Chocolate producers creative in downturn

    In one of the few growth industries in the downturned economy, chocolate producers have maintained healthy bottom lines

    When times get tough, the tough eat chocolate. In one of the few growth industries in the downturned economy, chocolate producers have maintained healthy bottom lines. But that doesn’t mean they have a Golden Ticket.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090710pcchocolate.mp3]

    Max Brenner is a modern-day Willy Wonka. The international retailer of chocolate bases his business on fantasy and sensuality. One of his items is an oval hot chocolate cup shaped to fit inside your cupped palms.

    Brenner: When I drink hot chocolate – first thing that comes to mind, rainy day, hugging hot chocolate under a blanket.

    Economists say chocolate is attractive in a depressed economy because it is relatively cheap and psychologically satisfying.

    But the Hershey Company is trimming expenses. The largest producer of chocolate in the North America announced they are closing their online and catalog operations at the end of the month, saying only that it is not a sustainable operation. They reported profit increases last year.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.