Sometimes one reads stories that seem so ridiculous one has to check the calendar to make sure it is not 1 April.
A case in point is the recent news that the confectionery giant Cadburys has forced a small UK chocolate company to remove the colour purple from the packaging of its Christmas chocolate range. Why? Because Cadburys has claimed rights to the colour purple.
I kid you not.
The Meaningful Chocolate Company is a small UK confectioner which adheres to Fairtrade principles. Its range of chocolate Christmas decorations includes pictures of the Holy Family, and the boxes contain extra material on the true story of Christmas. Chocolate that puts Christ back into Christmas – what a threat that must pose to Cadburys. Their unilateral claim to a colour is breathtaking in its hubris – imperialism lives still. The small company has bowed to the legal threat and adopted a “warm red” for their packaging.
Cadburys’ actions should disturb us. Purple, all other secular issues aside, is the Christian colour for Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas, and for Lent, the season preparing for Easter. It is the colour of repentance. It is the colour of bishops. Will Cadburys seek to force the Church either to abandon the colour purple, or pay royalties for its use? Cadburys is now part of the Kraft multinational conglomerate, but was founded by Quakers. What a betrayal of the company’s heritage! The Meaningful Chocolate Company seems to be far more faithful to Cadburys’ heritage than the modern incarnation of that company itself. And to add insult to injury, another multinational confectionery giant, Nestlé, uses purple in its packaging but there has been no mention of Cadburys firing a legal shot across its bows. So it seems Cadburys are being bullies, pure and simple.
One does not want to get too political, but there is here a subtle attack on Christianity as well as an attack on free trade, fair trade and common sense, and it should not be ignored.
So, boycott Cadburys till they come to their senses. Spread the word! Wear purple this advent and dare Cadburys to sue you for royalties. And buy chocolate Christmas decorations from the (fairtrade) Meaningful Chocolate Company – what a good idea it is. In their boxes you can find the story of Christmas and Christmas activity sets for the kids.
Chocolate that acknowledges Christ. Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to this Christmas, which falls in the midst of the Year of Faith and the launching in earnest of the New Evangelization. Maybe it can be the official chocolate for the New Evangelization?