethics of business. Ohio University Press, 2005.

Sylla, Ndongo. The fair trade scandal: Marketing poverty to benefit the rich. Ohio University Press, 2014.

Taza Chocolate. “Home.” Franchise. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 May 2017.

TOMS Shoes. YouTube. YouTube, 02 July 2012. Web. 1 May 2017.

Health vs. Profit – The Conflicting Responses by Scientists and Chocolate Companies to Advances in Scientific Understanding

Nutritionists and those in the food industry often find themselves with opposing opinions with regards to health and nutrition. It is often argued by chocolate companies that scientists do not have as strong of a grasp on the science of chocolate as they would lead you to believe (Nestle), and scientists argue that the food companies are too concerned with profits to care about the health of their consumers. Currently, nutritionists suggest limiting the consumption of candy and other high-in-sugar products. However, the scientific community’s stance on chocolate consumption has shifted with time – new advances in scientific understanding cause nutritionists to update their previous suggestions to better reflect the information available. Chocolate companies, in turn, are quick to point out how rapidly the nutritionists’ suggestions change, neglecting to mention how minute their updates may be. As the understanding of the nutritional effects of chocolate and sugar on humans has evolved, the scientific community has updated its suggestions on what individuals should be eating; however, chocolate companies have put much efforts into undermining the scientific advancements, both by attacking the credibility of scientific advancements, and by trying to persuade their customers that their products are healthier than they are.

To better understand the science of chocolate, it is important to discuss the perceived health benefits chocolate has had historically. Societies native to Mesoamerica, such as the Olmec and Mayan societies, consumed chocolate as early 1100BC (Squicciarini). The Aztec society thought cocoa pods were able to provide nourishment, fertility, and even an increased sex drive (Squicciarini). However, while “chocolate” in name, this chocolate is notably different than the chocolate we think of today. As the Mesoamerican chocolate migrated to Europe, chocolate began its human-induced evolution, as the Europeans added their own elements to chocolate, to fit their sweeter appetite, and extracted cocoa products (Squicciarini). Even still, this chocolate is not the chocolate we typically see in grocery stores. In the 17th century, European academics began considering chocolate as a remedy for certain illnesses. It is important to note here, however, that the illnesses of seventeenth century Europe were vastly different than those of modern day America. Twenty-first century health in America is characterized by obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses associated with overeating. However, in the seventeenth century, Europe often faced food shortages, and a much more common ailment was undernutrition (Lyons). Chocolate was considered a high-caloric food, and as such was able to fight malnutrition. Since the hallmark health characteristics of the seventeenth century are different than in today’s society, it seems rather silly to suggest that our chocolate could serve as a medicine in the same way. Moving into more modern times, chocolate has undergone even more changes. As our society built up a taste for sweetness, sugar was added in high amounts to chocolate, reducing its bitterness. Before 1914, hot chocolate drinks had nutritional value of high fat content and protein content, and were among the only hot drinks to have such properties (Squicciarini) Then, the Spanish started sweeting it with sugar cane, vanilla, and cinnamon, increasing its popularity drastically (Squicciarini). And even then, there were health concerns regarding chocolate. A characteristic ingredient of chocolate is theobromine, which is classified as a psychoactive alkaloid. This is the same class of molecules as nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine, and is often attributed to their addictive properties (Clarence-Smith). Let us take a look at both theobromine and caffeine.

Caffeine vs. Theobromine
Caffeine vs. Theobromine (Holsclaw)

