Susan Glasser and Peter Baker are veteran political journalists who closely covered the presidency of Donald Trump, he as the New York Times chief White House correspondent, she as a…
A relative of the Quaker family that gave their name to one of the world’s most famous brands of chocolate, Deborah Cadbury tells us about the 150-year rivalry between the world’s greatest chocolate makers.
- Deborah Cadbury Award-winning documentary producer for the BBC, and the author of seven books.
MS. SUSAN PAGEThanks for joining us I'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm. She'll be back on Monday. Chocolate is a global industry worth more than $50 billion a year. But when it began in the mid 19th century, just a few powerhouse families controlled the trade. A new book by a descendent of the Cadbury chocolate dynasty tells how the confection revolutionized the food industry and how her family's Quaker ideals influenced others in the business.
MS. SUSAN PAGEThe book is titled, "Chocolate Wars" and Deborah Cadbury joins me in the studio. Welcome to "The Diane Rehm Show" we're glad to have you here from London.
MS. DEBORAH CADBURYGood morning.
PAGEWe invite our listeners to join our conversation. Later in this hour you can call our toll free number 1-800-433-8850. You can always send us an e-mail at email@example.com or find us on Twitter or Facebook. So your name is Cadbury I'm sure you've had a lifetime of people asking if you're related to the chocolate Cadburys. What is your relationship to those two Cadbury brothers who started this company?
CADBURYThere has been some absolutely charming reviews even suggesting I'm a descendent from Willy Wonka which I'm sorry to tell you is not the case. The story I grew up with was that going back five generations there were two brothers and one made pearl buttons, those exquisite you know Victorian mother-of-pearl buttons and the other made chocolate buttons.
CADBURYNow I'm descended from the pearl button brother but it did put me in a unique position to write the book because I'd grown up with the knowledge you know right from the earliest days about this wonderful chocolate factory in the family. And I knew all about the aspirations of the chocolate forebears but at the same time I had my editorial independence not writing about my immediate family.
PAGESo tell us about how Cadbury was founded?
CADBURYWell it began with a cocoa and tea shop in the middle of Birmingham in 1824. A very far-sighted forebear had said to his youngest son you know why don't you go to the colonial market in London and look at this remarkable new commodity, cocoa and see if you think there might be a business in it. And of course you know you have to take your mind back to an age when there was no notion of mass-produced confectionary. You couldn't just go to the shop and buy wonderful chocolates.
CADBURYAnd it wasn't immediately obvious that there was going to be a business in it. But John Cadbury thought there was and he started a little cocoa shop.
PAGEAnd there were some challenges initially in getting kind of chocolate to work as a treat. What were kind of the challenges with making it work?
CADBURYWell it really, the cocoa that people were drinking in the early 1800s was nothing like the cocoa we have today because there was no easy way of separating out the cocoa fats from the rest of the bean. And so it was a drink that could be visibly oily you know. I don't think we'd relish it today and Victorian manufacturers would typically add lentils or pearl barley or really unscrupulous manufacturers were even adding brick dust and poisons like red lead. So it was not at all the sort of the scrumptious thing that we sort of relish today.
PAGESo who figured out how to make it work?
CADBURYAh, we're into John's sons, George and Richard Cadbury because what happened was John really struggled and went into manufacturing. He thought there was a future in cocoa but he never really managed to crack it and eventually he got ill. But his sons at really quite a young age took over, George and Richard at 21 and 25 and they were determined to turn the business around. It was a loss making business in the center of Birmingham.
CADBURYAnd they figured out a way of separating out the fats from the rest of the bean and started to have a business that made sense. You know they could make a pure cocoa, a soluble cocoa and also these wonderful exquisite what they called fancy boxes which were like the first chocolate confections.
PAGESo Susan Nabors the producer who worked on this show this morning brought in some big bars of chocolate, Lindt Classic recipe, Cadbury Dairymilk, Hershey's chocolate and you know it's interesting you write about the ways in which these manufacturers from their earliest days sought to distinguish themselves in ways that these brands still represent. For instance Lindt, the Lindt chocolate bar says finest creamy smooth milk chocolate. That's really been their selling point from the beginning hasn't it?
CADBURYYes, well at the time that Richard and George were just working out you know that there was such a product as massed produced chocolate in a chocolate bar Rudolph Lindt hadn't even started working out how to create his extra smooth chocolate. That would come later. The Cadburys and the Frys were another big family in England who worked out that chocolate bars were really where the market was with cocoa and they got a very popular product. And the fancy boxes that the Cadburys came up with were unlike anything Victorians had ever seen.
