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News briefs: gum, bars and Halloween protests

By Charlotte Eyre , 02-Nov-2007

Wrigley claims that chewing gum focuses the mind; Global Exchange organised a Fairtrade chocolate protest at Halloween; and the Jamaica's cocoa board says it has invented a chocolate bar that can be eaten or mixed with water in a drink.

Chocolate bar can be eaten or drunk, manufacturers claim The Jamaican Cocoa Industry Board (CIB) has created a chocolate bar that can either be eaten or melted in hot water to make a drink, according to local news reports. Unlike other chocolate bars, the as yet un-named product does not need to be mixed with water and sugar to make a tasty drink. Naburn Nelson, CIB manager, told the Jamaican Gleaner that manufacturers in Canada and the US had already shown an interest in the product. "What's more, this product will go across all age groups," said Nelson. "The mature consumers normally want their hot chocolate drink, while the children, on the other hand, will want their chocolate bar to eat."


While Jamaica is not one of the primary cocoa growing regions in the world, the CIB was set up in 1957 to help promote the crop on the island. According to recent CID data, net sales of Jamaican cocoa expected to reach $115m this year, a massive 73 per cent increase from $31m in 2006. Chew gum to concentrate, says study Chewing a stick of gum while doing mental exercises helps focus and sharpen the mind, according to the latest study helping to promote the product as "good for you" from Wrigley.


The findings come from a study of nearly 600 marketing students at a US university, who were given sticks of Wrigley's brand of 5 gum during a test, according to the company. "A non-scientific survey of the class after taking the exam showed that students who chewed 5 gum prior to, and during, test-taking had better scores on the exam than those who didn't chew gum at all," the company said. According to Wrigley, students who chewed gum during the test scored an average score of 90, while those who weren't given any 5 sticks only scored 60. "While what we found is anecdotal rather than scientific, I have no doubt that some of these students are going to start chewing gum during every exam," the company said.


Reverse trick-or treating child labour protest Anti-poverty activists Global Exchange this week urged children to give, rather than request, chocolate on Halloween, to protest against poverty and child labour in cocoa-growing regions. According to the advocacy group, nearly 3,000 trick or treaters signed up to participate in the event, which involved handing out fair trade chocolates to people in towns across the US and Canada. What is more, the group encouraged consumers to only buy Fairtrade chocolate, as it helps protect farmers in Africa from low wages and poor working conditions.


The protest was supported by the International Labor Rights Forum, United Students for Fair Trade and the Washington Fair Trade Coalition, Global Exchange said.

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