Tag Archives: traditions

Appealing to the Chinese Palate: The Struggle of Chocolate Companies in the Emerging Chinese Market

Chinese Traditions:

I grew up in a very traditional Chinese household, where my mother and father took care in buying foods from Chinese markets back in my small suburban Midwest hometown.  The dishes I had growing up were the same dishes that my mom and dad grew up eating in China, nutritionally balanced both in terms of the U.S. government’s MyPlate standards and the Yin-Yang balance that is rooted deep in Chinese culture and tradition.  However, chocolate was never an element of these meals.  That is not to say that I’ve never had chocolate before (whether it be in the sense of chocolates handed out at school during a Valentine’s Day event or the occasional chocolate gift from friends); nevertheless, our family has never had the habit of buying chocolate.  Our family’s traditions give a peek at how China’s isolationist culture has created a barrier to cacao-chocolate industries due to both traditional food tastes as well as an ethnocentric pride against foreign products.  These long-standing traditions that tie back thousands of years into China’s past provide insight into how some of the Big Five Companies— specifically Ferrero Rocher, Cadbury, and Nestle—struggled to market chocolate to a Chinese populace with virtually no exposure to the sweet treat.

A few years ago, I travelled back to China with my father and lived in Hangzhou, Zhejiang for two months.  During this time, I was able to understand a lot of the atmosphere and culture surrounding one of China’s most popular cities.  One of my biggest understandings in terms of food culture in Hangzhou was a very significant bias towards salty and umami foods.  The supermarket shelves were lined with a large assortment of salty snacks; fish tofu snacks decorate the central aisle and classic sweet potato chips stand beckoningly one the cashier shelves.  In the middle of the supermarket, small vendor-like counters offer mountains of steamed buns filled with a variety of meats, curries, and vegetable mixed filling.  Every direction one looks gives sign after sign of foods that satisfy salty and umami tastes.  On the other hand, a stark contrast between American and Chinese supermarkets is the distinct lack of assorted chocolate bars and snacks that are seen lining the cashier counters of stores in the U.S.; instead, these chocolate products are replaced by more traditional Chinese snacks such as bags of salted or seasoned sunflower seeds, an essential welcoming snack that is almost always offered to guests of the house in addition to fruit.  This lack of presence in chocolate in China again ties into China’s traditional tastes.  Because of the distinct food tastes among China’s population, chocolate has a hard time of showing up on supermarket shelves. 

This struggle of incorporating chocolate into Chinese markets began in the 1980s and 1990s, when the Big Five companies all tried their hand at assimilating China’s near one billion population into the chocolate-loving consumerism, with each company bringing its own strategy and experience into China’s budding and diversifying market (Allen 15).  Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing these companies was trying to make chocolate desirable.  From the beginning of China’s history, China has mostly isolated itself from the rest of the world.  It wasn’t until the late 1900s when China marked the beginning of its transition from communism to market socialism (Allen 14).   This transition came with consequences, as not all of China’s one billion citizens could catch up to the upcoming sweep of technological and social changes over the next few decades.  In fact, less than 50 million people are living in the twenty-first century, while the rest of China’s population are in living conditions alike to that of the twentieth century or even from the late 19th century.  This disconnect of most of China’s population to changes from modern day society probably was the main cause in the struggle that surrounded big cacao-chocolate companies.  When chocolate first arrived in China in the 1980s, the isolated people of China perceived chocolate as a foreign good, something that they’d never interacted with in the past (Allen 11).  Many families in China struggle to feed their families even today, so people prioritize more well-rounded nutrition over the luxurious delicacy that is chocolate.  Knowing this, the Big Five chocolate companies all set foot into China’s emerging global market with the same amount of inexperience with Chinese consumers, all trying their hand at winning over one billion Chinese mouths whose tongues had never touched chocolate in any shape or form.