CADBURYYou know you opened the lid and the scent of this rich, dark chocolate. It was sort of like the opposite of Quaker austerity and Puritan values and you know on no account were the senses to be indulged and this was the ultimate in luxury. So while they were doing that the Swiss were on to some very clever new recipes of their own and Rudolph Lindt as you, as you rightly say worked out how to make it extra smooth. It was a process called, 'conching' and it made it milky smooth. It just melted in the mouth. And he rapidly gained in popularity.
CADBURYAnd he also had a rival called Daniel Peter who worked out how to add milk to chocolate which isn't as easy as it sounds and come up with milk chocolate so the chocolate wars were beginning to intensify in the late 19th century.
PAGENow you talked about Quaker capitalism. What does that mean?
CADBURYWell what I found amazing and I suppose one of the reasons why I started to write the book and you know seeing in the credit crunch one business after another collapsing with the owners sort of walking away with vast payouts and no sense of responsibility for the company it made me really feel what's missing and it just took me back to the stories my father had told me about the Quaker business. Because really what the Quakers were trying to do was apply Christian values to their business and it led to some things that we would feel were bizarre today.
CADBURYYou know it just doesn't tally with the way business is conducted in Wall Street and the city now. The idea that wealth creation was only for personal gain was seen as really shameful. Everyone was meant to benefit. Reckless or irresponsible debts were seen as shameful. These really stern Quaker directives said that no man was to venture into worldly business beyond what he can manage honorably so he can keep his words with all men.
CADBURYEven advertising was seen as dishonest which seems bizarre but you know it was seen as puffery and elevating the message above the product so very austere rules governed it.
PAGENow you during your childhood Cadbury was the largest confectioner in the world but in the late 2009 Kraft mounted a hostile takeover of Cadbury and acquired it. So has that affected that long-standing ethos in the Cadbury company?
CADBURYI think it's too early. We're going to have to wait and see because what we show essentially over the book by following the story of four generations of Cadbury brothers and their rivals we see what happened to these Quaker values and how hard it was to sustain as business rivalry became more intense. So effectively we see a transition from what I call Quaker capitalism which I suppose is loosely defined as a business where all the stakeholders have to be considered, the workforce, the community and society at large.
CADBURYTo our modern form of shareholder capitalism, global shareholder capitalism of which Kraft and indeed Cadbury in its final form were a part and you know we see the transition and we see the gains and losses and there is some quite distinctive features of that Kraft takeover which highlight the contrast.
PAGEWhat are those?
CADBURYWell I suppose what struck me was the changing notion of ownership. You know those Quaker stewards were constantly building long-term value for their business. That was what they were all about as owners whether it was creating a new brand like Dairymilk or whether it was investing in the Bourneville factory. Now by the end of Kraft's bid which took six months hedge funds owned 30 percent of Cadbury. So you had this curious situation which happens in today's business world where people who hadn't owned the company a few weeks earlier and had no intention of owning the company Cadbury a few weeks later, were in a position to determine whether or not it survived and they were prepared to do that for just 20p profit if they bought in at 8 pounds they'd sell for 8 pound 20.
CADBURYSo you've got the very opposite of that long-term Quaker stewardship. You've got a real short-termism at the heart of our business culture and it's that that I'm really questioning and probing.
PAGEWell in fact you write in the book that this your, you see your book as a modest challenge to craft on how to proceed.
CADBURYYes, I think really the challenge for Irene Rosenfeldt and for Kraft is to see in what way they can carry forward those really, in England they're famous, those iconic Cadbury values. Going back to those early pioneers what they did as soon as they were able, as soon as they managed to crack their glorious confections they started to divert money from the business into the community and build this utopian village. I don't know if you've heard of Bourneville?
CADBURYBur Bourneville was, I mean it was sort of like this dream workplace before pensions were required by law or unemployment benefit or sickness benefit was required by law the Quakers were providing it. There was every conceivable recreational facility. The old pictures are marvelous. They sort of show these women in lovely flowing dresses from the factory playing croquet or sitting by the lily pond. You know they were wonderful recreational facilities.
CADBURYAnd then you know they built this entire village around workers' cottages with churches and colleges and schools so really took care of the whole workforce.
PAGEAnd sad for the family I guess when Kraft managed to take over the company?
