One of the world’s largest chocolate companies is making some key secrets about chocolate public in order to protect the world’s supply of chocolate that is being threatened by climate change.
Companies such as Mars Inc. and Hershey’s Chocolate have experienced shortages of the cocoa plant in recent years. The cocoa plant is the primary ingredient that is used to make chocolate. In response to this problem, the companies quickly got to work at trying to uncover the mysteries of the plant’s genetic code.
Now, as a means of finding a solution, Mars is releasing its findings to both the public and its competitors. By sharing this data, Mars is hoping that genomic data about the plant will be able to be obtained more easily. Such data might show how particular strains of the cocoa plant resist disease and work towards surviving climate change.
Food companies have adopted similar “pre-competitive” research tactics in the past. For instance, Nestlé and Kellogg teamed up in 2011 in order to study microbes that affect the stomach. Mars also recently worked with dozens of competing companies to establish a food safety center in China. The food safety center opened last month.
Chief science officer of Mars Harold Schmitz said, “It is our belief that it is in everyone’s best interest for the market to be safe.”
Food companies are recognizing that preventing a potential crisis is more important than maintaining an edge over their competition. Therefore, the companies are willing to put their differences aside in order to prevent consumer backlash against their respective industries. By making the entire industry safer, companies will be able to maintain the trust of the public.
Ultimately, it comes down to money. However, the trend of food companies working together for the purpose of safety is good for consumers as well. In the case of Mars, it means that the world is less likely to experience a shortage of chocolate.