Ferrero Rocher:

With its delicately wrapped chocolates in a golden-colored box, Ferrero Rocher was a brand that portrayed the good life.  Despite the company being relatively new to the global confectionery scene (introduced in 1982 in comparison to 1907 for Hershey and 1923 for Mars), Ferrero Rocher has been the most successful in establishing a large presence in the global market, and it became one of the first companies to enter China and depict the ideal image of chocolate in the minds of Chinese consumers (Allen 42-43).  Ferrero’s success in marketing chocolate to Chinese consumers originated from its intensely aggressive strategy of portraying its chocolate as the perfect gift.  One of the integral parts of Chinese social etiquette is the concept of giving gifts.  Regardless if the occasion is a wedding, a means to say thank you, or even just welcoming visiting guests into one’s home, gifts are deemed as a necessary and polite gesture towards each other.  It’s not uncommon to see families offer baskets of fruit or home-cooked dishes as gifts to strengthen social connections and express good tidings.  Ferrero Rocher saw this is a prime opportunity to take advantage of, targeting major festivals such as the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chinese New Year (Allen 62).  The company mass produced its finely wrapped chocolates just before these holidays and placed them on shelves in popular shopping districts.  The look of Ferrero Rocher’s chocolate satisfied the criteria that Chinese citizens look for in a gift: its lucky round shape and golden color combined with its status as a high-quality brand with fancy packaging strike a luxurious image in consumers’ hearts (Hermesauto).  Ferrero Rocher’s mission was to ensure the quality of its chocolate, giving Chinese consumers something that they could enjoy by guaranteeing its high quality and elevating it to a social status worthy of gift giving.

Cadbury:

Cadbury followed a similar initial path of chocolate distribution to Ferrero Rocher, but later the company took a new direction.  Cadbury believed that the key to achieving success with chocolate in China would be to build infrastructure to mass produce chocolate within China itself.  And so, in 1993, Cadbury established the first chocolate producing factory in the suburbs of Beijing (Coe & Coe 173).  This marketing move came with drawbacks; Cadbury took many gambles on the ingredients it used, including using China’s fresh milk production system for its milk chocolate instead of the safer, albeit lesser quality powdered milk (Allen 75-76).  Cadbury and Ferrero Rocher both show a willingness to adapt to the customs and traditions of the foreign land that they were trying to sell their chocolate to.  In Ferrero’s case, it was adapting to the culture of gift-giving, while Cadbury took a stand at using China’s natural ingredients.  On the other hand, Cadbury’s mission was different from Ferrero Rocher’s; instead of marketing their chocolate as a high-end luxury product that acted as a superior gift, Cadbury intended to make their chocolate a form of self-conception, to win over the pockets of Chinese consumers on the daily.  However, the previously established image of chocolate as a luxury good would prove a painful stake in trying to incorporate chocolate into Chinese customers’ daily consumption (Zhou).  Furthermore, the production of chocolate on mainland China came with many high costs: the risk that Cadbury took with using fresh milk from Chinese farm of questionable quality resulted in a cheesy smell and taste in their milk chocolate, a result of pasteurized milk.  As a result, Cadbury’s reputation sank to a low point, and the company would continue to struggle in regaining the hearts of Chinese consumers.  Another problem with Cadbury’s production came with its portioning; Chinese consumers favored food products that came in smaller portions, as that would present a smaller investment risk when purchasing the product for the first time (Allen 81).  These problems would haunt Cadbury up to this day as it still has been unable to place a strong, cohesive foot onto the chocolate market in China.