CADBURYWell it was no longer a private Quaker firm. That had been lost in the 60s but there were Cadburys still at the helm of the firm right up till 2000. But by the time of the takeover in the new millennium there were no Cadburys left in the firm.
PAGEWe're talking with Deborah Cadbury about her new book. It's called, "Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers". When we come back we'll talk about some of those American chocolate makers, stay with us.
PAGEWelcome back. I'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm. We're talking with Deborah Cadbury. She's a writer and documentary producer for the BBC. She's a descendant of the Cadbury Chocolate family and she's written a new book. The book's called "Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers." We're going to go to the phones soon. You can call us. Our phone lines are now open, 1-800-433-8850 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. So we talked before the break about some of the European chocolate makers. Some big names in your book though from the World of American Chocolate, including Milton Hershey. Now, was he also a Quaker capitalist?
CADBURYHe had values which in many ways were similar. And Milton came from a fascinating background because his mother was a Mennonite, which had the similar kind of austerity and real puritan values which he --you know, he really aspired and followed these principles. But at the same time his father was a great believer in the all American dream. You know, the world was his for the taking. And they -- if he thought big enough and really took on the world he would win through. But unfortunately for Hershey it wasn't that easy. You know, it was a childhood of really quite severe poverty and two failed businesses and a lawsuit before he finally started to crack it with his recipe for caramels.
CADBURYAnd when he made good with caramels -- I mean, he did believe in his father's dream and he just decided seeing how chocolate was taking off in Europe around about 1900, he just decided to sell off his caramel business and stake everything on chocolate.
PAGEAnd he had a kind of utopian workplace community as well, didn't he?
CADBURYThat's right. Just around the time he was doing this the Cadburys had created Bournville and it looks very much as though he may have visited Bournville or read about it, because he embarked on something so incredibly similar. He wanted to apply -- he wanted to -- he was living the American dream. He'd had success now. He was a millionaire with his caramel factory and really looked up to in the community. And he wanted to take it further and create a model community just like Bournville. So he started to build Hershey in the cornfields of Pennsylvania and, you know, it was to be a model workplace for the workforce. And all the principles, which, you know, the Quakers were applying in England, he was applying in Pennsylvania.
PAGEWe also have Forrest Mars, another great American chocolate maker. And I wonder -- and with a different attitude toward the purpose of such a business.
CADBURYYeah, Forrest Mars comes on just slightly later. And he really was a brilliant entrepreneur because by the time Forrest Mars is coming on the scene in the 1920s, you're talking about a market where it's quite clear chocolate is a very popular product and you've got some big players like Hershey who was selling his Hershey bar from coast-to-coast. So, you know, it really did take some guts to go into that market with new ideas. And Forrest Mars did. And he didn't really apply religious values. It was, how can I make this business work?
CADBURYHis breakthrough was to realize that he could combine chocolate with cheaper ingredients like nougat or peanuts or caramels and actually come up with what is known in the trade as a count line, like Milky Way or Mars bar. And this just happened to coincide with the great depression. So, you know, something that was gonna really fill hungry stomachs. And it just took off. You know, a million bars in a year kind of thing.
PAGELaunched Milk Way in 1924 and still going strong. Well, I wonder if you would read an excerpt from your book that deals with Forrest Mars and his attitudes.
CADBURYHe really was a very driven businessman, and I suppose in contrast to the Quaker pioneers that are highlighted in England who would bring in their workers sometimes to pray to God over a difficult business issue. I was very struck by a description in "Fortune" where once he gained control of his father's company as well as uniting it with his own, he called a board meeting and he called everyone in. And he sort of sank to his knees at the boardroom table and said, I'm a religious man. And everyone was watching mesmerized, you know. What's this brilliant but very difficult entrepreneur going to say next? And he said, I pray for the Milky Way, and there was a long pause. I pray for Snickers, and no one said a word. But his message was really clear, his pres with the profits. And he expected nothing less than the same religious fervor from the staff. A very different scene from the one almost a hundred years ago when George Cadbury asked his Bournville staff to join him in prayer. But effectively what he's saying is money is the new religion and really encapsulating that in that scene.
CADBURYSo Forrest Mars perhaps more in line with today's capitalism than the Quaker capitalism of the Cadburys when they started this. Well, let's talk to David. He's calling us from Chapel Hill, N.C. David, thank you so much for joining us.
PAGEYes, David, you're on the air.
