Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life on Mars 2

What is the purpose of chocolate? What is the purpose of desire for chocolate? And what is the purpose of habit?

Following my earlier post Life on Mars, which questioned the enthusiasm of vegetarians for Mars Bars, Adam asked:
"Why shouldn't vegetarians want to be able to continue to eat the chocolates they're used to?"

I am not sure whether this is a question about desire or about habit. What's wrong with trying new brands of chocolate, rather than feeling your life is ruined because The Men From Mars are messing around with the recipe of your favourite brand?

And I think there is sometimes a temptation for people to think a product is good for you, just because it is "organic" or "vegetarian" or "GM-free". It is perfectly possible for a product to comply with all of these labels and still contain disgustingly unhealthy amounts of refined sugar, fat and salt. So I'm interested in the social and psychological and symbolic effect of these apparently positivc labels - the fact that many vegetarians think these labels are not only worth reading but worth campaigning for.

Meanwhile, a quick Kartoo search for "health" and chocolate" led me to several webpages about the health-giving properties of chocolate - dark chocolate in particular - posted by chocolate companies and independent news organizations, all apparently based on the same set of scientific studies. I especially liked the look of Yachana Gourmet, which appears to be a socially progressive supplier of FairTrade RainForest chocolate. Suitable for vegans.

No comments: