Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Finnish Candy With A Racist Twist

"Controversial racial image to be dropped from liquorice wrapper" -- The end of an era came on Friday when the sweets manufacturing company Cloetta Fazer announced the new design of the wrapper of its liquorice sticks, which should appear on store shelves in April.

The company says that the aim of the new look is to maintain a humorous retro-style. The product itself will not change, but the wrapper will no longer have the long-standing caricature of a black person, which has been a basic theme on Fazers' liquorice packaging since 1927.

The figure had long been criticised as perpetuating a negative racial stereotype.

Reactions to the packaging went beyond Finland in the mid-1990s, when a British anti-racist organisation drew attention to the figure.

Last winter British MEP Claude Moraes criticised the figure, threatening to put a question to the European Commission, and the Council of Ministers on the propriety of the liquorice packaging.
In January 2007 the manufacturer announced that the offending figure would be removed from the wrapper.

Reacting to the objections, an Internet petition was launched in Finland to defend the Laku-Pekka character, as it was popularly called.

Before changing the packaging Fazer consulted with Finland's Consumer Agency and the Ombudsman for Minorities on the matter.

Both said that the racial presentation can be seen as violating the marketing rules of the consumer protection law, international regulations on advertising, and equality legislation.

Fazer's liquorice is not the only product of the Finnish sweets industry that has altered its marketing for reasons of racial sensitivity. In 2001 Brunberg changed its traditional creme-filled chocolate sweet formerly called Neekerinsuukko ("Negro Kiss") to simply "Suukko" ("Kiss"). [source: HELSINGIN SANOMAT]

Fazerin lakupötkö sai uudet vaatteet.
Fazer lakupötkö got new clothes.

"Laku-Pekka was fired," 29 February 2008--Fazer Confectionery Company waives lakritsipötköpaperia koristaneesta Laku-Pekka-character.Published on Friday in a new wrapping is certainly still the former resembling the silhouette of the character's cookie-shaped pattern.

Fazer, according to a new wrapping to update the licorice "reflect today's values." Fazer's traditional lakritsihahmo has resulted in allegations of racism, even down to the EU Parliament.

Fazer produced a new wrapping paper together with design agency Tango.

In Finland, the name originated from Germany, and they were named "Negro Kisses" in 1951. In 2001, their name was changed to "Brunberg's Kisses", after the manufacturer, for largely the same reasons as in Denmark.[24]

Negerzoenen--In the Netherlands the name is Negerzoenen ("Negro kisses") though some companies have changed the name to the more politically correct Zoenen ("Kisses") reportedly due to claims of racism, similar to the German case where Negerkuss was renamed to Schokoküsse,[25] while actually the name-change was made for marketing reasons.[26]

Neekerinsuukot (Negerkyss)

In Finland a chocolate covered marshmallow treat went by the name “negerkyss” (negro kiss) up until 2001. Although the name changed to “Brunberg Kisses” the chocolate company still uses the offensive logo of two stereotypical African cartoon characters barely clothed with bright red lips.


The insensitivity to the people who toil in the fields to bring most of the key ingredients of the confectionery industry were/are byproducts of the triangular trade that enslaved and exported literally millions of African human beings.  Certainly the expropriation of land, natural resources and labor  of the Americas, Africa, Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean Islands should not be negated.  If you ever took an economics class, you'd know the three factors of capitalism.

Black and brown labor harvests and grows every key confectionery ingredient.  

Cocoa trees require constant warmth and rainfall to thrive. They need to be shaded from the strong tropical sun and sheltered from the wind. Cocoa trees grow only in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, South America and Central America, within 15 to 20 degrees of the equator.

Cocoa trees grow best in the shade of other trees. When very young, they require deep shade. As they mature, they require more filtered sunlight. Farmers plant a shade umbrella of taller trees such as breadfruit, Para rubber, laurel and various legumes to shelter their cocoa trees. Shade-grown cocoa trees can produce fruit for 75 to 100 years or more.

Top producing cocoa countries include:  Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador and Malaysia.
Cocoa is harvested by children without a childhood.  