DAVIDHi. Thank you very much for taking my call. I just wanted to say how delightful it is to hear this story of the beginnings and how Cadbury ran its business with this whole idea of stewardship and the idea of looking -- having a social conscience, and being aware of the responsibilities to other people. I mean, it was awfully brilliant to hear this and I really think that if we had more of this in this day and age that we wouldn't be suffering from the problems that we have today. I also wanted to just share a small little personal antidote story.
DAVIDI was in England as a young man. I'm in my late fifties now. But I was living -- I was passing through Norwich and there happened to been a Cadbury factory nearby. And at the time I was sort of like a hippy traveling around with no money, no food. And one night as I was putting up my tent in a small park in Norwich I smelled this delicious chocolate. It's night, and I followed the smell to what turned out to be sort of the refuse dumpster of the Cadbury factory there. And I said, my gosh, how wonderful. And I saw all this chocolate and nuts and things. And then a door opened up and it was the floor manager of the Cadbury factory there. And he said to me, what are you doing here, and I explained to him very briefly that I don't have any money or food. Anyway for the next few days I feasted and survived on Cadbury chocolate.
DAVIDSo I wanted to thank you very much. I really didn't have a chance to thank the Cadbury family for that but they helped me survive those few days. And it was a very sweet time for me.
DAVIDAnyway I know that's corny but I just wanted to share that with you online.
PAGEDavid, thank you so much for your car. Well, do you think that the loss of that Quaker ethic resonates today as it clearly does with David?
CADBURYYes. Thank you for your call, David. I think it really does resonate today because I think what happened is that as, you know, businesses have become larger and larger to the point where, you know, it's quite hard to -- responsibility seems to be broken down. It's fragmented. So, for example, in England alone Roundtree, Frye and McIntosh and Cadbury have all ended up either part of Nestle or part of Kraft. Now, Nestle is a huge concern with something like 500 factories and a billion products sold a day worldwide. Kraft is the second largest food company.
CADBURYAnd what happens is that communities like Bournville seem to be displaced because, you know, the management is on another continent. And it's as though in our modern form of shareholder capitalism, who's responsible? It's so dispersed with increasing scale that that's sort of the charming sense of responsibility. Austerity in the real old sense of the word, which came as public duty, which I was reading about with my forbearers you know, I felt put to shame, quite frankly because they were working in the factory from, like, 6:00 in the morning 'til 8 or 9:00 at night. And themselves, you know, just living off bread and butter trying to make the business work in the early days. And then Sundays they'd be waking up and going, really at the crack of dawn, to help with adult literacy programs in the slums or to help in the workhouse, or all sorts of things like that. So I think that public duty, that public spiritedness that you're talking about, I think it really is missing and people do miss it.
PAGEAnd of course you lose that sense of connection to a particular community that, you know, was so valuable with your family's factories when it was an enterprise just there and not a kind of global -- part of a global concern.
CADBURYYeah, I think the worry for the workforce, and certainly there were a lot of anxieties at the time of the takeover that the worker becomes a mere commodity swelling the red column in some balance sheet on another continent. They're not something that matters in the way that mattered for the Quakers, where they said that the real goal for an employer is to try to seek for each individual the fullest life of which they may be capable. And that was really what lay behind all the schemes to try to improve the health and provide for them in old age and so on and so forth.
PAGENow, that's not to say there aren't some advantages so the global capitalism in which we live today. And also not to say that there's any prospect of rolling back the clock so that we would not have such global companies, but certainly an issue to continue to discuss. Let's talk to Martin calling us from Baltimore. Martin, hi.
MARTINHi. Hi, Deborah.
MARTINThank you. I'm from Guinea and I grew up, you know, knowing about Cadbury and Frye.
MARTINYou had a lot of offices, you know, buying cocoa.
MARTINUntil recently Guinea was the world leading producer of cocoa...
MARTIN...the world and -- yes -- and one of the best. And so -- but what I'm saying is I know all the Cadbury and Hershey and all these have made billions and billions of money out of chocolate, out of cocoa. What are you doing, or what have they done to help countries like in Guinea, Ivory Coast and other countries that are producing this cocoa and making all the dirty job.
MARTINWhat have they done...
MARTIN... especially you know, all this, multinationals and they are still doing it, making Africa and the other producing countries very poor.
