World’s Finest Chocolate creates world’s largest chocolate bar

By Sophia Coleman

Chocolate lovers, start drooling.

World’s Finest Chocolate, 4801 S. Lawndale Ave., Chicago’s family-owned fundraising and confectionery gift company, has made it into the “Guinness Book of World Records” with the world’s largest chocolate bar. Weighing 12,000 pounds, the candy bar beat the previous record—held by an Armenian company—by one ton.

There may be something even more shocking about this monstrous hunk of decadence—it was made to teach kids about what CEO Eddie Opler of World’s Finest Chocolate calls “portion distortion.”

“We are committed to educating families about eating right, staying active and doing it in a fun and engaging way,” Opler said.

The idea came to Chief Marketing Officer Tyler Jeffrey last year when his child came home with the “Guinness Book of World Records.” He said he put two and two together, realizing this would be the perfect way to grab kids’ attention and teach them healthy eating habits.

The company offers their fundraising services to schools, church groups and many other children’s clubs and activity programs. Because the product is directly in the kids’ hands, tantalizing them with promises of sugary goodness, and sometimes a few extra pounds, World’s Finest decided it was time to take action.

“In the fundraising market, [World’s Finest Chocolate] has faced some challenges with childhood obesity and nutrition policies,” Jeffrey said. “Our take on it was that the fundraising sale is the perfect opportunity of how confections fit into your diet.”

According to Jeffrey, the chocolate bar will tour around the country along with an original music score, a dance routine and a kid-based news program that walks through key points of portion control with children.

“It’s a high-energy, multimedia tour stop that engages kids around this message of healthy eating,” Jeffrey said.

Jeffrey tells kids that the correct way of eating it is to “eat one section, share one section and save the rest for tomorrow.” Keep in mind, Jeffrey is not talking about the 12,000 pound bar, but the standard chocolate bar, which is only a couple of ounces.

Nelda Mercer, a registered dietician and former spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, agreed that using this 3-foot-high and 21-foot-long candy bar would be an innovative way to capture kids’ attention.

With childhood obesity rates at a record high, perhaps this attempt in drawing and coaxing them into paying attention will help turn their lives around, she said.

“When you’re trying to teach children about things like moderation and how to have a healthy relationship with food, having something that really makes them sit up and take notice helps make the message memorable,” Mercer said.

While controlling kids’ addictions to sugary sweets may be a daunting task, the process of creating the chocolate bar was also no easy feat.

Jeffrey said it was “quite the engineering challenge” and they had to create a mold that mimicked the form of their existing bar, which was thick and breakable into three sections.

An engineer had to create a mold that took several months to design and two more months to execute. The mold itself weighed 3,000 pounds, and the cart designed to move the mold around weighed 2,000 pounds.

“Once the mold was made, we began pouring the chocolate in, which took seven hours,” Jeffrey said. “An extreme amount of manpower was put into the entire process.”

The amount of ingredients used was 1,200 pounds of chocolate; 5,500 pounds of sugar; 2,000 pounds of milk powder; 1,700 pounds of cocoa butter and 1,400 pounds of chocolate liquor.

The chocolate bar left Chicago on Sept. 15 for Omaha, Neb. It will tour the country in an air-conditioned, 48-foot trailer before making its way back to Chicago on Sept. 27. The last stop for the chocolate will be the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago in May 2012, where the bar will be chopped up, passed out and enjoyed by thousands.