  • The UK has the seventh highest consumption of chocolate in the world. The average Brit eats 17.49lbs of chocolate per year (Source: The World Atlas of Chocolate). 
  • Switzerland takes the top spot. 40% of the chocolate eaten in the world is consumed in Europe.
  • 66% of chocolate is consumed between meals with 22% of all chocolate consumed between 8pm and midnight (Source: The World Atlas of Chocolate).
  • Britain really is a nation of chocolate lovers. In Britain we eat an estimated 660,900 tons of chocolate a year, an average of 11kg per person per year. This equates to about 3 bars a week.
  • The UK chocolate industry is worth £3.6billion (Source: Specialty Food, 2008) and sales of chocolate just keep growing and growing, with an estimated 17% increase in sales over the next five years.
  • 8,000 new chocolate products were introduced worldwide last year – meaning that a new chocolate treat was launched almost every hour of every day in 2008 (Source: Mintel Global New Products Database, February 2009).
  • In two years (2005 – 2007) sales of chocolate doubled in the UK. And the biggest growth was in dark chocolate. Sales in 2007 reached £85m (Source: Mintel, April 2010).

Sugar cane - and the slave trade--After the discovery of the New World, vast fields of crops such as sugar cane were grown to feed the European empires. Before long, British and French plantations in the West Indies began to dominate. British west coast ports such as Bristol and Liverpool thrived on the sugar cane industry and refineries and packaging factories were set up. But this went hand in hand with a much more sinister trade of the time - the transatlantic slave trade.

Slave routes--A great deal of labour was required to produce large quantities of sugar on relatively small areas of land: the slave trade supplied it. Ships, laden with goods, left British ports destined for West Africa in exchange for people. And so began the most notorious period in the histories of Bristol and Liverpool.

Tightly packed into ships, slaves were sailed from Africa across the Atlantic to the West Indies. During the journey they were often chained down and kept in horrendous conditions. Any slaves who had managed to survive the journey were taken to shore and sold to plantation owners where they spent the rest of their lives working to produce goods like sugar cane. This became known as the 'Triangular Trade' so-called because the route usually taken between Europe, West Africa and the West Indies formed a triangle.

Harvesting Vanilla Beans

Harvesting Vanilla Beans

Harvesting Vanilla Beans

Harvesting Nutmeg

Harvesting Nutmeg

Harvesting Cinnamon


  1. I don't understand why Finnish people are such racists. Most of the candy they eat is the black liquirice, that by the way tastes horribly by all means. I think they must do just for a racial statement. There is no other logical explanation. A good improvement would be to have a law for this, half of each candy has to be white and half black.

    Alternatively they could use neutral colors (i.e pink or green) that cannot be indicated as being racial discrimination. Today we have so many artificial coloring extracts available so this would be a very easy improvement.

    Hey! There is one thing that the Finns are more progressive than us Americans. They had also this card game "Musta Pekka" (translation: Black Pekka). The loser was the one who was holding the black card in the end. However now they changed the name to "Pekka", so no one would get offended!

    What we should do next is to change Black Jack to be just "Jack". Why no one has taken a stand on this one yet? So many racists are playing this game right now legally in Vegas and Atlantic City. Shame on you people!

    1. Yes, it is highly racist to the white people. Black Jack is by far the best hand. Actually unbeatable. There have to be a White Jack, and Asian Jack, which has exactly the same power. Shame of you Las Vegas!!!

  2. Hmm, I think black was exotic for us as we didnt bring slaves from Afrika as your contry did. So we didint have any black people living here! Nobody think it was racist in that time. My sisters son is half Gambian, an hi thinks it is silly to change names of candys (Christies book 10 little nigger boys) etc. and he loves salmiakki (liquorice), he is now 15 years old and only racist comments he have got was from old ladys! (hes mom have sleep with black guy)! I think there are more horror things in life that color of candy and wrap paper!

    1. Yes, indeed YOU would see more "horror things in life tha[n] the color of a candy or wrap paper!" Since, it is painfully obvious that you can't connect the historic dots of life, that dehumanizes entire continents of people for your own damn pleasure. Nobody who inhabits this earth NEEDS a piece of candy. Candy is a novelty, a luxury, not a necessity for life. ALL of the ingredients (sugar, cocoa, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc) rely upon oppressed labor. In other words, there is a slave in every bite.

