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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Okay, Now the Economic Crisis Has Really Hit Home

posted by on September 23 at 15:03 PM

I don’t own a car or a house, or have hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, so I’ve felt fairly removed from the tanking economy/collapsing bank talk. Until now. Now, the fucked up economy has taken our chocolate.


On Friday, TODAY consumer correspondent Janice Lieberman reported that Hershey’s has switched to less expensive ingredients in several of its products. In particular, cocoa butter — the ingredient famous for giving chocolate its creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture — has been replaced with vegetable oil.

The removal of cocoa butter violates the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition of milk chocolate, so subtle changes have appeared on the labels of the Hershey’s products with altered recipes. Products once labeled “milk chocolate” now say “chocolate candy,” “made with chocolate” or “chocolatey.”

Read the full story here.

Granted, I never looked to Hershey’s when I wanted high-quality chocolate, but at least it was real.

(Thanks to Nat for the tip.)

RSS icon Comments


Now watch for all the fudge packers to get laid off...

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 23, 2008 3:08 PM

This article gives me a hankerin' for a Hershey's "Chocolatey Bar."

Posted by Ariel | September 23, 2008 3:09 PM

@1-Hah! But seriously, most US candy makers are not only changing ingredients but are heavily lobbying Congress to change the FDA definitions of chocolate and milk chocolate so they can call their new, crappier products what they ain't.

Posted by inkweary | September 23, 2008 3:12 PM


Fuckers are going to go after coffee next, just you wait and see.

Posted by PopTart | September 23, 2008 3:13 PM

These should be labeled "chocolate-ish."

Posted by JC | September 23, 2008 3:16 PM

If it doesn't contain cocoa butter it is not worth eating. BOYCOTT.

Posted by east coaster | September 23, 2008 3:18 PM

Those things have been merely chocolateesque for a long time.

Theo all the way, baby.

Posted by violet_dagrinder | September 23, 2008 3:19 PM

Hershey? What is this... Her... Shey?

Head to Chocolopolis, get some Chuao. You'll thank me.

Posted by Chris B | September 23, 2008 3:20 PM

@3 The FDA should spend a lot more time focusing on things that actually harm consumers like beef and tomatoes instead of legislating taste and marketing. As long as Hershey's isn't putting melamine in their chocolate bars then who really cares what their inferior chocolate uses as an oil base?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 23, 2008 3:25 PM

That's horrid... the article also mentions that there was some lobbying by manufacturers to get the FDA to change the definition of chocolate in order to switch to veg oil without having to change what they call the product. Fortunately the FDA refused.

Posted by Nixor | September 23, 2008 3:26 PM

I went to lunch at the teriyaki place around the corner. I ordered a pork combo, but I was hungry and also ordered a plate of 8 Gzoyas...and an orange juice.

Somehow it cost $14.95! The world has gone mad!

Posted by John Bailo | September 23, 2008 3:26 PM

@11 well maybe now fat Americans will be forced to exert restraint when it comes to immoderate portions.

Posted by Nixor | September 23, 2008 3:29 PM

How exactly would owning a car be a bad thing? At least your wealth is tied up in something useful.

Posted by w7ngman | September 23, 2008 3:32 PM

Hersheys = inferior chocolate. They even put dairy in the dark chocolate, presumably to offset the cost. Now we know that even their crappy chocolate is literally not real chocolate.

Posted by Emily | September 23, 2008 3:33 PM

Hershey's is the cooking wine of chocolate bars. I can't believe they found a corner they hadn't already cut yet.

Posted by Dougsf | September 23, 2008 3:41 PM

i think the fda should require all products that aren't real chocolate to say "NOT CHOCOLATE" on the labels. including bread, juice, paper towels, etc.

i actually have a crush on the fda. sometimes i take things like ingredient lists and nutrition labels for granted, but imagine the crap that would be in our supermarkets today if the fda didn't mandate these things. instead of vegetable oil hershey's would be using concentrated anthrax (if it was cheaper and fattier, anyway).

once the election's over, donate a couple bucks to the center for science in the public interest, who almost single-handedly fights evil corporate food lobbyists.

Posted by jrrrl | September 23, 2008 3:44 PM

I'm surprised that they haven't started using Melamine as their special (and cheap) ingredient.

Posted by Lenny | September 23, 2008 3:49 PM

That's it, I'm buying a gun.

Posted by Sirkowski | September 23, 2008 3:55 PM

You are shocked, shocked, you tell me, to realize that George Orwell's 1984 "Victory Chocolate" has entered our dimension? Hershey's chocolate has always been as real as Astroturf. I saw the change from cocoa butter to oil(s) on the back of a Hershey Chocolate-Scented Candy Bar TM around a month ago while waiting in a checkout line. The oil might improve the Hershey bar's waxy texture. Nothing can be done for the taste.

Posted by E | September 23, 2008 3:59 PM

A@9 The USDA is responsible for beef and tomatoes, that is another department the GOP have gutted over the years. It is because of the exactitude of our food standards that we don't have routine melamine scandals. Anti-regulation conservatives and food industry lobbyists have been trying to get standards for all types of food deregulated for years because it would be cheaper to make bad food and sell it as good. Food products sold in stores have standards establsihed by law. Those standards are supposed to be enforced by the FDA and the USDA. Have you ever wondered why it says "fancy" on catsup labels? because by law the standard for fancy catsup requires that it be free from tomato seeds and skin. You can sell seedy catsup but you just can't call it fancy.