Nestlé:

Today, Nestlé’s brand is “Good Food, Good Life” (Nestle.com).  This message embodied Nestlé’s results and efforts in the global market.  Out of the Big Five companies, Nestlé is unique in its diverse line of products that offer not only rich chocolates but also included other offerings that would improve the health and nutrition of its consumers.  Nestlé’s products earned the company a reputation for healthy products that would flood Chinese pantries and incorporate itself into the lives of millions of Chinese citizens, a feat that the other four big companies continue to struggle to achieve (Allen 145).  This emphasis on health and nutrition ties in closely with Chinese traditions for maintaining health.  One of the challenging aspects of selling chocolate in China is the product’s innate nature as a sugary food.  These simple carbohydrates are often stigmatized by news and entertainment as a source of unhealthy calories, depicting chocolate as an indulgence rather than a staple food.  On the other hand, branding is an essential part of China’s consumer culture; as Jason Cieslak from Forbes Councils notes, a brand is “a purpose that attracts and unites employees who bring the product and customer experience to life; a purpose that connects different market segments and product offerings into a broader story and an emotional connection to customers who see a brand as an extension of their own value system” (Cieslak).  In other words, building up the brand of a company is important to establish a positive reputation with the consumer audience, thus leading to trust and connection between the brand and the consumer.  Nestlé built its brand first through non-chocolate products such as developing milk hydrating and processing technology, which ultimately improved the health and nutrition of Chinese citizens (Allen 147-148).  With this trust in place, Nestlé began exporting its chocolate, Kit-Kat, into Hong Kong, in the same way Cadbury and Ferrero Rocher began their chocolate expansion into China.  Nestlé also ran into a similar problem as Cadbury in terms of the portioning of its chocolate.  However, Nestlé decided that Kit-Kat’s seventy percent chocolate to thirty percent wafer composition possessed the light chocolate taste that would appeal to Chinese consumers, which preferred smaller proportions in food.  This proved successful for Nestlé, and Kit-Kat became the most popular of Nestlé’s chocolates in China’s global confectionary market (Allen 150).

These three of the Big Five companies—Ferrero Rocher, Cadbury, and Nestlé—all had to adapt to the traditions and cultural habits of Chinese consumers.  Ferrero Rocher conformed chocolate into a symbol of gift-giving.  Cadbury utilized domestic practices and incorporated local fresh ingredients for their domestic chocolate production in China.  And finally, Nestlé built its brand as a nutritious, healthy choice and formed a trustworthy partnership with Chinese consumers that gave its chocolate bar a solid reputation.  Overall, all the cacao/chocolate companies that try to capitalize on China’s emerging market face the same problems of adjusting to the vastly different customs of Chinese customers by understanding the needs and wants of people that have virtually never laid eyes on a bar of chocolate.

References:

Allen, Lawrence. “Chocolate Fortunes: The Battle for the Hearts, Minds, and Wallets of China’s Consumers.” Thunderbird International Business Review, vol. 52, no. 1, 2010, pp. 13–20.

Cieslak, Jason. “Why Brand Building Is China’s Key To The Future.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 30 Aug. 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/08/30/why-brand-building-is-chinas-key-to-the-future/#da9ac9266e44.

Coe, Sophie D. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd ed., Thames & Hudson, 2013.

Hermesauto. “Chocolate Is Big Business in China.” The Straits Times, 15 Feb. 2019, www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/food/chocolate-is-big-business-in-china.

Zhou, Hongcheng. “Why the Chinese Are Still Not Sweet on Chocolate.” Sixth Tone, 16 Mar. 2017, http://www.sixthtone.com/news/2061/why-the-chinese-are-still-not-sweet-on-chocolate.

Multimedia Sources:

“10 Asian Snacks You’ve Been Missing Out On.” Spoon University, 27 June 2017, spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/the-10-best-asian-snacks-you-have-been-missing-out-on.

“Cadbury Dairy Milk.” Cadbury, http://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/cadbury-dairy-milk-11327.

Ferrero Chocolate Boxed Chocolates. http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/ferrero-rocher-boxed-chocolates/6000189677536.

“KitKat Lose Trademark Appeal for Its Shape.” Trademark Lawyer Magazine, trademarklawyermagazine.com/kitkat-lose-trademark-appeal-shape/.

