Do you love chocolate? Probably. But how much do you really know about this delicious food? Did you know that chocolate has its own holiday or that the world’s bestselling candy bar was named after a horse?
Here are a few bites of chocolate trivia for you to enjoy:
July 7 Is Chocolate Day
That’s right; last week was recognized by many people as Chocolate Day. Why July 7, you ask? Because it was on this day in 1550 that chocolate was supposedly first introduced to Europeans from the Americas. It’s not entirely clear what specifically happened at this introduction, but the important thing for chocolate lovers is that it happened.
Chocolate Has a 4,000 Year History
According to the History Channel, anthropologists think chocolate was produced as early as 1900 B.C. by pre-Olmec cultures living in what is now Mexico. The ancients who first cultivated cacao used the beans to brew a bitter chocolate drink. The Olmec, Mayan, and Aztec civilizations all believed chocolate possessed both mystical and spiritual qualities.
Chocolate Could Make You Calmer
The science news Web site PsyPost cites research showing that the polyphenol compounds found cocoa can have a positive impact on your mood. Those in the study who consumed cocoa polyphenols in the form of a dark chocolate drink reported greater levels of calmness and contentedness than those who had a similar drink lacking the compounds.
Chocolate is the Favorite Food of Lovers and Ghouls
At least that’s the way it seems. A couple of years ago, The Nielsen Company reported that U.S. consumers would purchase more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy during Valentine’s week alone. But that amount pales in comparison to the nearly 90 million pounds expected to be sold at Halloween.
The Snickers Bar was Named After a Horse
In 1911, Frank C. Mars started making candies in his Tacoma, Washington kitchen. Then in 1930, he introduced the world to the Snickers candy bar – a timeless combination of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate which he named after one of the family’s favorite racehorses. Today, Mars Incorporated is a $US33 billion dollar a year business, has a presence in more than 70 countries, and is still a family-owned company.
Big Business, Global Impact
Chocolate is fun to talk about. But it’s also a big business.
The chocolate market will be worth $US98.3 billion by 2016, and the majority of the world’s cocoa beans are grown in developing countries in places like West Africa, Indonesia, and Latin America.
As a result, chocolate companies can have a significant social and economic impact on many parts of the world.
Mars, for example, is both a leader in the chocolate industry and a very diversified company. Products in its other business segments include Doublemint gum, Uncle Ben’s rice, and Pedigree pet food. (And by the way, Mars uses SAP software like the SAP ERP application and SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence solutions to help run this global enterprise.)
Mars takes corporate responsibility quite seriously. The company operates by a philosophy it calls The Five Principles– for quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency, and freedom.
Mars expresses these principles by doing things like helping empower female cocoa farmers in West Africa, rehabilitating coral reefs off the Indonesian coast, and committing to a corporate policy not to advertise its products to children less than 12 years of age.
Time to Enjoy
Now that you might know a little more chocolate, there will be other opportunities to celebrate. September 4 is considered World Chocolate Day and October 28 gets the nod as National Chocolate Day in the United States.
Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.
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