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Chocolate Specific Info

Choc-by-choc specific ingredients and allergy info

When you get a box of chocolates, there's a description of each of the chocs on a chart saying what each flavour and style is. For example: strawberry cream, almond whirl, nougat, etc. This is very handy, as it means you can choose what you'd like to try next. It's a bit like having a flick through the film reviews before deciding to watch the movie.

Chocolate descriptions are usually informal and poetic, but they also contain facts. So, for example, if you're having trouble with your teeth, you can avoid hard centres. Or, if you don't like coffee chocolates, you can avoid the coffee cream. So, you can enjoy the chocolates without anyone else having to know all about your food allergies, dental situation, and preferences.

When it comes to allergy advice and ingredients lists, manufacturers of chocolates have typically taken a more legalistic stance, and so it's not unusual to see a box of diverse chocolates with an ingredients list containing ALL the ingredients from ALL of the chocolates. Legal, but no help.

Of course what would be nice would be to know what the entire information is on a chocolate-by-chocolate basis, especially the allergy info. This should be done voluntarily by the manufacturers and it would be absurd if they were compelled legally to have to insert whole sheets of info for every chocolate in the box. Besides, there is a better way.

Makers of maps, such as Ordnance Survey, realised quite early on that they couldn't print on the map the description of every item on the map as it would get too "busy". However they succeeded in conveying the info to the reader of the map by putting succinct symbols on the map and then putting a "key" alongside the map. I propose that a similar thing be done with chocolate info charts.

This would mean that a box of chocolates would have a chocolate description set which for each chocolate would contain: a picture of the chocolate,Hotel Chocolat a description, and a set of symbols according to which helpful warnings are appropriate for that particular chocolate. Then, with the chart there'd be a key showing each symbol and what the actual warning is. For example "contains significant amounts of gluten", "contains traces of nuts", "contains dairy products", etc.

Multipacks of crisps had a non-succinct variant of this quite early on. You could see that the cheese-and-onion had gluten, whereas the salt-and-vinegar didn't.

In the business of boxes of chocolates, one of the first companies to start giving choc-specific info was Hotel Chocolat. Well done to them! One of the things about Hotel Chocolat is that they know exactly what's in each of the chocolates and they are willing to be helpful in informing customers. They are also very considerate and knowledgeable about food allergies, food intolerances, and personal ethic/preference types.

It may be that in time Hotel Chocolat will start including a chart of choc-specific information which includes symbols for each warning, together with a key to the warnings. Then other manufacturers of boxes of chocolates will follow to catch up.

If there are developments in this, please let me know. I'll be putting links to chocolate companies that go for this good practice. Plus, if a company has an affiliate program then it tends to get a dedicated page. This is good for business.