Please don’t tell anyone, but I’m a chocoholic. My father (of blessed memory) used to bribe me with chocolate to get me to go to bed, clean my room, do my homework or finish my food. Chocolate was and still is this magical cherished product that makes me happy.
They say that some people are born with a chocolate gene. Well I’ve inherited the chocolate gene, and happily passed it on to my children and grandchildren. I’m often shocked when I meet people who tell me they don’t have that mysterious chocolate gene.
Is it even possible? Well perhaps there was some sort of gene mutation that didn’t cross over into my family heritage!
In 2006 chocolate sales were approximately $16 billion, and are forecast to grow to $18 billion in 2011. Well I am definitely contributing to the world economy by my consumption of chocolate, not to mention my waist line!
When it comes to the leading chocolate manufacturers, the vast majority are OU kosher certified. From Godiva, Hershey’s, Nestle, Ferraro Rocher and Mars just to name a few, the chocolate craze increased astronomically when the health benefits of dark chocolate was revealed. We were thrilled to learn that our long enjoyed secret treat was now not only decadent, but healthy and nutritious. The once prevalent belief that something that tastes so good could not be good for you was replaced by reports that the consumption of dark chocolate provided a rich source of phosphorus, magnesium, antioxidants and flavanols. I’m not really sure what all these minerals actually do for my body, but give me my chocolate!
More and more foods are popping up with a chocolate variation. My friend’s mom recently experimented with chocolate by melting it into a sauce for pasta. We’ve seen chocolate pancakes and waffles, chocolate drinks, chocolate challah, chocolate martinis, and chocolate covered fruits and nuts. I recently returned from the Winter Fancy Food show in San Francisco, where I saw chocolate soup, chocolate covered potato chips, nuts, pretzels and popcorn. Jelly Belly, an OU certified company recently launched their new Dark Chocolate covered jelly beans. I even saw the re-invention of hot chocolate in the decadent form of chocolate tea.
I can’t imagine what’s next, but you can be sure that the OU will be front and center in the delicious pursuit of this chocolate craze, as companies want to appeal to a large consumer base and of course, having OU kosher certification enhances the marketability of their products.
So if you’re like me, a chocoholic, I’m pretty sure 2011 will be a banner year for chocolate! If you’ve tasted or found some other decadent chocolate product, please write to me as I am always in search of my next chocolate fix! But please, let’s keep this obsession a secret – just between us chocoholics – ok?
Phyllis Koegel serves as the Marketing Director of OU Kosher based in New York City. She received her MBA from Pace University and resides in Cedarhurst, NY on Long Island.
OU Kosher Industry’s Winter 2011 Magazine, Behind the Union Symbol, is now available online!
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.