Posted by inkweary | September 23, 2008 4:00 PM

jrrrl, you're assuming that people would buy products repeatedly that killed them or that other people wouldn't be a bit suspicious when floyd dropped dead from eating hershey's chocolate.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 23, 2008 4:03 PM

inkweary, legislating semantics doesn't work or mean anything when the product speaks for itself. You can call crappy ketchup fancy ketchup but that doesn't mean people will continually buy it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 23, 2008 4:06 PM

Sure guys, you think because Hershey's is some crapola chocolate that this won't mean anything to you because you only eat the good stuff. But, remember, first they came for the Herhsey's and I didn't speak up because I don't eat Hershey's. Then they came for the Cadbury...

Posted by PopTart | September 23, 2008 4:15 PM

To cut costs, Hershey's also MOVED THEIR SHOP TO MEXICO.... So now, Hershey's Mexican Made Chocolate-ish Candy Bar... Got a nice ring to it...

Posted by mcbush | September 23, 2008 4:47 PM


People do buy things that kill them. And that's why regulation was instituted in the first place.

Posted by keshmeshi | September 23, 2008 4:54 PM

They're coming for your "retardedly good" apples next Megan.

Posted by It's on file | September 23, 2008 5:00 PM

@25, the FDA is always in the position of being reactive to incident though. An unanticipated even occurs before the FDA puts a plan into action to prevent future incident from happening. It also lulls us into a position of false sense of security by thinking something FDA approved is actually safe for us.

The FDA has a very good purpose but marketing semantics shouldnt be one of them, nor should we pretend like the FDA is a ball busting behemoth non beholden to big business.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 23, 2008 5:12 PM

What's wrong with marketing semantics? The free market works both ways. If there product is acceptable then people will learn that "chocolatey candy" or whatever isn't a bad thing.

Seriously this sort of semantics is something hardcore free marketers can get behind. There is a lot about informed consumers in capitalist dogma.

If you say your meatless patty has mushrooms in it you don't to just decide what a mushroom is. I do get to decide whether I care about the difference between a mushroom and a fungus.

Posted by daniel | September 23, 2008 6:14 PM

marketing semantics should be an FTC domain

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 23, 2008 6:37 PM

I know this is pedantic, but cocoa butter *is* vegetable oil. They're substituting some other less-expensive oil for the cocoa butter. Probably palm and/or coconut. Since almost all of the flavor of chocolate comes from the cocoa solids, it should be possible to make a perfectly fine chocolate with a different solid vegetable oil. Most of the time when companies do this, though, they use the bare minimum amount of cocoa solids necessary to make it taste kinda sorta like chocolate.

Posted by Don Munsil | September 23, 2008 6:49 PM

I was eating all the good stuff -- Dagoba, Divine, etc. -- and then I had a Hershey "chocolateyness" (as in "truthiness") bar. YEESH. I used to think it was so good (about 30 years ago). And then I discovered that its flavor is much closer to sugared wax. Shudder.

Posted by Sondari | September 23, 2008 7:14 PM

Just buy American-made Organic Fair Trade chocolate from Theo's Chocolate.

It's made in Seattle in the Fremont neighborhood, so when you do that, the money goes back in the local economy.

Posted by Will in Seattle | September 24, 2008 12:25 AM

Most chocolate is already artificially cheap due to the low wages paid to the farmers who harvest the cocoa at the beginning of the supply chain.

The only way to ensure that your chocolate dollars aren't exploiting people is to buy Fair Trade chocolate. Find sources here:

Posted by vegetablesoup | September 24, 2008 6:47 AM

As a Hershey native, I am offended and embarrassed.

I will lobby all of my factory worker contacts for a revolt.

So sad...

Also, I have a feeling that vegetable oil will give people the shits.

Posted by octaviastkid | September 24, 2008 6:56 AM


I used to eat Hershey's holiday candy - Valentine's and Halloween - because it's the only time it's fresh and actually tastes good.

Posted by Miss Poppy Hussein Dixon | September 24, 2008 6:57 AM

bellevue ave, i was talking about listing ingredients and requiring nutrition labels, which are not reactive at all. if we didn't have these things, it's absolutely certain america would be more obese and dying a lot younger than we are now. the fda just started requiring trans fats to be listed on nutrition labels, and suddenly every packaged food manufacturer in the country started phasing out trans fats from their food. new unnatural food products still need fda approval before distribution, even if the safety requirements aren't very strict.

i was exaggerating about companies adding concentrated anthrax to foods, but companies certainly would add many dangerous ingredients to foods as long as you didn't immediately drop dead from eating them. in the 1800's and early 1900's food companies would add dirt and such as fillers.

Posted by jrrrl | September 24, 2008 10:47 AM

I see a number of folks belittling Hershey for always having been a cheap chocolate. What you must remember, though, is that a lot of us grew up on Hershey. Granted there are many higher quality chocolates out there now, but sometimes you crave that old comfort from your childhood.

I had actually picked up a Mr. Goodbar today before reading this article - and please pass on the Finding Mr. Goodbar jokes. Anyway, it was horrid. The texture was waxy and there was a distinct off taste to the chocolate. I'm not going to dismiss Hershey, but I will be looking at the labels and making sure I have the good stuff. I'll drop 'em by the side of the road when it's all crap, then probably hang myself.

Posted by still hanging on | September 24, 2008 3:57 PM

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