Monday, June 18, 2012

A Little Moment of Empty "Eureka!"

Over the weekend during a short trip to Tampa (technically, it was in Springhill, FL), I stepped into a local Publix grocery store and gasped with glee when I encountered a small shelf containing British goods. Among the selection of goodies I plucked to fill my basket were a couple of tins of Cadbury Original Drinking Chocolate.

As my brain reasoned, I love British Cadbury chocolate and I love hot chocolate. Finding Cadbury hot chocolate mix is a classic win-win scenario. I honestly heard in my head the "dah-nuh-nuh-nuh" music that plays whenever Link from The Legend of Zelda finds a treasure in a chest.

(I stress that I love British Cadbury chocolates because here in the States, we can buy a pseudo-Cadbury that is manufactured under the more prolific Hershey's; the taste is not the same. Just not cricket, what-what.) 

Shopping wasn't the only thing I did in Tampa. I also went out for a nice walk and saw Cypress trees and a gator swimming in the marshy water. That was pretty cool. 

Cypress tree

Anyway, as it is with most imported products, the Cadbury Original Drinking Chocolate packaging underwent the ritual of having an American-style nutrition label plastered directly unto the original European nutrition grid. I didn't think too much of this for it is what commonly happens to foreign foods over here. 

The Ye Olde American Nutrition Facts Label
However, it wasn't until I returned to Miami when I decided to pay closer attention to said label.

According to the new American label, one serving of the drinking chocolate, a tablespoon, contains 602 calories. 

"That is not possible," I thought to myself. "That cannot be nutritionally possible!"

Then, as if I had to prove my point as to why this could not be nutritionally possible, my inner schizophrenic began to reason and form an argument based on facts. 

"Of the chocolate I would eat in France, just 20 grams out of a 100 gram bar of chocolate would be roughly 125-130 calories. That means that the entire bar of chocolate, all 3.5 ounces of it, would just surpass 600 calories! How is one 15 gram tablespoon of powder more than that?"

"I mean, even a tablespoon of butter is just a little over 100 calories. And it's butter."

Curiosity got the better of me. I peeled off the American nutrition "facts" label, examined the British nutrition information grid, and nearly peed from laughter over the grievous mistake that had been committed. 

Grids are cool.
I do not know what poor soul at Cadbury USA had the responsibility of having to type up the American nutrition label, but I am fairly certain that it was an American who clearly did NOT know the difference between kj and kcal. Either that or they had misread the grid with one flippant glance. 

"I knew there was something wrong!" the voice in my head cheered. "It clearly says on the grid that 100 grams of dry powder are 370 kcal, or 1575 kj. As for the actual 18 gram serving of dry powder, prepared with 200mL of semi-skimmed milk, the concoction is only 165 kcal! Whoever did this label confused the 695 kj with the 165 kcal!"

My inner schizophrenic rejoiced with much rejoicing.

"I uncovered a mistake! I literally uncovered an error by removing the label! My detail-oriented skills have not completely gone to waste! I have faith that I am still a fully-functioning human being! YIPPEE! My life is complete! Ha ha ha!"

...Then I realized that this discovery of someone else's mistake on a food label amounted to being a big whoop by human standards. Yippee. 

Barb the French Bean


  1. Well, at least you can be nutritionally happy now. If it was me, I would have bought it without a second glance. If it tastes good, it's good.

  2. Yay for attention to detail! When I was a kid there was a cartoon about a miniture jumbo jet called Jimbo, made small because the designer didn't know the difference between inches and centimeters.

    I've heard that US Cadbury is but a pale imitation from a lot of people now. Sometimes I don't know why Americans do it to themselves...

  3. Contact the company now. Cadbury will take full responsibility by sending you coupons and freebies. Someone told me that whenever you complain to a company, they do that. I don't like complaining, but felt I had no choice a few weeks ago when a package of cookies I purchased contained these flat stones Wal-Mart tried to pass as cookies. I contacted Glutino about it, and received coupons for five packages of free cookies. Oh, I was in heaven.

  4. First of all Barb it's lovely to see you back. I've missed you. I actually didn't know you yanks did that with foreign food. Are the labels ever so difficult to read? Well the answer seems to be yes if someone actually made that mistake. But you also prove my point that a paranoid person is someone with all the facts who hasn't been proven right yet :) Enjoy your hot chocolate, you've deserved it. You should try Aero hot chocolate if you can get your hands on it, now that stuff is delicious. Though of course, Cadbury's hot chocolate is too.