Nestle.com, http://www.nestle.com/.

From Cultural to Commercial: Cocoa’s Geopolitical Transformation

Molded by years of exposure to masterfully crafted marketing campaigns, average consumer knowledge of cacao [or cocoa] is limited to its function as an ingredient and source from which their beloved chocolate is derived. There is much more to the birth, rise, and spread of Theobroma cacao.

The following seeks to explain how a culturally significant crop among early civilizations dating back to 1500 BCE (Coe and Coe, 2013) transformed from a highly treasured ingredient and social currency cultivated within a fairly limited zone to a globally produced and traded commodity: a highly reformulated, mass-produced, and readily available confectionery product.

This journey traces cacao back to its genetic and cultural beginnings where it was religious and cultural fixture among early civilizations; how exploration and migration played into the geographical expansion of its cultivation and rise in popularity as a food; role in accelerating industrialization; and transformation from a social currency and treasured ingredient to a heavily traded commodity and mass manufactured consumer product.

Genetic and Cultural Beginnings

From births and burials, recipes and rituals, cacao’s cultural origins are linked to Mesoamerica (present day Mexico through Central America), where its social and religious significance among the Olmec dates back to 1500 to 400 BCE (Coe and Coe, 2013). The rise of Maya and Aztec civilizations gave way for cacao’s evolution utility and proliferation as a consumable.

Cacao’s Role in Society and Religion

Evidenced by archeologic discoveries, translated texts, and scientific testing, several vessels and writings have been unearthed, clarifying and validating cacao’s significance, religious ties, and early application as a currency.

Mayan and Aztec civilization associated cacao with the gods. As such, they were believed to enrich and afford protections during and after life, playing a central role in offerings and rituals (Coe and Coe, 2013).

Ceramic vessels similar to those pictured here which date back to 455 to 465 CE were found in burial tombs at Río Azul (Martin, 2019). Further testing confirmed positive traces of caffeine and theobromine—two of cacao’s alkaloid signatures (Martin, 2019).

Dating back to 455 to 465 CE, “funerary vessels” similar to those pictured here were discovered in tombs at Río Azul. As testing revealed traces of caffeine and theobromine, two of cacao’s signature alkaloids, this further supported evidence of cacao’s religious significance (Martin, 2019).

As a food or drink, cacao took many forms. Popular among the Maya and Aztec, “cacahuatl” was a frothy preparation often transferred from one vessel to another and served cold (Coe and Coe, 2013).

Described by Coe and Coe in The True History of Chocolate and drawn by Diane Griffiths Peck, this illustration provides a glimpse into one of many Maya and Aztec cacao preparation and serving methods.
Of the 15 discovered, translated, and still intact, the Dresden Codex contains the aforementioned Mayan hieroglyphic depiction of cacao being consumed by gods and used in rituals (Martin, 2019). Other major works include the Popol Vuh or “Book of Counsel” is a colonial document later translated by Friar Francisco Ximénez that reveals the importance of cacao among early civilizations.

Exploration and Migration: Changes in Cultivation and Consumption

By definition, explorers were bound to make new discoveries and learn from their experience. Capturing the innocent confusion and eye-opening experience (only to be realized years later), the following briefly details just how one explorer mistakenly thought that cacao beans were almonds.”

Mistaken for Almonds: When recounting observations from his 1502 landing at Guanaja, one of many landmasses that make up the Bay Islands archipelago, Ferdinand Columbus, one of Christopher Columbus’ sons wrote about cherished “almonds” that traded hands similarly to how currency would pass between customers and merchants (Coe and Coe, 2013). It was not until years later after multiple interpretations and sources concluded that what he presumed to be almonds were in fact cacao beans.

As it came to be more widely known, not far from where Ferdidnad landed, throughout the Rio Ceniza Valley (present day coast of El Salvador), cacao was an increasingly popular form of currency being produced and traded in record volume—something . In time, this led to further learnings about the “Nahua counting system” and subsequent adoption of cacao as payment for “protection” by Spanish conquistadors.

