Purple (chocolate) is the new brown (chocolate) ?


As our informed readerbase will be aware, in 2004 the chocolate manufacturer Cadbury UK applied for an unusual ‘trademark’. It was unusual in that it had absolutely no distinguishing features other than its colour. The ‘trademark’ [shown above] would (eventually) allow the firm sole-use a specific shade of purple for packaging chocolate bars. [see notes below]

But a new purple chocolate twist has just emerged. The Swiss-based chocolate makers and wholesale suppliers Barry-Callebaut have now been granted (June 11th, 2013) a US purple chocolate patent – this time not for the packaging, but for the chocolate itself. ‘Process for making red or purple cocoa material’. Although it may have lain largely unnoticed until now, “There is” says the patent document “a desire amongst some consumers for cocoa products that have a different colour” and it goes on to describe, in some detail, how this might be achieved – without the use of food dyes. Improbable will of course attempt to keep readers informed of purple chocolate developments.


[1] After a number of appeals by rival chocolate maker Nestlé, the purple trademark case ended up in the High Court, see: Société des Produits Nestlé S.A. v. Cadbury UK Limited

[2] Colours_PurplesThe trademark very specifically only applies to a tightly-specified shade of purple known as  Pantone ® 2685C. Oddly, perhaps even crucially, none of the official documents we have seen specify how close to (or how far away from) that colour chocolate manufacturers must remain. Indeed, Cadbury’s own website livery is substantially distant from the colour [see swatch, right]. And the online official application document is considerably bluer [see the large screengrab at the top of the page].

[3] Since the high court case, the trademark now specifically excludes chocolate buttons.

BONUSES: For chocolate lovers, Freudians, and Freudian chocolate lovers.

A selection of Cadbury’s Flake TV ads (in b & w, no purple)