Case Studies

Chocolate-maker Tackles Obesity – Global Chocolate Manufacturer


A Global Chocolate Manufacturer


Horizon Scanning, Risk Assessment


In 2002, the World Health Organization released a peer-reviewed study that linked the consumption of large quantities of sugar with the rise of obesity and a host of other health problems. With their products directly implicated, this raised a few alarm bells within the halls of a global chocolate and confectionary manufacturer. (Read the full report here.)

Objectives & Methods

To explore this issue more fully, and sensitize other senior managers to possible threats and opportunities on the horizon, we were hired to conduct a scenario thinking session with a cross-divisional team. The focal question: future of processed snack foods in the next 7 years.


While a quick process, just a couple of days, this session surfaced important implications for the new branding strategy, and helped identify new opportunities for the company’s future product portfolio, including more health conscious snacks (which, incidentally, also had a higher margin). More significantly, it highlighted some deep questions and taboos about the social responsibility of their organization, especially in regards to marketing to young children. As one leader framed it, “I love this organization— its long heritage, strong brand, and culture— but do I feel 100% comfortable with what we do and how we do it? The answer has to be no.” This triggered senior management to rethink its snack food strategy to include more healthy alternatives.

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