Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Salty Battle of the Big Chocolate Brands: Godiva vs Lindt vs Wal-Mart

Two of the most competitive chocolate bar brands that can be found on food retailer shelves are Godiva and Lindt. Also, some of the larger retailers sell competitive chocolate under their own store brand, such as Wal-Mart's Our Finest brand. 

What often happens between these competitors is, when one offers a new flavour and it becomes successful, the others quickly follow suit and offer the same flavour. This is precisely what happened with the oh-so-popular 'sea salt (or Fleur de Sel) and dark chocolate' flavour first offered by Lindt, then Godiva and now Walmart came out with their own sea salt chocolate bars.  So if you like your dark chocolate salty, and you just don't know which chocolate to choose, this article is for you!

I started by comparing Lindt and Godiva's chocolate bars. I found that Godiva's 100 gram 50% Dark Chocolate Sea Salt bar has chunky pieces of sea salt in it, which leaves little bits of savoury salt behind to enjoy once the chocolate has melted away.  Whereas Lindt Excellence's 100 gram Sea Salt Dark chocolate bar offers a smoother experience.  There is slightly more sweetness in taste from the Lindt bar (Lindt's has 47% cocoa solids and Godiva's has 50% cocoa solids). Overall, both bars are on the sweet side.

Walmart's Our Finest SEA SALT SWISS DARK CHOCOLATE is very similar in size (also 100 grams) and in concept, but it was bitter in comparison. So if you prefer your dark chocolate to actually be 'dark', then this one certainly has a higher cacao content (sugar is not the first ingredient).  I certainly must have enjoyed it because the entire thing is gone!

So the verdict?  I compared the taste, the texture and the ingredients lists, and based on that I can give you the following recommendations to help you choose...
  • As for flavour and taste, if you like true dark chocolate (i.e. above 50% cocoa solids), choose the Wal-Mart brand or other brands like Saxon 70% Dark with Sea Salt or Soma's Starry Night or even Montreal's Suite 88 NOIR chocolate.
  • If you prefer a sweeter salty dark chocolate, go for the Godiva or Lindt brands.
  • If you like your salt chunky, choose Godiva, but if you want a very smooth chocolate with no crunchy bits in it, choose Lindt.
  • If you have a peanut allergy, you can choose the Wal-mart or Godiva brands, but NOT Lindt. 
  • If you have a wheat or gluten allergy, you can choose the Lindt brand, but NOT Wal-mart or Godiva.
  • If you have a tree nut or soy allergy, stay away from all three chocolate bars!
  • Lindt's contains 'artificial flavour', whereas Godiva's and Walmart's Our Finest both contain 'natural flavour' - so choose based on your preference.
  • If you choose your chocolate based on where it is made, then I can tell you that Lindt's and Wal-Mart's bars are made in Switzerland (i.e. Swiss chocolate), and Godiva's chocolate is made in Belgium but the salt is from Guérande, a small area in the west of France. Godiva is the only brand that tells us where the sea salt came from. They also tell us that this is one of the purest sea salts in the world and considered the 'caviar of salt'.
I hope that helps!  Here are the package details (so you can compare for yourself) from all three chocolate bars:

GODIVA Chocolatier Dark Chocolate SEA SALT, 50% Cacao, 100g
Distributed by Godiva Chocolatier (New York, N.Y.), but made in Belgium.
Ingredients: Bittersweet Chocolate (unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, butteroil (milk), soy lecithin (emulsifier), natural flavour). Guérande salt. May contain tree nuts and wheat.

Lindt EXCELLENCE SEA SALT Dark, 47% Cocoa Solids, 100g
Imported by Lindt & Sprüngli (Toronto, ON) but made in Switzerland.
Ingredients: Sugar, cocoa mass, cocoa buter, milk fat, soya lecithin, sea salt (fleur de sel), artificial flavour. May contain peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Cacao: 47% minimum.

Our Finest SEA SALT Swiss Dark Chocolate, 100g
Imported for Wal-mart Canada Corp. (Mississauga, ON) but Product of Switzerland.
Ingredients: Cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, butter fat, sea salt, natural flavour. Contains: Milk. May contain: soy, tree, nuts, wheat.


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  4. The chocolate world is a many-tiered one. On one end, you have your big box stores like Wal-Mart, on the other hand, you have exquisite chocolatiers like Godiva and Lindt. In the middle, you have your mass market producers who sell to both ends of the spectrum. It's a constant battle for market share and each side has its own unique strategies.

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