I'd like to letmy fellow members of the Chocolate LifeCommunity know about the project I have been working on for a long time now, since it is shortly to be finished.
I'man avidconsumer of chocolate. Many timesthe mention of winning an award has tempted me to buy a chocolate just to see... but over the years I began to learn from my experiences andwas provoked by them tolook into these chocolate awards.As a consumer I didn't like what I found at all.
In my opinion the publics good faith has often been abused by chocolate makers and bypublic relation companies to gain anadvantage in the marketplace.
In my opinion, as a consumer, the ideal chocolate awardsarefully independent of chocolate brands and their agents. They should represent the interest of the chocolate buyer, who wants to know about and eat fantastic chocolate! I do not wish to bethe"target" ofa thinly disguised marketing excercise that takes advantage of my confidence in official looking awards.
Awards should be on the side of the consumer to assist them in finding the best chocolates for themselves. Awards shouldbe trustworthy and clearly not working for the chocolate industry directly.
Michelin does exactly this with its guide book. It works for the consumer, but in doing so it liberates the best chefs to focus on the quality of what they offer and not the quality of their marketing.
It is unlikley that a three star orone star restaurant will need to spendany money or time on marketing! Because the industry - generally -recognises the award. And in doing so they take advantage of a free, more ethical and more respectable marketing machine.
Insome similarway I hope that the World Chocolate awards can help toimprove the focus of everyone onto chocolate flavour if it becomes well known enough.
This levels the playing field too, so that the small chocolatier and the big brand compete more equally, on quality, rather than marketing clout.Andthey both can make significant savings in business costs. Perhaps chocolatiers might use some of that extra money to make chocolates more affordable for the consumer (fair tradeshouldnot stop at the delivery door of the chocolate manufacturer) invest in improving production or experimentation.
I believe that the public has a right to know the following facts when it is being offered a chocolate bar with an award on the packaging:
1 Was the winner judged against two or two hundred competitors?
2 Can I see a list of everyone who entered? Did every entry receive an award?
3 Have the organisers or judges received money, foreign trips, hospitality, free products or any kind of benefits from the winners?
4 Are the organisers or judges connected to the winners by friendship, family or business?
5 Was the award given only for the chocolates taste, or did its packaging, colour, a bubble, appearance and moulding count too?
6 Does a gold award mean that the product was the best one in its category, or were multiple gold awards given with the same title?
7 How many chocolates did the judges taste within what period of time? In other words did the judges have a reasonable amount of time to taste with a clear palate?
8 Was the award judged blind? Is the word blind being used by the award body to mean that the judges could not identify the chocolate visually, or that they only took the chocolate out of its wrapper, therefore its moulding marks ect. were visible? In other words they are bending the use of the word "blind" to a meaningless marketing term.
9 How do I know that the chocolate that won the awardis the sameas the barin the shops? Itis perfectly possible for achocolatier to donate a specially made superiorbatch of chocolate in order to win an award and gain the prestige over the honest one who takes random bars to be tasted in the competition.
10 Why are there annual awards for an industrywho's product rangedoes not change dramatically each year?
11 Why are there all these weird and wonderful extra awards for things other than the actual taste of the chocolate?
Unfortunately the answers to these questions may not be as you may expect. In some cases you may not be permitted to get an answer. I am unable to give you this information reads a reply to me from one of the most well known award bodies.Another:we never release the non-winners to anyone.
Its not wrong for chocolate makers and their agents to organise an award between themselves, but when they place their chocolate bar on the shelf next to another chocolate that doesnt participate in this type of promotion, then it is only fair to the consumer and to the other chocolate makers that it is made clear exactly the award means.
In response to these facts, theWorld Chocolate Awards are designed to represent only the interests of the public and not the chocolate makers, to inspire the publics confidence and set the highest standards for chocolate awards by being the leader in: independence, transparency, knowledge; consumer advice, number of chocolates judged, and number of countries included. No free chocolate bars are accepted and bars are bought anonymously. We are not limited to trying one chunk, nor is there any pressure to judge one, let alone one hundred, chocolates in one day. Often on more than one bar is tried. There is no time limit, or limit of chocolate.
I welcome any comments and suggestions. Sorry to be so serious - chocolate is one of the most fun things on the planet -but this is the catalyst for asignificant award that - if peoplerecognise it - will bring about a fresh new focus on appreciating flavour and not marketing.
Iam confident theWorld Chocolate Awardscan help to restoreintegrity and respect for the consumer, plusliberate the chocolatier to concentrate on making excellentchocolate. And enable a more ethical relationship between the chocolatiers and chocolate eaters. Fairer trade for consumers!
Bon appetit to all my fellow chocolate lovers!
Hardback book coming soon to amazon
updated by @ian-whitaker: 04/17/15 11:17:00AM