Mars Wrigley Confectionery has revamped its American Heritage Chocolate brand to incorporate a more universal exploration of how chocolate is enjoyed and experienced by its consumers.
Launched in 2006, American Heritage Chocolate was developed by the late Forrest E. Mars, Jr., an advocate of American history and chocolate's unique story in the Americas, and a multi-disciplinary team of historic site food historians.
American Heritage Chocolate is evolving from its colonial roots to encompass a more timeless visual narrative in its brand identity, product packaging and website.
"We want to promote three key ways chocolate can be experienced and enjoyed: entertainment, creation and education,” says Gail Broadright, director sponsorships and family properties. “From the events we do with historic site partners and food festivals, to our website and social media programming that shares classic, international and innovative recipes, to our amusing, multimedia glimpse at the history of chocolate, we aim to bring chocolate to life in a variety of engaging ways."
Brand Identity and Packaging
The chocolate brand's new brandmark is the Heritage Tree, depicting a symbolic abstraction of a cocoa tree. Conveying chocolate's deep historical and cultural roots, it celebrates its ongoing story of connection – hence, the new brand tagline: “Savor the Stories.” Primary packaging features the tree, alongside adopted a deep red hue for its dark chocolate and a cool blue for its milk chocolate products – a shade inspired by 18th century sugar cone packaging.
The mildly spicy recipe is flavored with a blend of ingredients available during the 18th century that include hints of chili peppers, vanilla and crisp orange.
New Product Formats
American Heritage Chocolate is launching several ways individuals can make, bake, drink, enjoy and share its products. For those who want just a bite, there are new tasting squares, along with a tablet bar. Bakers will enjoy the convenience of finely grated chocolate in resealable packets. And for the ultimate sipping experience, the brand offers a new gourmet hot cocoa that can also be served chilled or as an adult beverage. There is also a full line of products in bulk packaging.
American Heritage Chocolate is 57% cocoa, Rainforest Alliance certified, kosher and contains no preservatives.
New Brand Website
As part of the rebranding efforts, American Heritage Chocolate is launching a new website. The new site will feature proprietary brand recipes, "how-to" videos for home bakers, a blog for sharing chocolate stories, a comprehensive timeline that tracks chocolate's story through global history and an events section that features historic site partner chocolate-making demonstrations, chocolate history lectures and more.
Mission of Education
As American Heritage Chocolate launches its rebrand, Mars Wrigley Confectionery continues to grow its commitment to the mission of education. In a major step to fulfill Forrest E. Mars, Jr. and the Mars Family's long-standing legacy, the brand partnered with National Geographic Books to publish “Great Moments in World History: Global Stories Where Chocolate Sparked Discovery, Innovation, and Imagination!” This free educator's guide is a STEM-based, 14-week common core-aligned curriculum that teaches history through the lens of chocolate.
American Heritage Chocolate has also partnered with First Book, a nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for kids in need. Their co-programming includes creating special teacher appreciation packages for educators serving children in low-income communities across the U.S., offering teachers credit toward purchasing material on the First Book ecommerce platform, and holding virtual classroom experiences with the brand's Chocolate Historian David Borghesani.
Other books developed by the brand include "CHOCOLATE: History, Culture, and Heritage," published in 2009 by Wiley featuring contributions from 45 authors, including researchers, culinary chefs, food scientists and historians from leading historic institutions. Additionally, Mars Wrigley, in partnership with the National Geographic Books, published "Great Moments In Chocolate History," in 2015. This book brings chocolate's story to life through information and images based on decade's worth of research by MWC and our uncommon collaborators.
American Heritage Chocolate is sold at more than 100 gift shops at historic sites, museums and historic inns across the United States and Canada. The brand can also be found on Amazon, at M&M's World in New York City and Las Vegas, and at the Ethel M chocolate store in Henderson, Nev.
Alyse Thompson worked as an intern at Candy Industry Magazine in summer 2012. She joined the staff full time as associate editor in August 2016 after a few years at newspapers in West-Central Illinois. Alyse also became associate editor for Flexible Packaging magazine in September 2017. She has bachelor’s degrees in journalism and Spanish from Western Illinois University.