Ever since I started following the plight of the Oompa-Loompas over three years ago, times have been tough. They’ve suffered layoffs at Hershey, Cadbury, and Kraft. They’ve had to deal with the repercussions of E. Coli, melamine contamination, chocolate covered crickets in the Ferrero Rocher, stowaways, seizures, chemical accidents that ended a few careers, fire, and price-fixing lawsuits. For the past three years, not a quarter went by without more bad news. However, ever since Hershey announced it was to trim 5% of its workforce in June, things have been rather quiet despite the flurry of chocolate related news articles over the last three months. Let’s hope things stay this way.
So what did the summer bring?
- an attempt to corner the Coca market
According to reports, Hedge Fund Manager Anthony Ward bought 240,000 tonnes of cocoa beans, enough to make more than 5 Billion small chocolate bars.
- a new initiative to combat child labour
between the US Department of Labor and the ILO (International Labor Organization)
- a top spot in a national award program
awarded to Cargill for its free farmer field school program that teaches cocoa farmers how to properly use pesticides and fertilizers, maintain their fields, and conduct sanitary harvests
- customized chocolate
courtesy of Chocomize
- vitamin chocolate
courtesy of CVS/pharmacy and Whole Foods
- the world’s largest chocolate bar
from the Grand Candy Company
- another study promoting the health benefits of dark chocolate
- a golden ticket in the cacao genome
from a preliminary gene sequence for cacao that was revealed by Mars Inc. and research partners which they plan to use to engineer disease resistant trees that will produce bigger and better cocoa bean yields
- the end of the biggest advocate in the comic strips
as Cathy says goodbye
Other than metal pieces in the chocolate chunk cookies, a look into the benefits of FairTrade cocoa, an expansion of the luxury chocolate factor in Cambridgeshire, news of Hershey’s domination of the U.S. Market (and its lag behind its competitors in avoiding forced labor, human trafficking, and abusive child labor — profits come at a price), and a report from Packaged Facts on The Chocolate Market in the U.S., it’s been a quiet summer for the oompa-loompas. No more massive layoffs, and no new major scandals. Let’s hope it stays that way.
However, Cracked.com ran a great story on the 5 bitter truths about chocolate that you might want to check out. While we’d like to continue to believe that chocolate comes from a purple garbed man in a whimsical factory, the real chocolate world is far darker and far harder than we ever would have thought.