Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where is the Red in Raspberry?

One topic that I find interesting is: expectations versus reality. Why? Well, our expectations completely dictate what our experiences will be, especially when it comes to food. I expected, when I bought a milk chocolate bar that advertised a 'raspberry-flavoured filling' to find a raspberry-coloured filling inside the bar. My expectation to find a bright reddish coloured filling also came from the large images of red raspberries that were printed on the front of the package, and from the ingredients that specifically listed "raspberry paste" and "food colour: beets juice concentrate". So you can imagine my surprise when I opened the package and bit into my first piece and the filling was white. 

Ummm....what happened to the "food colour: beets juice concentrate"?  Are beets not reddish coloured? I guess it did not work as well as a colouring as they thought it would?  Also, how does raspberry paste turn white?  This simple surprise immediately caused me to be suspicious of the chocolate bar and its manufacturer. I could no longer enjoy the chocolate because my expectations did not match up to reality.

As for the taste? It was great: a strong bitter raspberry flavour somehow came through in the all-sugar filling, and a milk chocolate flavour that somehow paired well with the filling. There was no strong gross artificial raspberry flavour as some chocolate bars have, and there also was no strong alcohol flavour.  I was also happy that they used real raspberry flavouring, as opposed to artificial, although the milk chocolate coating had some strange additives and artificial "vanillin" flavour.  Why use real raspberry if you are not going to use real vanilla?

So although the chocolate tasted great, my experience was not great because my expectations were not met.  It is not that I find it necessary that the chocolate bar have a red raspberry colour in it, it is just that I thought it would, and was surprised by its actual colour.  That caused suspicion, making me wonder where all the colour went and if the company had somehow forgot to add the raspberry paste and beet powder that was listed on the ingredients. And if they forgot that, then what else is wrong on the ingredients listing? It also made me wonder: what was the chemical process used to cause the raspberry paste and beet powder to turn white?  And, did the company somehow save money by removing the colour?  Or does a white filling sell more chocolate bars than a red coloured filling? All these suspicions caused me to enjoy the taste of the chocolate less than I would have, had the raspberry filling simply been as I expected it to be.

So how could the company have changed anything to make my experience better? Well, they do not necessarily need to change their chocolate, the flavour was good.  But perhaps remove or shrink the giant red raspberries on the front of the package and replace them with an image of the actual chocolate and its filling instead. Or go with no image at all and let the consumer have no expectations when they open the package. Sometimes I find that chocolate is better when I have no expectations.

Please note though, the German description on the package includes "...mit Himbeer-Creme-Fullung", meaning "with raspberry cream filling".  The English description left the "cream" part out, so perhaps German-speaking consumers would have understood that it is a cream filling that might be white coloured.  But I still would have thought a raspberry cream would be raspberry coloured.

Here are the details from the wrapping of the chocolate bar that I tasted today:

Porta Himbeer Milk Chocolate with Raspberry Flavoured Filling, 100g (3.5 oz)
Ludwig Weinrich GmbH & Co. (Made in Germany)
Ingredients: milk chocolate: sugar, cocoa mass, whole millk powder, cocoa butter, whey powder, emulsifiers: soya lecithin, polyglycerol polyricinoleate; flavour: vanillin. Filling (42%): sugar, glucose syrup, citric acid, alcohol, humectant: invertase; raspberry paste, food colour: red beets juice concentrate, flavour: raspberry.  Cocoa solids: 30% minimum in the chocolate content. Milk solids: 8%. May contain traces of hazelnuts, almonds and wheat components.


  1. Hi,
    It's exactly how I felt & what I expected but does't it taste like somethig from makitoch quality street? or am I mistaken or berhaps I forgot about it. It tastes good yeah but I wanted something filled with syrupy raspberries too :/
    where I live it's also available with cherry, banana or orange filling but this is the last time I'm gonna buy this bar really :(

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