Generally relegated to tropical climates falling 10-15 degrees north and south of equator, is was inevitable that cacao would make its way around the world. So as people moved, and culture spread, so too did the cacao, as a crop, currency, and curiosity, ultimately leading to its introduction to new geographies, and paving the way for new industries and traditions around the world (Martin, 2019).

New Formulations and Complementary Ingredients

As ingredients such as vanilla, chili, and many others traveled around the world, pairings and formulations rapidly evolved. Marking a major development and informing direction for the confectionery side as we know it today, sugar was introduced to Europe around 1100 CE and chocolate followed shortly thereafter in 1500 CE (Martin, 2019).

Cacao’s Role in Accelerating Industrialization and Expanding its Place in Society

While cacao consumption continued to be reserved for certain classes during its journey around the world, increasingly sophisticated processing methods streamlined productions, regulation eventually brought its price down, and despite medical and religious challenges to its place in society, cacao products were increasingly available to a grander population.

By the 1600 and 1700s, advances in processing continued to align with rising and more diverse consumption habits. Of course, by this time, the separation between “producing” and “processing” countries (read: colonies vs. industrialized nations) was increasingly clear.

So while cultivation and production spread across Central and South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa to meet demand, industry began to take shape on the consumer side as well with the emergence of social gathering halls or “Chocolate Houses” in Britain, France, Spain, the United States, and other “industrialized” nations who had transitioned to managing the cacao’s trade as a commodity and processing for various food and beverage applications. It was not until Rudolphe Lindt’s invention of the conche in 1879, an advancement that bolstered flavor and feel (among other things), and set the stage for quality, processing, and mass production to take off (Coe and Coe, 2013).

Illustrated above, the matete, grinder, and conche are examples of what cacao processing tools were used by early civilizations (and are still used in the same or similar forms today) and evolved or industrialized processing equipment employed today (Martin, 2019).

From early civilizations to present day, cacao’s role in society, cultural significance, availability and consumption have evolved tremendously. However, its mystique and association as something special are still true to this day—just as they were in different and more elaborate forms among early civilizations. Perhaps this condensed history will give pause and reason for the average consumer to think beyond commercialization of cacao, cocoa, or chocolate, and value and validate its history and claims made by brands to improve global understanding, perception, and consumer habits.

Works Cited

  • Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The True History of Chocolate. 3rd Edition, Thames & Hudson, 2013.
  • Martin, Carla D., and Kathryn E. Sampeck. “The Bitter and Sweet of Chocolate in Europe.” Socio.Hu, Vol. 3, 2015, pp. 37–60.
  • Mintz, Sidney. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. Penguin Books, 1986.
  • Leissle, Kristy. Cocoa. Polity Press, 2018

Media Cited

  • Hansen, Magnus Pharao. “Cacao: How a Single Word Holds the Key to Understanding the Mesoamerican Past”. Nawatl Scholar. January 1, 1970. Accessed March 15, 2019. http://nahuatlstudies.blogspot.com/2015/01/cacao-how-contested-history-of-single.html?spref=tw.
  • Olver, Lynne. “Food Timeline FAQs: Aztec, Maya, & Inca foods and recipes”. Lynne Olver 2000. March 1, 2015. Accessed February 17, 2019. http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmaya.html.
  • Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies. “Map of Mesoamerica.” Accessed February 17, 2019. http://www.famsi.org/maps/.
  • Río Azul [Electronic Image]. Retrieved from Lecture. Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Politics: How History, Multinational Corporations, Governments, NGOs, and Critics Influence the Chocolate We Eat”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. January 30, 2019. Lecture.
  • Wikimedia Commons. File:Popol vuh.jpg. (January 16, 2015). Retrieved February 17, 2019. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Popol_vuh.jpg&oldid=146695431.
  • Matete [Electronic Image]. Retrieved from Lecture. Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Politics: How History, Multinational Corporations, Governments, NGOs, and Critics Influence the Chocolate We Eat”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. January 30, 2019. Lecture.
  • Grinder [Electronic Image]. Retrieved from Lecture. Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Politics: How History, Multinational Corporations, Governments, NGOs, and Critics Influence the Chocolate We Eat”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. January 30, 2019. Lecture.
  • Conche [Electronic Image]. Retrieved from Lecture. Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Politics: How History, Multinational Corporations, Governments, NGOs, and Critics Influence the Chocolate We Eat”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. January 30, 2019. Lecture.

