Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Don't Mess with our Chocolate

Frank Price sent me an article on Hershey's and the proposed petition to change the formulation of chocolate--a change in which the marketplace would have considered what is chocolate.

From the article on Chocolate News

From what I hear, it was Hershey’s that proposed and pushed a petition to the FDA to allow for the re-formulation of chocolate to allow for using any vegetable oil rather than the cocoa butter naturally found in chocolate. “By specific language in this Petition document, it would allow for the unlimited use of vegetable fats from any source and at any level to replace the cocoa butter in chocolate and still allow the product to be called chocolate,” said Don’t Mess With Our Chocolate, an organization founded by Guittard Chocolate to combat the petition.

Don’t Mess With Our Chocolate alleged that “the petition would allow liquor to be made by combining purchased cocoa butter and cocoa powder instead of solely being ground from nibs. In addition, the 50% minimum requirement can be voided if you want slightly reduced fat liquor—say 40%, which does “not rise to the level of a defined nutrient claim” (FDA language). In effect, we would now have a new form of ingredient that would also be called “chocolate liquor” which could then be used to make chocolate and would allow the use of even more vegetable fat in the final product that would be called chocolate.

Hershey's efforts to redefine chocolate failed. Yay! However, it closed Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt. Hershey's announced:

“The financial market and credit crisis has not had a material effect on our business operations or liquidity, to date. However, the increase in our cost structure and uncertainties in the financial markets and in the broader economy present challenges as we head into 2009.”

Guess there's no room for the artisan in meeting those challenges, even if there was a 31% profit increase.

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