CADBURYYeah, I think you raise a really important point. And I think it's one where our modern form of shareholder capitalism is not well placed to address it. You know, there are some things which for all that we value our free markets our modern form of capitalism can't solve, because as you rightly point out, the topic today is multinationals. You know, these huge international concerns. The chief executives might be making well in excess of 20 million a year, while the cocoa grower in Guinea or in Ivory Coast might only be making $2 a day. Now, capitalism has not sorted out this problem and I think it needs to. I totally agree with you that this is a problem which, you know, we're all part of the system which is asking for cheaper chocolate.
CADBURYAnd each one of us can actually play a part in changing this. Effectively every single person, every single chocolate lover has got to vote with their purse because no matter what difficulty facing us all in the credit crunch, whether we've lost our job or, you know, all the problems that there may be. You know, if you by fair trade cocoa or indeed others using these ethical schemes which are trying to promote fair trade you can try to help solve this problem. And I really sympathize. I know exactly what you're talking about and I know how important it is and it should be addressed.
PAGEI'm Susan Page and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." Now, you talked about fair trade cocoa. Tell us what that means.
CADBURYOkay. What fair trade is all about is it was an organization founded in 1992 by various Christian organizations in the world develop movement. And what it does is it guarantees a minimum price of $1600 per ton to cocoa producers, even if world cocoa prices fall below this level. And also premiums help the community. Now Cadbury, just before it was taken over, did an industry leading move and tried to -- and converted its leading brand Dairy Milk into fair trade cocoa from Guinea and created a working with a cap of cocoa cooperative to produce fair trade cocoa. So I feel it's a very important advance and there are other ethical schemes as well.
PAGENow, you said that people who love chocolate can vote with your purse by trying to buy chocolate that's produced using fair trade cocoa. So how would a buyer know?
CADBURYYou have to look for the label, and fair trade does carry a label. And there are indeed other schemes. I mean, Kraft is a great proponent of the rain forest scheme. I feel with some urgency there needs to be some independent assessment about which of these schemes actually genuinely address the injustices of trade. And then consumers need to be educated so that they go out and, as you say, vote with their purse.
PAGEWe were glad to hear from Martin who comes from Guinea now living in Baltimore. Talk a little about the history of the links between the slave trade and cocoa beans.
CADBURYWell, the Quakers were campaigners against the slave trade. And it's because of Quaker initiatives that the first slavery movements and anti-slavery movements were initiated. What's happened recently is that it seems to have emerged in a different form in that there seems to be a lot of growing evidence of child trafficking in Ivory Coast. Now, unfortunately there are -- I think most American companies are buying from Ivory Coast. The International Labor Organization, a member of the UN has estimated there could be as many as 200,000 child labors in Ivory Coast, of which 12,000 are estimated to be the victims of trafficking. So, you know, there really are serious concerns here to be addressed.
PAGESo certainly serious modern day concerns, but there was, I guess, a liable trial in 1910 with the Cadburys...
PAGE...that the company was profiting from slavery.
CADBURYQuite right. They had just set up their utopian village and, you know, were at the height of their reputation as philanthropic employers when it became -- this rumor started to emerge that the Portuguese were actually using slave labor in some of -- in one of the colonies where Cadbury was buying its beans. And looking back I suppose you see why the -- there are lessons to be learned from it. You can see how the Quaker capitalists were able to address this problem in perhaps a way which today's share owners can't do.
CADBURYBecause what they did was, first of all, all the Quaker companies joined together, Roundtrees, Fryes and Cadburys and they started a proper investigation to find out whether the rumors were true. And this was not a whitewashing investigation. It was an investigation to get to the bottom of it. They then presented the evidence to the foreign office and the Portuguese authorities to try to get a change in conditions. And when that failed they organized a boycott. Now, we've had reports today of child trafficking for at least ten years. And I would dearly love to see the multinationals, you know, go about trying to tackle the problem with the same -- you know, really getting to the bottom of it.
PAGEYes, we'd like to see that. Was it -- since the Quakers had taken the lead against slavery was it anguishing for the family to have these questions about profiting from the slave trade?
CADBURYAt the time in 1900.
CADBURYI think so. I think it was a difficult time for the family. But obviously I couldn't go back into -- You know, this is before...
PAGEWe're talking with Deborah Cadbury. She's written a new book. It's called "Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers." You know, she talked about a eutopic kind of village that her family's company had, Bournville. We have a caller whose father grew up there in Bournville. We hope she'll hold on and we'll talk to her after we take a short break. We're going to read your e-mails to email@example.com. Hold on.
