Category Archives: oompa loompa

Are Things Finally Starting to Look Up for the Oompa Loompas?

In our last post we lamented that, after a very tough year last year, there was no love for the oompa loompa’s on Valentine’s Day. With the burning of the Sydney Chocolate Factory, the shuttering of the West Berkeley Scharffen Berger and San Franciso Joseph Schmidt Plants by Hershey, and the tainting of Private Selection with Salmonella, among other chocolate-related disasters that started off the year, Oompa Loompas have been having a very hard time.

Since then, we’ve learned that chocolate could one day be in short supply, the Maya nut can be prepared to taste like chocolate, and an oompa loompa spent the night in jail after a drunken ball with Spiderman and Tinky Winky.

But more recently,

It’s not much compared to all the harshness they’ve had to endure for the last couple of years, but it’s a start.

No Love for the Oompa Loompas this Valentine’s Day

I thought that maybe, just maybe, things would turn around for the oompa loompas, who had a very tough time last year, with the emergence of the biggest chocolate holiday of the year. But the truth of the situation is that all the news has been bad news since I last reported on their tough time last October.

All we have to do to see that their situation has not improved is take a stroll through the headlines from the past three months:

  • Oct 05, 2008: Melamine in Cadbury Products
    When we last checked in, trace amounts of melamine were found in Cadbury chocolate, but further investigation revealed that two products in particular had (dangerously) high levels of melamine.
  • Nov 13, 2008: Kraft Foods to Shut Down Romanian Chocolate Factory
    Kraft, recently caught up in a bribery scandal, announced that it is closing down its Brasov, Romania factory and terminating the roughly 440 oompa loompas who work at the location.
  • Jan 02, 2009: Sydney Chocolate Factory Ravaged By Fire
    The Meeks road, Marrickville location of Praline Choclates was gutted by a ravenous fire (video), putting more oompa loompas out of work, at least temporarily.
  • Jan 28, 2009: Hershey Co. closing West Berkeley Scharffen Berger and San Francisco Joseph Schmidt Plants
    The shutter of two more Hershey factories will put at least another 150 oompa loompas out of work.
  • Feb 02, 2009: Massive Cocoa Spill on the I-79
    A truck carrying 47,000 lbs of cocoa spilled across the I-79. Such a waste. Probably brought tears to the eyes of oompa loompas everywhere. Let’s just hope that the owner of the cocoa does not claim that this spill led to a steep rise in costs, an associated steep decline in profits, and use then use this as justification for even more oompa loompa layoffs.
  • Feb 02, 2009: Private Selection Chocolate Products tainted with Salmonella
    Kroger’s Private Selection and store brands don’t escape the recent salmonella discovery in peanut products and Private Selection Peanut Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Private Selection Chocolate Trios are recalled.
  • Feb 04, 2009: Chocolate Stowaways at Mars Factory
    Fifteen chocolate covered stowaways were arrested after they were found buried in more than 20 tons of cocoa power that was delivered to the Mars factory in Slough, Berkshire.

The continued plight of the oompa loompas is very unfortunate considering that recent studies have found that chocolate and wine improve memory. We should be rewarding them for their hard work, not cutting their jobs and ruining their reputations. So, on this Valentine’s Day, I urge you to think of the oompa loompa plight and buy an extra box of chocolates. They deserve a little love.

Times Stay Tough for the Oompa-Loompas

Well, it’s been over a quarter since we last checked in on the oompa-loompas, who were having a pretty bad year between massive layoffs at Cadbury and Hershey’s, salmonella contamination, chocolate covered ants in the Ferrero Rocher, child labour on the Ivory Coast, a chemical accident at the Blommer Chocolate factory, and lawsuits galore. (It should be no surprise that so many have turned to code-slinging in recent years!)

Are things ever going to look up?

It doesn’t look like it. A recent story in Fortune noted that price hikes are hammering Hershey’s profits to the point where it has had to raise prices by 11%. This could mean less sales for the manufacturer, who, being squeezed on both ends, might need to institute another round of layoffs to keep going. Then there was the recent finding of melamine in Cadbury chocolate, which I cannot fathom as being “legally acceptable” since melamine poisoning killed thousands of pets last year in the US and this year has killed over a dozen children in China while sickening over 54,000 others. This has forced Cadbury to recall Chinese-made candy, which is going to be another big hit to its bottom line. This is all bad news considering the World Cocoa Foundation has determined that approximately 50 Million people around the globe rely on chocolate for their livelihood.

Hopefully, things will improve with the one-two Halloween-Christmas punch that arrives in fourth quarter. If not, I guess there’s always coding.

Things Just Keep Getting Worse For The Oompa-Loompas

When we last checked in on the oompa-loompas late last year, they were facing tough times with massive layoffs at Cadbury and Hersheys, dealing with the backlash of salmonella contamination, and having to deal with their reputations being scarred by counterfeiters in China who were stuffing their fake Ferrero Rocher chocolates with ants. Bleak times indeed.

And in the first half of this year, things continued to get worse. Campbell succeeding in selling Godiva chocolates. And although there’s been no report of massive layoffs yet, it has been the trend in recent years. An expose in Fortune in February exposed the fact that child workers, many as young as 10, are everywhere in the Ivory Coast, which supplies 40% of the world’s cocoa. Then a chemical accident at the Blommer Chocolate factory in River West, in Chicago, killed one worker and injured two others. And just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, a article pointed out that nearly eighty (80) lawsuits were being brought against The Hershey Co., Mars Inc., Nestle SA, Cadbury Schweppes PLC, and ITWAL Ltd. for price-fixing were being merged into a massive class-action lawsuit to inquire into multiple instances of alleged price-fixing in Canada and Europe.

All I can say is, the way things are going, I hope that they’re going back to school and learning how to sling code, like I recommended last year

I Haven’t Forgotten About The Oompa-Loompas …

I know it’s been a while since my last Oompa Loompa update (a couple of months, actually), but I assure you I haven’t forgotten about the little guys … how could I? Without chocolate, there’d be no chocolate chips. And without chocolate chips, there’d be no chocolate chip cookies. And without chocolate chip cookies, there’d be a world-wide protest! I know – because I’d be leading the charge against the capitalistic chocolatiers who prevented the oompa loompas from unionizing and kept them away from the cocoa beans they live to process into yummy, oh-so-yummy, dark chocolate chips!

Anyway, it’s been a rough year for those poor little guys, and it doesn’t look like it’s letting up. They’ve had tough times with Hershey closing its last Canadian factory, confusing times with Cadbury telling them that they are synonymous with the color purple, rough times with Cadbury laying off thousands, and an uncertain future with Campbell looking to drop Godiva‘s like a hot potato. And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, Kraft has to recall white chocolate due to another case of salmonella contamination (which follows Cadbury’s admission that its “new” testing system allowed for “safe” levels of salmonella in its products*).

But the bad news doesn’t stop there! Earlier this month, reported that Hershey’s CEO is retiring at the end of the year. During his six year tenure, Richard Lenny shutdown six U.S. and Canadian plants and cut more than 3,000 workers. Just imagine how much harder the axe is going to swing when a younger, stronger, more eager CEO gets put in the top spot!

And if the salmonella contamination at Cadbury and Kraft wasn’t enough to turn people off of heavenly chocolate goodness and onto eternal damnation carob, there’s this story that would make even the most fearless Fear Factor contestant cringe. Those Ferrero Rocher chocolates you’re eating right now could be counterfeit chocolates made in China that have been found to contain worms, moths, and larvae. Now I know that chocolate covered ants might be a delicacy in the brazilian rain forest, some insectivores think crickets go good in chocolate chip cookies, and boys will eat worms on a dare – but moths? I don’t think that even the most desperate coke addict would want to snuff that powder! Bad China! Bad, Bad China! I can forgive your lead paint Thomas, your melamine dog food, and your diethylene glycol toothpaste – but mess with my chocolate, and I’ll boycott you!

* Salmonella is safe if you’re already dead!