Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Mock Chocolate

It's a damn good thing I don't get paid for this - I'd be so fired.

I actually sat in the Mars press conference at Candy Expo where they announced their "Real Chocolate Relief Act" on May 19th. Obviously I am not getting you breaking news. Basically each Friday they are giving away chocolate. Just go to www.realchocolate.com and sign up (no need to go until after 9:00 am Friday). You sign up and they mail you a coupon. You might use your coupon to check out some of their new products:

Strawberried Peanut Butter M & M's are out. (I say bleech, Reese's Pieces are so much better). But, hey if you get them for free, try them!! Live large baby!!

M & M's Coconut is coming out in July - see what you think.

And in August - Snickers Fudge!!! These rock - you should definitely get one of these - free or not.

Why are they doing this? Well they want to promote the fact that their candy is made from real chocolate, not mockolate as some of their competitors' candy is. I'm betting they know that most people will get a free bar and buy more bars, but I'm only guessing. I'm assuming Mars is still a capitalist company and isn't doing this just to redistribute their chocolate. But, hey, these days, who knows?

Here's a detailed explanation of "mockolate," a term I believe was coined by Cybele of Candy Blog. This is from wisegeek.com:

The term “mockolate” is used derisively to describe candy products made with cocoa solids, but no cocoa butter. Legally, such products cannot be labeled as “chocolate,” but instead must be called “chocolate candy,” “chocolate coating,” or some variation thereof, so that consumers understand that cocoa butter is not present. Mockolate is typically produced by companies trying to cut costs, since cocoa butter can be extremely expensive, and many companies feel that keeping the size of familiar candies the same is very important, even if the ingredients must change to keep costs down.

Real chocolate includes both cocoa solids and cocoa butter, the two components extracted from the cacao bean when it is crushed in preparation for making chocolate. Making chocolate is actually a very complicated process, as the components are first separated and then carefully blended back together in varying amounts, along with other ingredients, to produce the desired chocolate product. The cocoa solids contribute much of the flavor, while the cocoa butter adds the rich, creamy mouthfeel which people associate with chocolate.

When mockolate is produced, cocoa solids are blended with another source of fat, typically vegetable oil. According to producers, mockolate tastes the same as true chocolate in blind taste tests, but some foodies disagree. They claim that mockolate has a flat, greasy flavor and lacks the mouthfeel of true chocolate.

Because many people have a negative perception of mockolate, companies often use misleading labeling so that consumers believe they are buying real chocolate. When companies switch from chocolate to mockolate, for example, their product packaging may remain the same. Indications that a product contains mockolate include the use of very small letters describing “chocolate cream,” “chocolate coating,” or “chocolate candy” in the product, rather than prominent lettering boasting “chocolate” or “milk chocolate.”


Hey - I'm just saying be careful out there. Ultimately I think the taste of the total candy will determine what consumers buy. For me if Reese's is covered with mockolate, I'm still in!

So enjoy the summer! Get some free chocolate!


Carl Weaver said...

Remember in the '80s when we first heard of sushi and everyone was like, "Eww - gross! No way am I ever eating that!" Then people tried it and liked it and it's been a hip thing for quite a long time now.

This is going to be the same way. Chocolate candy may not be everyone's cup of tea but it works great in many applications. I think it's like calling a Chianti a Merlot. A real taste expert may be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test but most of us would say it was a decent glass of vino.

Most people will not be able to taste the difference unless they are told what to look for in the taste. And most of us won't care. Let's be honest about it. We eat candy because it tastes great and makes us feel good. It is a time-honored staple in the pantry of our lives. These products that use chocolate candy still do that. So what's the problem?

We need only look as far as the great musician and philosopher Dizzy Gillespie, who said of music, "If it sounds good, it is good." I say that if it tastes good, it is good.

Denise Ryan said...

Carl - you are the man!! So eloquent!! Again I sau NCA is lucky to have you!!!

cybele said...

That's sweet of you to credit me for the term Mockolate but I actually co-opted it from an episode of Friends. (The product there was even worse.)

I agree that some things can work with non-cocoa butter products - I absolutely adore Goldbenberg's Peanut Chews. But I bet they'd be better with real chocolate. And I would certainly resent paying real chocolate prices and getting ook.

(Also, there's a lot of info going around about how bad palm oil is for you compared to cocoa butter ... not that we're eating chocolate for our health.)

Denise Ryan said...

Thanks, Cybele - you're just such a candy goddess I figured you MUST have coined it!!

Heidi said...

This blog post was so interesting and informative.
I had no idea about this.
It reminds me of "cheese product." Unless you go to Wisconsin or are willing to shop the expensive case in the deli, you won't find the real stuff anymore. But it is so much better!
I didn't have a clue that the same dynamic existed for chocolate. Thanks for the information.

Denise Ryan said...

Oh - good analogy, Heidi!! The mysterious world of food - I love it!!! Thanks for your comments as always, GF!!!