SUSAN PAGEHere's an e-mail we've gotten from Linda writing us from Stewartstown, Pa. She says, "Around 1944, 1945 my nana lived in Bournville. Sweets were rationed and scarce and so when my uncle and mother took me to the Cadbury factory it was like going to heaven. I was about four with Shirley Temple hair and the workers fell in love with me, sat me on a counter and filled me with as many chocolates as I could manage. What a lovely memory – one of my first." And we also have a caller who has some personal recollections of Bournville, which is the village built around the Cadbury plant. Celia's calling us from Arlington, Va., Celia, hi.
CELIAHi, good morning. Thank you so much for taking my call.
PAGEThank you for calling. So tell us your story.
CELIAWell, I actually – your show brings back many memories because I actually grew up – was lucky enough to grow up in Bournville in the '60s and '70s and my father worked at the Cadbury factory. And hearing Deborah Cadbury talk about her book reminds me of the houses there and when the Cadbury family moved out from Central Birmingham and built the utopian village Bournville. They insisted on indoor sanitation, which was rare at the time. And, also, on three fruit trees in every garden, two apples and one pear tree, because every family should eat fresh fruit. And how parks radiated out from the factory in spokes so that all the workers could walk to work through parkland and how enlightened that was for the time.
PAGEAnd so your memories are all very fond ones.
CELIAI went to Bournville Elementary School off Linden Road right opposite the Cadbury factory and I remember sitting in my kindergarten class and you – the –if it was getting to rain you could always smell the cocoa – very, very strongly.
CELIASo – and, of course, being in England it rained a lot so you could often smell the cocoa when you were in class and, yes, I have just terrific memories of growing up there and what a great environment it was.
PAGEAll right. Thank you so much for that recollection, Celia.
CADBURYThat was a lovely story. I mean you're quite right. They had ideas which today are coming back into fashion because they really believed that each member of staff should be able to grow their own vegetables. And so they made sure that there were only about six or seven houses per acre and everyone had huge gardens. And before they even rented out these houses or sold the houses they planted them up with fruit trees so that you would always look out across a vista of fruit blossom in the spring. There were things like that that were really thought through to try to make a lovely experience.
CADBURYBut what I forgot to say was how incredibly successful it was because people think, oh, well, you know, doing good can't possibly help the business. But at the time in the, you know, 19th century there was something like 4,000 Quaker families running 74 Quaker British banks and over 200 companies, many of which are household names, like Barkley's and Lloyds, you know, big banks today, Clark Shoes, Kay's Shoes, Huntley and Palmer Biscuits, Wedgwood's China, all sorts of firms and all sorts of directions were run by Quakers. So it was a much bigger movement than we perhaps realize now.
PAGENow, we have an e-mail from Brian who's writing us from Ferndale, Mich. saying that you had talked of the utopian village created by Cadbury. The same idea tried in Hershey, Pa. by Milton Hershey and near Chicago by Pullman but he writes, "What was the reaction of the Cadbury family when the workforce rejected this sort of 19th century paternalism. I know Pullman and Hershey were taken by surprise."
CADBURYI haven't come across stories suggesting that it was rejected because fundamentally in the 19th century when it wasn't possible to get a pension any other way, you know, people were queuing up to work at Cadbury and it was quite common for every member of the family to work there and then the next generation, as well. There was immense loyalty and they would work there all their lives with glorious names like, you know, marzipan cutter or cream tablet worker or, you know, these wonderful things that they were doing when chocolate was still handmade. And gradually this all got – you know, the Quakers were campaigning for reforms and eventually it became the legal duty of employers to provide these things. So gradually there was less reliance on the paternalism of the employer. But in the 19th century when the alternative was the workhouse this was really appreciated.
PAGELet's talk to Kathy. She's calling us from Wilmington, Ohio and she's held on a long time. Kathy, thanks for holding on.
PAGEYes, hi, you're on the air.
KATHYYes. I'm a Quaker from Wilmington, Ohio and I just want to thank you for writing this book and thank you all for having this program on Diane's show. It's just wonderful to hear of the Quaker values. I'm hoping that this will benefit our country and perhaps the world hearing these Quaker values from long ago. And I was just curious are you a Quaker yourself now?
