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Chocolate manufacturers go pink for cause

By Jane Byrne , 19-Oct-2009
Last updated on 19-Oct-2009 at 13:36 GMT

US confectionery giants have been customising their wrapping or chocolates in support of breast cancer awareness month, while advocates caution consumers over the increasing number of pink products.

Mars Snackfood said that it is offering consumers several ways to support the cause via multiple product offerings including pink M&M’S, while Hershey’s Bliss Chocolate features pink ribbon wrappers during October.

Mars added that it will donate a minimum of $850,000 to research organisation, Susan G Komen for the Cure.

‘Breast cancer continues to touch all of our lives, which is why we feel it is critical for us to do our part by going pink across our M&M’S and Dove Chocolate brand portfolios this month,’ continued Michele Kessler, vice president, Mars Snackfood US.

Personalized products

Mars said that it will donate 10 per cent of the sales of its ‘Promise Blend’ to support the cause:

The dark pink and white M&M’S milk chocolate sweets are available either as a pre-printed mix featuring the ‘Ribbon’ logo and a ‘for the Cure’ message or consumers can create their own blend, added the confectionery firm.

According to Mars, its Promises of Hope range features individually wrapped chocolate in special pink foils that feature inspirational messages written by breast cancer survivors, and the company added that its My Dove Chocolate range enables consumers to personalize a specially created pink ribbon foil.

The Hershey Company said that, in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is donating $300,000 to the Young Survival Coalition (YSC), to help raise awareness of the disease and to fund programmes and education.

Critical stance

Meanwhile, watchdogs are increasingly warning consumers that lying behind popular pink-ribbon products may often be a firm trumpeting its support of a cause as a way to differentiate its brand rather than as a means of trying to fight the disease.

Since its creation in 2002, California based Breast Cancer Action’s (BCA), Think Before You Pink campaign has been urging consumers to scrutinize pink ribbon marketing, ask questions and to take action when necessary.

When in doubt, BCA says people should call companies to find out where the money goes and to which organisations, and the advocacy group claims that if shopping could cure breast cancer it would have been cured by now.

Industry commitment

Mars Snackfood said that it has been committed to the cause since 2003, raising more than $5m help find the cures for breast cancer, while Hershey maintains that it has donated nearly $1.5m to YSC over the past five years.

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