UPDATED: Review (of a sort) - Gatsby “Chocolate’s” So-Called Stylings
This review was prompted by a post I saw in r/chocolate on Reddit:
Gatsby chocolate is the greatest thing I have ever discovered. Only damn brand that nails dark chocolates flavor
My initial thoughts after coming across this post over the weekend and visiting the Gatsby website:
- Be VERY careful about this brand.
- The first clue? The word “STYLE” after Dark Chocolate on the front of the box.
- A second clue? The focus on “Eat More” and lower calorie counts that dominate the website copy.
- A third clue? There is no picture of an ingredients label on the website.
So I did a search for photos of the packaging and found just one picture of the back of a box at a retailer’s website:
The ingredients (in order; my comments in italics):
- Allulose – a highly processed ingredient
- Cocoa powder – though not alkalized, still a processed ingredient
- EPG (modified plant-based oil) - a highly processed ingredient
- Almonds – while likely not highly processed, almonds require a lot of water (as does cacao)
- Palm kernel oil – a highly processed ingredient
- Sugar – a highly processed ingredient
- Soluble corn fiber – aka “resistant maltodextrin” is a highly processed ingredient – see the update panel below for more
- Natural flavor – a processed ingredient and maybe highly processed depending on the flavoring(s)
- Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) – a highly processed ingredient whether oil or powder
- Sunflower lecithin – a highly processed ingredient
“Soluble corn fiber (“SCF”) is a non-digestible fiber found in many processed foods, from cookies and crackers to soups, protein bars, and salad dressings. SCF is used in many packaged foods to add to the fiber content and can be used as a sugar replacement in low-carb foods.”
There is a conspicuous lack of the word chocolate in the ingredient list. The ingredient list is often constructed as: chocolate (ingredients in the chocolate), other ingredients. Not here.
Which leads me to the logical conclusion that Gatsby is acutely aware their products cannot legally be called chocolate (hence the use of, for example,“dark chocolate style”) and are very careful to separate what they say in their marketing from what is legally required of them to put on the packaging.
Gatsby’s bars are an example of what can be called a hyper-processed food; a processed food made largely with processed ingredients. What they are not is good chocolate, and given the ingredients statement they likely don’t meet the legal standards for chocolate in the US – irrespective of what anyone thinks of their taste.
Homework for readers: Identify the ingredients above that are not allowed, in the US and/or the EU, to be in products labeled chocolate and post them in the comments.
Gatsby “chocolates” are creatures of a food-scientist’s lab; IMO they are little more than highly processed chocolate-adjacent edible substances.
That’s why I feel comfortable writing a “review” of them without having tasted a single one of their “styles.”
The future of chocolate is not just about replacing/reducing fat and sugar calories, it’s also about the ethical and sustainable sourcing of the ingredients. This applies especially to the farmers who grow cocoa. There is NOTHING about this brand that does not prey upon dietary guilt, encouraging people to feel virtuous about eating more of their (Gatsby’s) very hyper-processed food, and feel good while (and after) consumption.
Gatsby “chocolates” are co-manufactured for Dojo Brands. A founder of Gatsby is a co-founder of Halo Top, the hyper-processed frozen ‘treat” brand, so this brand extension does make sense from their perspective.
Just not from the perspective of real chocolate.
On TheChocolateLife scale of 0-4:
TBH, I have not tasted a single one, but Gatsby “Chocolate’s” products, based solely on their ingredients and marketing language/claims, get a “0” (zero, goose egg) on my scale:
Not only would I never go out and buy them, if someone were to gift them to me I would not eat them, and I would not consider regifting them to anyone whose opinion I cared about.
Now, if you’re an insulin-dependent diabetic or trying to figure out how to eat “chocolate” on a strict keto or other diet – perhaps one prescribed by your physician – then maybe these will fit your specific lifestyle objectives and so might(?) be worth a try.
However, I would be very careful about the encouragement to feel good about eating more of Gatsby “chocolate” because it has fewer calories than other industrial brands, a low net-carb count making it keto-friendly, and other claims. I am guessing these products are engineered in a lab to hit all the bliss point factors be more-ish, and the temptation might be to eat all three servings in a bar, not just one.
My advice? Go out and get some real chocolate, preferably a craft chocolate from a local maker, and enjoy it responsibly.
Parting thought? F Scott Fitzgerald is doing his best impression of a tornado in his grave.
Leave them in the comments.