      So, what is problematic about the dehumanization of black people by grotesque exaggerations of wild kinky hair, super unnaturally blackened skin tones, and ghoulishly protruding, bright red lips! In your words, "nobody [would] think it was racist." I'll slap the table and call BULLSHIT.

      After all, it was Europe that carved-up Africa for its own personal gain, and it was Europe that lived off the backs of Africans during the nearly 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade and subsequent colonization of the Americas (North, South, and Central) along with Asia and Australia. Give me a break. The days of feigned innocence has long past. The historic records of the atrociousness are freely available and easily translatable for every human being on the freaken planet with internet access. You just need to grow-up.

      Lastly, Brown people are NOT EXOTIC! Since, 90% of the population of the planet Earth have brown eyes, dark hair and brown skin. If anything is EXOTIC it's blonde hair, blue eyes and white skin.

      --Ron Edwards, US Slave Blog

    2. Ron, please stop your prejudice remarks. Africans also pay their workers a salary. The workers who produces tea, coffee, chocolate etc mostly for black african farm owners are as little oppressed as American workers. So Ron, spare your prejudgement about us Africans. Regards from Kenya

    3. Finnish people are so racists and cowards.. I used to live there, they are dirty, smelly alcoholics YUCK

  3. I agree that there are ignorant people in this world. People who would call minority with bad names or stereotype ethnic groups. We have labeled those people as "racists". It is very easy to call anyone a racist. It is a simple way to point fingers on people. This way you don't actually need spend time or use your brain capacity to understand what the person is really trying to say or what is his point.

    Then there is this group of people, "anti-racist extremists" as I like to call them. They have taken this issue to the level where they are supporting more the actual racism instead of making things better. These very people support giving ethnic groups "special rights" and applying different rules on them.

    I am personally having a hard time understanding in example why there has to be certain amount of scholarships for white kids and certain amount for black kids? This is the most racist thing I have ever heard of! This system is basically stating that black (or white) kids are so dumb that they would not get any scholarships without giving them this "special" privilege. In equal world, shouldn't it be that the best and most talented kids gets the scholarships, no matter of their race or religion?

    These days people are more accepting but there are yet more "racists" in the western world. The word has become a political weapon for certain people to use.

    People are super sensitive about this subject. Especially the Americans, talking about slavery and still being angry about something that happened centuries ago. Without understanding the time people were living back then. Wouldn't it be time get over it? There have been horrible things in the history of man kind. It was not long time ago when Christians were persecuted, tortured and murdered. Tough titty, but I still don't go crying about it. I can accept the fact and live with it. I don't either feel offended if someone tells a joke about white Christian. I am very comfortable about myself with my ethnic background and I can laugh about it.

    I am very sorry to tell you that there are actually different races of people in the world! It is just how it is and we are NEVER going to be the same. And I don't see any reason why we should?

    And it is not a bad thing! Being different is not bad at all. The black guy will never be a white guy or vise-verse. Would you just relax and stop this bullshit! If you really want to make difference the first thing is to stop living in anger because of the ghost from the past, start understanding and accepting people with different opinions even if they were faulty and being able to laugh and joke about yourself!

    In example this Finnish candy thing. I mean seriously...Are we a little off the track?

  4. Why is it racist to mention the people who toil the land to produce liquorice, cocoa, coffee....? Would it be better to erase them completely?

    1. Because they are being exploited, and then these depictions of them are dehumanizing. It's like a double slap.

  5. ... and the persons on the wrappings of liquorice bars, chocolate boxes etc... are smiling and happy. What makes you believe they are slaves? Remember that these logos were created in the 20's in a country that had never been in touch with Africans. As a child, I simply loved those liquorice bars and to me, this smiling black face was a positive image, something happy and sweet. Open your eyes, for God's sake....

    1. Using a distorted image of a black person, or any person is racially insensitive. Blackface is now, was then, and forever will be racist. Blackface during the age of government sponsored industrialized slavery was wrong. Blackface during the colonization of Africa at the turn of the 20th Century was wrong. Blackface in the new 21st Century is wrong.

      --Ron Edwards, US Slave Blog

    2. ron... the even you are doing it... (im watching at your avatar which is a distorted image of a black person...)
      hippocracy.. ever heard of it?
      stop using it and stop whining and try to start appreciating diversity...


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