  5. Did you know that Cadbury was recently taken over by Kraft? That caused a massive stir amongst us Brits, let me tell you. It was headline news for days.


  6. I am holding (not for long)a bar of Lindt & Sprungli smooth dar chocolate. 3.5 oz is 2.5 servings, aprox. 625 calories for the whole bar or 250 calories per serving. Such goodness. When I was young Hersheys was always the first choice because of cost.

  7. I never would have found that mistake(or that alligator) but I think it is very cool that you did. Attention to detail like that is a gift!

    Although I feel compelled to admit, I would have gulped down that chocolate, regardless of the caloric intake, because it is a rare thing indeed to see Cadbury's in a can.

  8. Haha... I don't know! I think that's pretty cool. Next step is to complain to the importers about it. Explain how traumatized it made you - and how a case of ENGLISH Cadbury's drinking chocolate would make all the difference ;-)

  9. Dear kindred spirit,
    I get a warm fuzzy just knowing I'm not the only with the need to unearth stupidity, er, inconsistency.

  10. I get excited over these sort of findings as well, so you are not the only American for whom it's a big deal.

    I still freak out that I once ate a Greek yogurt before I read the label, and then realized I had eaten 14g of fat in one 6oz. yogurt. Needless to say, no matter how good that brand is, I will never eat it again.

  11. Girl this is a discovery to be proud of! Say it loud and say it proud. And I'm with calling Cadbury and nicely sharing the mistake and then asking for a millionty free chocolates.

  12. 324.3 kj = 100 kcal = 3.5 kmarts = 2 kayjewelers (I have no idea what I'm talking about).

    Excellent find, though! Maybe you can sell it on eBay for a hefty amount. Just think of it as a defective baseball card. Those things sell like crazy.

  13. I love that you found this mistake! I know if it were me, I would have picked up the phone right then and there and let them know how awesome I am and how not awesome they are =)

    Enjoy your Cadbury with pride!

  14. Hehe, you sound like my Aunt. I swear she buys stuff just to find mistakes in the ingredients and nutritional details and what not, and then she actually mails/calls/generally harasses the producer about it. We once got a carton of Tang in apology but I don't remember any other direct benefits accrued from her little quirk.
    By the way, I had no idea finding the original Cadbury would be so rare in the USA - I don't know if I can live in a world without a mug of steaming Cadbury goodness every morning.

  15. Wonderful!! Also, I am very relieved and will feel much less guilty if I find some of this stuff.

    Thanks also for explaining why my taste experience of Cadbury in England was so different from it in the USA.

  16. You're wise, girl. Just wise. I would have drank it, then read the 600 calorie label, and then shoved fingers down my throat to barf it up before it took up shop on my waistline. But, I'm totally not wise.

  17. You uncovered a mistake... or one country is lieing to you but which one??

    And I'm totally imaganing cartoon Barb in the classic 'I found something' Zelda pose :)

  18. Okay that was a totally interesting article. I was entranced by the Cyprus tree and lost by the math. All I know is that when I have chocolate, I choose not to look at those unpleasant labels. Sounds like a great trip for sure. Congrats on catching a math and science error. Nicely done. I would have only stared puzzled at the label, and then looked no further and enjoyed my chocolate! LOL

  19. You mean people actually read nutritional labels? Why would anyone do that?

    Morbidly obese America

  20. Did you ever think that maybe Hersheys have the responsibility of re-labeling the british chocolate and that there is some big conspiracy theory whereby they are trying to stop everyone buying UK goods and to eat the 'healthier' US version? Just a thought. Love Elle xo

  21. If I had seen that label, I probably would have thrown it out the window and performed a voodoo thing on myself, to chase the inhaled calroies away. But luckily for you, you are not me, and you are clever enough to see the mistake!


Apparently, leaving comments on this blog is a hit-or-miss game of Russian roulette: you are either lucky and can comment away, or you are required to log in when the settings are CLEARLY set to allow trouble-free commenting (sorry 'bout that, folks). If anything, the Facebook page is always a viable option. :) -Barb