Caffeine is a compound that is thought of as addicting (as well as vital for most college students). Its effect is greatly due to the fact that it greatly resembles the molecule cyclic adenine monophosphate (cAMP). cAMP helps expedite the process of delivering oxygen to the brain, and maintains blood pressure, both of which are important for remaining alert (i.e. feeling awake). The enzyme cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE) recognizes cAMP as its substrate, and will break the molecule down, resulting in the feeling of drowsiness. The enzyme cAMP-PDE has evolved to recognize the cAMP, a naturally-occurring molecule in our bodies (unlike caffeine), (Spoto). Since cAMP and caffeine resemble each other chemically, cAMP-PDE is not able to distinguish the two, and thus can spend its time breaking down caffeine instead of cAMP (Montoya). In other words, the part of our body that is responsible for making us tired (cAMP-PDE) has to waste its time breaking down the wrong molecule (caffeine), so our bodies can maintain higher levels of the molecule that helps maintain alertness (cAMP). This is actually how many psychoactive alkaloids work in terms of alertness (Horrigan). When the similarities between caffeine and theobromine were first discovered, many nutritionists compared chocolate to cocaine, and suggested minimizing its use (Wilson). Despite its similar structure, however, theobromine is unable to perform this same function. Theobromine and caffeine do look very similar to humans, and have somewhat similar reactivities, yet are not the same molecule, (Beckett). cAMP-PDE is not able to recognize theobromine, in part because it is a smaller molecule, and unable to fit into the enzyme as well as caffeine, or its natural substrate cAMP, (Spoto). The addictive properties of chocolate have previously been placed on theobromine’s classification as a psychoactive alkaloid, but this is not able to cause the explained effect.

Instead, the reason chocolate can seem so addicting lies in a different class of molecules, called saccharides, more commonly referred to as sugar. Americans are commonly said to be addicted to sugar, and add excessive amounts of sugar to everything. Sugar is commonly being added to more and more foods, and those foods are increasing in their sugar content over time (Hyde). Our chocolate products’ sugar content is increasing (Hegelman), and our modern-day scientists and nutritionists are alarmed (Nestle). Scientific studies have consistently warned us of the dangers of excessive sugar (diabetes, obesity, etc.), and as new research is performed, the results are increasingly worrying (Squicciarini). However, chocolate companies put an interesting spin on this – they claim that the new results in the scientific research must contradict each other, and as such are unreliable (Nestle). They also point out that different studies measure health through different techniques, and since it isn’t uniform, it must be open to interpretation. It is a quite brilliant strategy actually, to claim that the data presented by the scientific community, the data which scientists themselves admit to updating, is too inconsistent to be worth reducing chocolate consumption. These chocolate companies rely on the consumers to not fully understand the research, and agree with their argument that the scientific figures change with each update, instead of realizing that each update creates further evidence for limiting our chocolate intake. They are thus able to present themselves as more easily understood, and no less credible. This allows these companies within the chocolate industry to claim that no foods are inherently “bad,” and that dieting and nutritional advice is too variable by the individual to be applied so broadly. This continues the theme of scientific advancement reshaping the nutritional food pyramid into the future, as the chocolate companies are attempting to immobilize our consumption patterns, in direct opposition of nutritionists creating a change over time in our consumption patterns to help keep us more nourished.

However, this is not to say that chocolate companies are totally void of arguments involving science. Many chocolate companies use science in their advertisements to attempt to trick the consumer by using scientific and nutrition buzz-words that actually have very little meaning. First, to discuss this point, it is necessary to distinguish between two terms: chocolate and confectionery. Chocolate companies advertise themselves as chocolate companies, but focus most of their attention on chocolate confectionery. Chocolate is defined as “A preparation of the seeds of cacao, roasted, husked, and ground, often sweetened and flavored, as with sugar and vanilla,” (Martin), while confectionery refers to sweet foods, often sweetened with sugar. A more representative title of companies such as Hershey’s and Mars would be “confectionery companies,” rather than chocolate companies. This distinction is important because there are health benefits associated with chocolate that are not associated with confectionery. For example, chocolates have high polyphenol and methylxanthine contents (Ackar), both of which are antioxidants, and associated with antiviral, antiallergenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, among other beneficial characteristics (Manach). This is something which chocolate companies love to advertise, but is less significant than they claim (Squicciarini). By using chocolate in their confectionery products, these companies are accurate in claiming their product has these properties. However, when discussing this feature in chocolate in their advertisements, they fail to establish that the “chocolate bar” they are selling is not entirely chocolate, but instead has a certain (and often small) amount of chocolate in it. Looking at this Hershey’s advertisement shows how they use this sneaky tactic in promoting their brand.