CADBURYI'm not actually. I was terrifically touched when I interviewed the Quakers. I'm actually an agnostic. But I so believe in their practical values that doing good is good for business and that the Quaker model really works. In fact, I think there's, you know, quite a lot that can be learned today from the Quaker model of business because looking back, you know, it was a whole system of apprenticeships and mentoring support from Quaker elders, rules of discipline to make sure that if you were starting a business, you know, there were certain values that you operated by. And I feel that that Quaker model – we think of it as a 19th century thing but actually there is so much to learn today about, you know, applying this to, perhaps, worker partnerships like John Lewis, which is a big one in England. So I feel that it's very positive and that this kind of thing can be done today.
PAGEKathy, thanks so much for your call. Well, you write, in fact, that your father left the Quaker movement. Why did he choose to do that?
CADBURYHe happened to be in Germany just before the war and he saw first hand what was going on in Hitler's Germany. And he felt the only way to oppose this was with militarism and the Quakers were pacifists. So he left and fought so I was brought up Church of England not Quaker. But all my cousins are Quakers and I quite regularly went to Quaker meeting and I just loved the values and what it stands for.
PAGELet's go to York, Neb. and talk to Timothy. Timothy, hi.
TIMOTHYHello, how are you?
TIMOTHYYeah, I've been listening to this and I've noticed the debate between Quaker capitalism and the larger global shareholder capitalism and kind of the running theme that global shareholder capitalism doesn't pay attention to local issues or care about the local workers that maybe working at their companies. I just kind of wanted to point out that often on NPR, though, I hear the opposite with very pro-global community things, you know, with, you know, G-20 that's going on right now where all the nations should be getting together and work together to do whatever. I was wondering how you could expect global governments to be responsive to small time issues whereas you don't trust global CPO's.
PAGEAll right, Timothy, thanks for your call.
CADBURYIt would be quite wrong to say I don't trust global international companies. And a lot of them now have what they call a corporate responsibility – social responsibility program. So I certainly didn't mean to imply that they – none of them think of the community and the workforce. That would be quite wrong. I think what I was trying to highlight was the – as owners have become – the businesses are becoming international. The owners have become international and old loyalties have broken down. And that has led to this culture of short termism and it's really that culture – it's the system we're operating in that I was trying to question because, for example, there could be people within a modern food manufacturing concern today who are deeply concerned about the cocoa growers and who will be arguing more money has got to go to the cocoa growers or, indeed, for investment.
CADBURYBut what will happen is that the shareholders will say well look I need my profit. I need my margin now and there is this conflict between the needs to grow the business long term and what that takes and the needs of shareowners, you know, with fund managers getting their bonuses on quarterly increases. And, I think, there is this conflict and that's really that I'm trying to address and which stands in such conflict to those old Quaker stewards that I was talking about. But, no, I'm not – it's not such a crude message as multinational bad, Quaker stewards good. It's much more sophisticated. If you read the book you'll try to see what I'm trying to say.
PAGELet's talk to Darcy calling us from here in Washington, D.C. Thanks for joining us on "The Diane Rehm Show".
DARCYHi. I had a rather odd question which is I wondered if she had any comment on the impact of the Cadbury gorilla ad, which I gather was pretty much of a phenomenon in Britain.
PAGEYou know, I don't know what that is. Can you tell us about the gorilla ad?
CADBURYOh, it's absolutely lovely. It's like the gorilla is in love with the chocolate and nothing is spoken but it's like the gorilla has sort of smelled the chocolate and he moves his head in such a sensual way and then at the critical moment he just starts to bang the drums to that Collins music. And it is just wonderful. I love their ad. I think it's great and, you know, it's something that the Cadburys tended to be very good at – advertising and that one, I believe, may have been after the family left but, boy, was it a good advert – quite right.
PAGENow, in fact, you write in your book about the role that the chocolate wars had in developing advertising as something that was valued and powerful. Tell us about that.
CADBURYYeah. Because to start with the Puritan Quaker ethic was that, you know, even arts and literature was something that might indulge the senses too much and lead to ideas that took you away from God. So, you know, it was an incredible austerity, which is hard for us to understand today. This meant that advertising was just, you know, out. You know, you didn't try to sort of put the message above the product. And Joseph Roundtree who started the Roundtree business now part of Nestle, you know, actually used to really get angry with suppliers who would dare to put on the packaging best Trinidad nuts, you know, it's not best Trinidad nuts.
CADBURYSo they really did object to anything that appeared to misrepresent the product. But what happened was as the chocolate wars became more intense and, especially, with new media like television literally decades of customer loyalty could be transformed overnight with one TV campaign. And so now we have a situation which is, again, another curious reversal of those old Quaker values where, you know, the food and confectionary manufacturers are some of the biggest advertisers.
