27 September 2008

"Mockolate" - a word for cheapened chocolate

The arrival of Halloween next month will provide an example of how the disregard of Congress for the deteriorating state of the US dollar affects "Main Street."

Most of the public doesn't notice when the falling dollar results in an increased cost of overseas travel; what they see first as domestic consumers is increases in the price of oil and therefore gasoline. But gasoline prices are also strongly influenced by worldwide supply and demand, so recent trends in the latter have diminished the effect of the falling dollar.

A falling dollar ultimately creates inflation by raising the cost of imported materials. One such material is cocoa, used in the manufacture of milk chocolate. Candy manufacturers have been responding by either a) raising the cost of their chocolate products, or b) shrinking the size of the product for an unchanged price.

Now Hershey has devised is a more subtle, and some would say a more detrimental strategy: they are removing cocoa from some products and replacing it with vegetable oil. First they attempted to change the rules (advocating changing the definition of chocolate from its present one that it must contain cocoa solids and cocoa butter and no additional vegetable oils). When that didn't work, they changed the labelling of the product. Note in the image above the replacement of the term "milk chocolate" with the word "chocolate candy."

For more details, read this article in Candyblog, this Candyblog update (which includes explanation re origin of "mockolate"), or view the Today Show video segment here.

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