Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today in apocalyptic omens: Kraft may take over Cadbury


In the name of all that is bittersweet, say it ain't so, Cadbury--say it ain't so. It's bad enough that Hershey bought out Scharffen Berger and proceeded to utterly ruin one of the best chocolate brands on the planet. Criminal, in fact.

Now it appears Kraft, makers of boxed macaroni and these little brown cubes of glue-like substance I'm told are caramels, is going after Cadbury. Cadbury, who in turn own the excellent brand Green & Black's, makers of the heavenly dark-chocolate-with-crystallized-ginger-pieces bar that has seen me through many a horrid plane trip, ear-splitting family argument, lonely night, lonelier weekend, depressing election, nasty marital spat, nastier still marital stressfest (complete with airborne crockery), and even the occasional marital Chernobyl incident.

Writing in the New York Times, fellow chocoholic Arthur Lubow is worried, too:
But I found it hard to care much whether Asian consumers will have an easier time procuring Planters peanut bars and Toblerone bars at their corner store. What frightened me about the proposed deal was the threat to the privileged autonomy of Green & Black’s.

Although Cadbury rejected the offer, Kraft has continued to push. Still, I began to think that maybe I was being too pessimistic. As Kraft shares dipped, its offer was diminishing in value. Cadbury might very well retain its independence.

And even if Kraft does buy Cadbury, I assured myself, the American giant will see the wisdom in maintaining the quality of Green & Black’s, a brand that has no reason to exist if it does not continue to satisfy connoisseurs who can tell that a Milk Dud is really a dud. Yes, Hershey had perversely seduced a high-quality brand and then stripped away its conquest’s quality. But perhaps Kraft would be better about honoring the artisanal excellence of my 85 percent bar than Hershey had been with the lamented 82.

Last week, it was reported that Hershey is considering its own offer for Cadbury. I have started the search for my next chocolate bar.
There is news, and then there is the kind of news that has a direct effect on one's own day-to-day existence. Sarah Palin being booed by hundreds of furious, rain-soaked fans after quitting in the middle of a book signing, hopping into her airbrushed portrait-bedecked bus, and leaving them cold, wet, and sans autograph would qualify as the first sort: it's news (of sorts)--perhaps it's even amusing news--but it has no measurable impact on my life. However, Kraft's escalating bids to take over Cadbury--and the ghastlier-still notion that it might all land in the chocolate-ruining hands of the Hershey corporation--qualify as the second kind of news. That's some serious day-darkening, mood-crushing, disgust-evoking, personally affecting news right there.

In fact, concerns about family abandonment repercussions aside, I feel moved to (once again) threaten to haul my elitist, socialist, book-reading, independent-movie-loving, health-care-having, EU-belonging ass back to England, where even the tiniest supermarkets carry Black Magic and Quality Street.

Please don't yawn.

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