PAGEWell, let's take another call. We'll go to Sissy calling us from Baltimore. Hi, Sissy.
SISSYI have loved this program. Thank you so much. And to your guest here in Baltimore we have several meeting houses and we have a marvelous Quaker school here in Baltimore. And on the Eastern shore in Maryland, I believe, we have one of the oldest meeting houses in Maryland. And I've gone there and it's still in use and it's just so wonderful to go there. So people in Maryland are quite familiar with Quakers and their history because, you know, we border Pennsylvania and there's been a lot of good work done by Quakers down through the years. However, I wanted to just sort of piggyback on what the gentleman from Ghana was alluding to and was saying quite eloquently and the question always is where do these beans come from?
SISSYWell, they came – a lot of them came from Africa, particularly Ghana, where whole acres of land was just ripped up to grow this bean and these plantations were not very happy places to the Africans who had to cultivate and then subsequently harvest these beans so then they could be shipped so that multinational corporations like Cadbury and Hershey came into being. It's a very sordid history. It's not very pleasant and I don't mean to add anything negative to the conversation because certainly this issue about what the Quakers have done is not a negative. But, I think, when we talk about capitalism we have to go back and remind people that a lot of these multinational corporations became that way and it was on the backs of forced or slave labor or child labor and, particularly, in the continent of Africa with the cocoa bean. But I thank you so much for listening to me and I'd like very much – like to read this book on behalf of the Quakers. Thank you so much.
PAGEAll right, Sissy, thank you so much. Thank you for offering your perspective on this. We were so glad to hear it. I'm Susan Page of USA Today and you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show". We've got time for some more callers. Let's go to St. Louis and talk to Richard. Richard, hi, you're on the air.
RICHARDYeah. I was following up the last conversation. I find it amazing that in the glowing works however socially idealistic they are that usually there is some virtual slave labor market. And throughout the world – it doesn't matter whether it's pharmaceuticals, cocoa, you pick it the desire to get to the bottom it's still going on. And we see our corporations have become increasingly multinational in a desire specifically, whether they use H1B visas or whatever ploy they use to get to the cheapest possible labor. And my heart goes out to this guy in Ghana and to people in South America whose living wage and whose terms and conditions are deplorable and continue to be deplorable. And the rich know this.
RICHARDAnd the wealthy elite who are represented by the bankers, by the clans, by the lawyers are working actively to continue to engage in this and I do applaud the writer of the book for bringing up the Quaker ethics, which – that's something that, although, there is I'd say kind of a dichotomy or a paradox going on there, which is one wishes to do good works in the name of God in an effort to better the lot of other human beings. Many times what is unseen is the horror of slavery and these ill-gotten goods.
PAGEAll right, Richard, thank you so much for your call.
CADBURYI just feel there are some issues which our modern form of capitalism is not able to solve and it really needs to be addressed very urgently.
PAGEAnd, Deborah, what is your favorite kind of chocolate.
CADBURY(laugh) While I was writing this book I made sure I had a complete stack under my desk of all the Cadburys as well as all the rivals chocolate. Lots of sampling went on.
PAGEAnd what – do you have a favorite? Do you have one that you like the very best?
CADBURYI think my favorite would probably be dairy milk.
PAGEDeborah Cadbury, she's the author of "Chocolate Wars: The 150-Year Rivalry Between the World's Greatest Chocolate Makers". Thank you so much for being with us this hour.
PAGEI'm Susan Page of USA Today sitting in for Diane Rehm. Thanks for listening.
ANNOUNCER"The Diane Rehm Show" is produced by Sandra Pinkard, Nancy Robertson, Susan Nabors, Denise Couture and Monique Nazareth. The engineer is Tobey Schreiner. Dorie Anisman answers the phones. Visit drshow.org for audio archives, transcripts, podcasts and CD sales. Call 202-885-1200 for more information. Our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org and we're on Facebook and Twitter. This program comes to you from American University in Washington. This is NPR
Most Recent Shows
For months it looked like Russia was waging – and winning -- a battle of attrition. But last week Ukrainian forces made dramatic gains on the battlefield, retaking vast areas…
From McCarthyism to January Sixth, best-selling author David Corn says the G.O.P has a long history of using paranoia, grievance, and tribalism for political gain. His new book is "American Psychosis."
Anthropologist Anita Hannig discusses her new book, "The Day I Die," an intimate investigation of assisted death in America.