Frank N Foode poses with some GMO Ethos chocolate

Unboxing GMO Ethos Chocolate

For Valentine’s Day in 2019, A Fresh Look did something unusual. They launched the first GMO chocolate campaign, called Ethos Chocolate, and ran out of their stock in less than a day! There was plenty of excitement as free chocolates started to arrive, but not everyone got to try one. Now you can try them with me! I saved my box of Ethos Chocolate, and made an unboxing video. I tasted each one and talked about the stories that were told in chocolate form. My goal is to answer the question – is this GMO chocolate campaign Bitter, or Sweet?

Unpacking Ethos Chocolate stories

Each chocolate tells a different story about crop biotechnology and bioengineered foods. Papaya tells the story of survival, while a non-browning apple touches on trend-setting. An orange-flavored chocolate represents heroism, and dark chocolate carries the theme of optimism. Ethos chocolate has one more story to tell – did you find a fifth one in your box?

GMO Ethos chocolate on a tray with a glass of milk

I also talk about who is behind the Ethos chocolates, A Fresh Look, and critically analyze one response from a prominent critic of biotechnology. Is something missing from this chocolate campaign that needed to be right up front, or is it just a misunderstanding?

Finally, Ethos chocolates communicated something fresh about climate change that came from an unexpected source. Did you notice it? Because I certainly did – and I’m excited to tell you about it. Watch the video, and tell me what you think about Ethos chocolates!

Another chance to Feed your Ethos

If you didn’t get to try Ethos chocolates, now you have a chance to. They have re-launched their chocolate campaign, but this time you have to make a donation to their organization to get one. Getting free chocolates was pretty sweet, but if you’ve grown accustomed to chocolatey gifts you might find the donation level a little bitter-tasting. Why do they have to tug at our heart-strings like this?!

If you got a box of Ethos chocolates, what did you think of them? Were they just what you asked for, or could they be improved? Telling stories about biotechnology with food is a great way to reach the public about the impact of this technology, and teach about the underlying science. What stories do you think they should tell if they made new chocolates with different flavors?


  1. I agree on the papaya–what a treat that was. It was subtle but nice and unusual.

    The sugar beet story is good to tell too. Quite so.

    The biggest disappointment for me–that they didn’t use the new label! They could have been the first ones to roll it out and celebrate it for good, before it gets demonized. That was a miss, I thought.We all would have been sharing it on social media and talking it up.

  2. It just seems so weird that they did not make the beets one of their stories! As unusual as it was, I remember the flavor of the papaya chocolate more than the others.

    That’s a good point, Mary! They could have used the Bioengineered label and been first out the door with it. Your suggestion reminds me that I should incorporate that label into a new project I’m working on…

  3. Much agree on the pricing. At this level, a contribution to Cornell’s Alliance for Science would do more for technology acceptance.

Comments are closed.