Lectures Cited

  • Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Expansion”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. February 13, 2019. Lecture.
  • Martin, Carla D. “Sugar and Cacao”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. February 20, 2019. Lecture.
  • Martin, Carla D. “Chocolate Politics: How History, Multinational Corporations, Governments, NGOs, and Critics Influence the Chocolate We Eat”. Harvard University: Cambridge, MA. January 30, 2019. Lecture.

Chocolate Traditions: From Enlightenment-era Europe to Today

Early European Chocolate Consumption

It is thought that chocolate was brought to Europe in 1544 when the Kekchi Maya of Guatemala visited Prince Philip in Spain and brought chocolate as one of their many gifts (Coe & Coe, 130-131). Chocolate was an essential element of Mayan culture, and this was represented through their gifting of chocolate to an elite Spaniard. This was just the beginning of chocolate consumption in pre-enlightenment Europe, as the appreciation for sugar and chocolate quickly began to spread through Europe. Furthermore, new methods brought the price of sugar production down, allowing wider audiences to gain access to affordable chocolate. Although chocolate started as a commodity accessible solely to the elite, as sugar gradually became more affordable it increased the significance of chocolate as a symbol and way of celebration for a more widespread audience.

After the initial introduction of chocolate into Europe, it remained a luxury product that was typically enjoyed by the elite class. In The True History of Chocolate, the authors explain “It had been an elite drink among the copper-skinned, befeathered Mesoamericans, and it stayed that way among the white-skinned, perfumed, bewigged, overdressed royalty and nobility of Europe” (Coe & Coe, 125). Before it was available to people of all classes, chocolate was a symbol that celebrated wealth and status. One tradition among the elite in Spain was the consumption of a chocolate drunk “at the lavish midafternoon soirees called agasajos, as was the fashion in Spain” (Presilla, 24-25). Although these soirees were not used specifically to celebrate holidays, they were celebrations nonetheless in which chocolate was traditionally consumed.

es6373A German sculpture from 1744 depicting an elite couple enjoying a chocolate drink together

The sculpture pictured above by Johann Kändler demonstrates the availability and appreciate for chocolate among upper-class European citizens. However, sugar soon became more affordable and its consumption spiked and became widespread. This was what allowed chocolate to become a true product of celebration, as the common individual could consume chocolate and afford it to celebrate special occasions. In his book Sweetness and Power, Mintz explains “After 1850, as the price of sugar dropped sharply, that preference became realized in its consumption. A rarity in 1650, a luxury in 1750, sugar had been transformed into a virtual necessity by 1850” (Mintz, 148). Sweetened goods became widely available in Europe beginning in the 19th century, allowing chocolate to be used as a universal means of celebration. The other key contribution to the widespread availability of chocolate was the process of conching introduced by Rodolphe Lindt in 1879. This revolutionized how chocolate was manufactured and allowed companies to inexpensively produce large quantities of chocolate (Presilla 40-41). Chocolate was no longer only served as a drink, and the packaged, hard chocolates that are now so familiar were produced. Furthermore, producers could package chocolate in ways that allowed them to market the product towards certain holidays. For example, Richard Cadbury created the heart-shaped chocolate box that is now associated with Valentine’s Day in 1861 (Henderson).

