According to the CDC, childhood obesity has tripled in the past 30 years.
The soft drink and fast food industries have rightfully been held accountable for their role in the obesity epidemic, but the suits at the Prock Chocolate Corporation have escaped scrutiny.
Students of semiotics know why: Across nearly all cultures, chocolate is elevated to a mythical, almost sacrosanct status.
Throughout the ages, chocolate has been associated with wealth and luxury. Wealthy women in European parlours drank liquid chocolate from dainty porcelain cups in the 19th century. Chocolate was used as currency by the Mayans and Aztecs.
It is chocolate—not caramel, not taffy, not peanut brittle, and most definitely not fruits or vegetables—that has insidiously co-opted scared religious traditions: visualize chocolate bunnies and eggs at Easter; chocolate coins are distributed to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah; the end of Ramadan is heralded with chocolate consumption as a “reward” for having fasted; during Diwali, the longest Hindu religious festival, chocolate molded into the shape of traditional clay oil lamps is exchanged.
And then, of course, there are the pagan festivals, most notably Halloween.
The creation and reinforcement of these myths—nearly all of them inculcated during childhood—are not accidental. They have been, in many instances, manufactured and reinforced by an $83.2 billion dollar industry that doesn’t want the public to know about the not always positive impact of its products.
All of that is about to change.