All those stock reports and numbers and charts cause my eyes to glaze over, and the headlines in the articles are about businesses I have, more often than not, never heard of.
But recently one of those headlines caught my eye and focused my attention on some disturbing news. It concerned the possible sale of Cadbury of British chocolate fame. Perhaps the timing of the news caused me to read on.
You see, just a few days previous, as I cleaned out the refrigerator to make space for the plethora of leftovers that grows daily during holidays (and shrinks ever so slowly), hidden in a far-reaching corner of a vegetable bin, was an Easter Cadbury Creme Egg. Please don't think for a minute that I had not cleaned the refrigerator in eight or nine months. (Well, go ahead and count... blame the maid... who lives only in my dreams.)
I will admit that I recall picking up a few Cadburys when they were on sale after Easter. And no doubt, I hid a couple since some of my kin like to prowl in the fridge, and I wouldn't want to be guilty of offering such sinful food to a loved one. A hidden Cadbury, when found months later by the hider, is even more delicious, and more sinful, than one just purchased and enjoyed in the midst of other goodies. My carelessness in forgetting about the hidden treasure is a troubling indication that I really am getting forgetful. The only comfort derived from that is how tasty that Creme Egg was after me being on the Cadbury wagon all those months.
After a few days, another item appeared in the newspaper's business section. This time I went to the Web to get clarification. It seems that Cadbury was founded in the 1800s. The first shop was established by John Cadbury in Birmingham, England. It grew through the "hard work and vision" of his two sons, Richard and George, the Cadbury brothers. The traditional recipe is still in use today. Americans were blessed in 1988 when Hershey Foods Corporation acquired a license to manufacture and sell Cadbury products in the United States. My chocolate dream, the Cadbury Creme Egg, is sold only during the Easter season. A license to manufacture and sell is not the same as ownership, and thereby hangs this chocolate tale.
That dreaded phrase, a "hostile takeover" bid, has been offered by - of all things! - Kraft Foods Incorporated. Although I love cheese, and Kraft cheese in particular, almost as much as I love chocolate, this fruit-basket-turnover somehow seems a little contradictory. First reports mentioned that Hershey and Ferrero were making preliminary approaches as well, which certainly makes more sense to unsuspecting consumers. Later reports do not mention these companies, but do confirm the possibility of Kraft selling its North American frozen pizza business to Nestle's. Looks like the fruit basket (or box of chocolates) will come full circle. Nestle's long-ago song/slogan, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle's Makes the Very Best... Chocolate," is still music to my ears. It just doesn't mix well with pizza.
Since I don't have stock in any of the companies involved, I'll just wait around until Easter to see what happens.
Each time this kind of trade occurs, we hope the new company has successfully transferred the original recipe for our beloved product. We are always given assurances that nothing will change, followed a few months later by new packaging, new pricing, new slogans, and, of course, new tastes. Marketing departments operate on the assumption that the public wants "new" and "improved" versions of old favorites. If they could only realize that our favorites were our favorites because of their tastes, and that we love the familiarity of the packaging and the slogans! Their focus remains on attracting new customers and not on pleasing their faithful, longtime devoted customers. Only time will tell, and in the meantime, I presume Hershey's will continue to produce Cadbury products.
I have not found another Creme Egg in the deep recesses of the fridge or freezer, but as soon as this year's version is stocked on the grocer's shelves, I plan to stockpile a dozen or so. That could happen any day now.
Valentines were prominently displayed on Dec. 26, and, since there is obviously no danger of melting chocolate in the foreseeable future, Easter items can show up any day. Until then, I'll have to settle for the Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that I have stashed in a spot known only to me. I visit it every day, so it's not likely that I can forget where it is. As for the Creme Eggs, when I get them, I will make notes on each month on my desk calendar reminding me where they are hidden. The Easter Bunny has nothing on me. In fact, his days are limited. With a little creative "squirreling" and some wise self-control, my eggs can last from one Easter to the next!
Juanita Hughes is the retired manager of the Woodstock Public Library.