Hershey's Dark Chocolate Kiss Advertisement
Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kiss Advertisement (Hershey’s)

Here, Hershey’s states “antioxidants in the chocolate reduce free radicals in your body and keep your skin looking younger longer.” While this information is not false, it is presented in a misconstruing way. The advertisement makes it seem as if their Hershey’s Kiss has a particularly high content of these antioxidants, and discusses their existence rather than their concentration or effectiveness. This is not an isolated incident within the food industry, many other advertising campaigns utilize similar scientific inexactitudes. Many products are advertised as “reduced sugar,” “whole grain first ingredient,” etc. Each of these phrases are buzz-words that seem to imply either an added degree of nutrition, or a lesser degree of unhealthy ingredients. And while these statements are technically truthful, these facts are rarely as relevant as they would appear. For example, when a chocolate company claims that its product has reduced its sugar content, that often means that the products’ sugar has been replaced with a sugar-like ingredient. Let us take the example of Heinz’ Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup. While their ingredients list does not list “sugar” anywhere, it instead includes the ingredient sucralose, a sugar derivative (Schober). It even specifies that sucralose is not an ingredient that they regularly include. Sucralose is an artificial sugar whose safety is still disputed within the scientific community: it has been shown to increase the pH level in the intestines (Abou-Donia), and increase body weight, levels of P-glycoprotein, and risk of leukemia (CSPI), and even DNA damage (Sasaki) in rats. And while some of these scientific studies have been contested, they are often done so by those invested in the products. For example, Trevor Butterworth claims, in vague terms, that these studies are inaccurate, and that it is important to “scrutinize the data,” (Butterworth). However, Butterworth has a history of attacking scientific research in the world of nutrition, and is known to have connections with GMO companies, who produce the products he defends (Malkan).

Annotated Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup
Heinz’ Annotated Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup (Coach Calorie)
Annotated Ingredients of Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup
Heinz’ Annotated Ingredients of Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup (Coach Calorie)





And this brings us back to the chocolate companies. They use scientific wording (inaccurately, mostly) when it suits them, and then attack (with vague wording and emotional claims) any science that opposes their views. This is not a tactic unique to the chocolate industry, but in fact was perfected by the tobacco industry beforehand. Marion Nestle examines the sales strategies within the tobacco industry in her book Food Politics. She states that “Cigarettes use science to sow confusion about the harm that cigarettes can cause,” (Nestle), in addition to techniques of targeting children, the impoverished, and expanding their market globally. This parallels how the chocolate industry, and the greater food industry, market their products. Just as tobacco targeted children in their advertisements, chocolate and fast-food companies do the same, through television advertisements, product placement in media, internet advertisements, and even within their schools (Story). And just as tobacco companies expanded their markets internationally, the chocolate industries are competing for China’s chocolate market (Martin) Just as the tobacco companies had great success, chocolate companies are seeing similar results (Story). As children are making more demands on their parents for chocolate confectionery products they see on television, their parents’ relent with the result that children are consuming much higher levels of sugar (Story) Nestle does discuss how to prevent this, by citing the largely successful anti-smoking campaigns. She discusses the four pillars of the anti smoking campaigns: the firm research base that smoking does cause cancer, the clear message telling consumers not to smoke, the clear strategy for intervention focusing on smokers and nonsmokers alike, and strategies that do more than just address education, but address cultural measures as well (such as taxing cigarettes and preventing them in restaurants). She puts forth a proposal on how to do the same for the fast food and confectionery companies which mirrors the anti-smoking campaign. However, attempts to reduce the appeal of high-caloric food advertising has been met with opposition – the FTC was restricted in their ability to censor TV advertisements in backlash to their proposal to prevent inaccurate claims by food companies directed at children (Story).