Modern Commercialized Chocolate Consumption

godiva_32628_45_vd17_vday_paperheart_14pc_2a_008_r2_final
Pictured: Godiva Valentine’s Day Heart Chocolate Gift Box.

Today, many chocolatiers market their products towards specific holidays and events. Like Cadbury in 1861, many companies still use the classic heart shape box to market their chocolates towards Valentine’s Day. The Godiva website describes the chocolate box pictured above as “Seduction in a box: Our new dessert-inspired chocolates in a beautifully illustrated gift box for Valentine’s Day” (“Valentine’s”). The chocolate confection represents something more than just a treat, as it is also a celebration of love and is symbolic of Valentine’s Day. Likewise, some brands use their packaging to convey that their chocolate is specially created for certain times of the year. For example, Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have a fall line of chocolate that is decorated with falling leaves to symbolize autumn.

product_pbminis_harvest

The Hershey’s website includes the Fall Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures as a part of their Halloween and Fall collection.

The Fall Peanut Butter Cups are no different than typical Reese’s products, except for their fall-themed foiled wrapping. Reese’s caters their products to a large assortment of holidays, including special shaped products for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and Halloween.

In this Reese’s Halloween commercial from 2013, the advertisement says “Nothing screams Halloween like chocolate and peanut butter”.

Reese’s successfully ties their product and chocolate to celebrations. Although modern holidays are highly commercialized around chocolate, these special holiday-specific creations help to celebrate the holidays and make them extra special. For example, Lindt chocolate makes a Milk Chocolate Santa that is special for the Christmas season. Most individuals in the United States are familiar with chocolate Santas, and eating one may bring on nostalgia associated with the holiday season.

milk-santa-holiday-chocolate-figure_main_450x_477073d2c

Lindt Milk Chocolate Santa

In America, 300 million people consume chocolate annually, which averages to about twelve pounds per person (Martin, “Big Chocolate”). However, Chocolate consumption is at its highest before holidays. Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween are the seasons in which the most chocolate is purchased (Tannenbaum, 2016). Although chocolate is widely available to the average consumer year-around, its purchase and consumption peaks around the holidays because people view chocolate as a means of celebration. chocolate has been used to celebrate special occasions since its discovery, and marketing tactics have increased its connection with celebration significantly. Furthermore, chocolate’s widespread availability at a large spectrum of price points has allowed it to continue its dominance as one of the most popular celebratory indulgences. It is likely that chocolate will continue to be a treat that is enjoyed by all particularly in times of celebration, as its taste brings about nostalgia and happiness.

References

Coe, Sophie D., and Michael D. Coe. The true history of chocolate. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2013. Print.

Fall REESE’S Peanut Butter Cup Miniatures. Digital image. Hershey’s. The Hershey Company, n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Henderson, Amy. “How Chocolate and Valentine’s Day Mated for Life.” Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Institution, 12 Feb. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Kändler, Johann Joachim. Couple Drinking Chocolate. 1744. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Met Fifth Avenue. The Met. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Martin, Carla. “The Rise of Big Chocolate and Race for the Global Market”. Chocolate, Culture, and the Politics of Food, 8 March 2017, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Lecture.

“Milk Santa 4.4 oz Holiday Chocolate Figure.” Lindt Chocolate. Lindt Chocolate, 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Mintz, Sidney W. Sweetness and Power. New York: Penguin Books, 1986. Print.

Presilla, Maricel E. The new taste of chocolate: a cultural and natural history of cacao with recipes. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2009. Print.

Reeses. “REESE’S Halloween Cackle”. Online Video Clip. YouTube, 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

Tannenbaum, Kiri. “8 Facts About Chocolate.” Delish. Hearst Communications, 05 Apr. 2016. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.

“Valentine’s Day Heart Chocolate Gift Box, 14 pc. | GODIVA.” http://www.godiva.com. Godiva, 2017. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.