The scientific understanding of both chocolate and sugar has grown considerably since the introduction of chocolate in Mesoamerica, yet this science is often overlooked. The companies who stand to profit off of the sales of chocolate confectionery attempt to discredit any science that would hinder their sales, while advertising their own products through the use of overly-simplified, and thus irrelevant scientific oversimplifications. Chocolate is not inherently a toxin to be avoided at all costs (assuming you aren’t a dog), but chocolate confectionery is much more processed sugars than the original cocoa it derives from and is named after. The pursuit of scientific advancement, and of scientific inquiry on the individual level is vital to avoid falling victim to false claims, such that every chocoholic can know exactly what he or she is ingesting.


Works Cited:

Ackar, Djurdjica, et al. “Cocoa polyphenols: can we consider cocoa and chocolate as potential functional food?.” Journal of chemistry 2013 (2013).

Abou-Donia, Mohamed B., et al. “Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats.” Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A 71.21 (2008): 1415-1429.

Beckett, Sheilah. The science of chocolate. Vol. 22. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2000.

Browning, Lynnley. “New Salvo in Splenda Skirmish.” The New York Times: Business Day. N.p., 22 Sept. 2008. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Butterworth, Trevor. “Controversial Italian Scientist Says Splenda Causes Cancer.” Forbes. N.p., 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Clarence-Smith, William Gervase. Cocoa and chocolate, 1765-1914. Routledge, 2003.

CSPI. “CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Caution” to “Avoid” – New Animal Study Indicates Cancer Risk.” Center for Science in the Public Interest. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.

CSPI. “CSPI Downgrades Sucralose from “Safe” to “Caution” – Group Cites Need to Evaluate Forthcoming Italian Study Linking Artificial Sweetener to Leukemia in Mice.” Center for Science in the Public Interest. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2017.

Hegelman, Carl. “How the Snickers Bar Changed Over Time.” Web log post. The Billfold. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.

Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Kiss Advertisement. Digital image. Hershey’s. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Heinz’ Annotated Ingredients of Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup. Digital image. Coach Calorie. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Heinz’ Annotated Reduced Sugar Tomato Ketchup. Digital image. Coach Calorie. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Holsclaw, Cindy. Caffeine vs. Theobromine. Digital image. Bead Origami. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017. <;.

Horrigan, Louise A., John P. Kelly, and Thomas J. Connor. “Immunomodulatory effects of caffeine: friend or foe?.” Pharmacology & therapeutics 111.3 (2006): 877-892.

Hyde, Dan. “Does your breakfast cereal contain more sugar than before?” The Telegraph. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Lyons, Albert S. “Medical History — The Seventeenth Century.” HealthGuidance for Better Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Malkan, Stacy. “Trevor Butterworth Spins Science for Industry.” Web log post. U.S. Right to Know. N.p., 12 Dec. 2016. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

Manach, Claudine, et al. “Polyphenols: food sources and bioavailability.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.5 (2004): 727-747.

Martin, Carla D. “Lecture 1: Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food.” Harvard, Cambridge, MA. 1 Feb. 2017. Lecture.

Martin, Carla D. “Lecture 6: The rise of big chocolate and the race for the global market.” Harvard, Cambridge, MA. 8 Mar. 2017. Lecture.

Montoya, Gina A., et al. “Modulation of 3′, 5′-cyclic AMP homeostasis in human platelets by coffee and individual coffee constituents.” British Journal of Nutrition 112.09 (2014): 1427-1437.

Nestle, Marion, and Michael Pollan. Food politics: how the food industry influences nutrition and health. Berkeley, CA: U of California Press, 2013. Print.

Sasaki, Yu F., et al. “The comet assay with 8 mouse organs: results with 39 currently used food additives.” Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis 519.1 (2002): 103-119.

Spoto, G., et al. “Caffeine, theophylline and bamifylline are similar as competitive inhibitors of 3′, 5′-cyclic amp phosphodiesterase in vitro.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF IMMUNOPATHOLOGY AND PHARMACOLOGY 10.2 (1997): 153-158.

Schober, Tony. “10 Ways Food Advertising Tricks are Misleading You.” Web log post. Coach Calorie. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Mar. 2017.

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Squicciarini, Mara P., and Johan F. M. Swinnen. The economics of chocolate. Oxford: Oxford U Press, 2016. Print.

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