A Groovy 1970’s Flashback: Ghirardelli’s Mother Nature Line!

CC_Ghirardellli From Mother Nature TITLE PLATE

Over the last decade, the business of artisanal and organic chocolate has exploded.  With small manufacturers sourcing their own cocoa and adding all sorts of unusual and exotic ingredients to their bars, it’s a great time to be a chocolate lover.  Facing a flurry of that kind of confectionery activity, you might be surprised to learn that these types of things were being done at least as far back as forty years ago.

I recently uncovered a remarkable lineup of all-natural chocolate bars featuring ingredients like wheat germ, soy-nut and oathearts – all released by Ghirardelli (pronounced Gear-Are-Deli) and first put on sale way back in 1974!

I’ll be referring to these as Ghirardelli’s “Mother Nature” line due to that concept being invoked on this July 1974 trade ad announcing them:

Ghirardelli - From Mother Nature - candy trade magazine ad - July 1974

Ghirardelli “Where the Action is”- From Mother Nature – candy trade magazine ad – July 1974

[Note:  Check out the line right underneath the Ghirardelli logo; “Where the Action is”.  So great.]

A “Mother Nature” chocolate bar line makes sense coming from the California-based Ghirardelli, especially when you consider that they were a Bay Area company and in 1974 that region had already long been a center for the counter-culture movement.  Certainly a part of that movement was to “get back to nature” and to be more holistic.  I can imagine that Ghirardelli saw an opportunity to make something unique and different that would appeal to those new tastes.   And make something different they did.

The wrappers for the Ghirardelli Mother Nature line featured a matte finish rather than the more typical glossy, and instead of sporting fanciful brand names these were simply titled by their ingredients in white lettering over a background graphic photo of the ingredients in question.  Pretty progressive for 1974, don’t you think?

I have a few wrapper examples from Ghirardelli’s Mother Nature line in my collection which I’d like to share here.

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Wheat Germ & Malt - exclusive - 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1975

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Wheat Germ & Malt – exclusive – 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1975

This next one is notable for it’s price tag:

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Soy-Nut - exclusive - 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1975

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Soy-Nut – exclusive – 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1975

If you look closely, you’ll see that this Ghirardelli Soy-Nut bar sports a price tag from the Lindberg Nutrition store.

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Soy-Nut - Lindberg Nutrition vintage price tag closeup - 1970's

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Soy-Nut – Lindberg Nutrition vintage price tag closeup – 1970’s

Lindberg is a Southern California health food mainstay, having opened its first store in 1949 (and they’re still around today).  It’s interesting to note that these bars were being sold through health food stores, which probably isn’t that surprising, but it’s great to see direct evidence of it through that decades-old price tag.

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Sesame - exclusive - 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - 1975

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Sesame – exclusive – 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – 1975

Although the Ghirardelli Mother Nature line was first put on shelves in 1974, there is evidence that they lasted a number of years as you can see by the following updated Sesame wrapper, now with UPC code:

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Sesame - exclusive - 2 1_2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper UPC code - late 1970s

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Sesame – exclusive – 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper UPC code – late 1970s

The line also stuck around long enough to gain at least one extension in the form of an all-natural plain chocolate bar, as evidenced by this last wrapper:

Ghirardelli - Mother Nature - Original Chocolate - exclusive - 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper - mid-1970's

Ghirardelli – Mother Nature – Original Chocolate – exclusive – 2 1/2 oz chocolate candy bar wrapper – mid-1970’s

Groovy stuff!  Now I just need to find a Granola and an Oat Hearts wrapper to complete my collection!

It’s neat to consider that these kinds of products were being devised and sold four decades ago and that they managed to stick around for a while, too.   Ghirardelli were way ahead of their time with these bars.  Reading about Ghirardelli, I’ve learned that they have a long history of doing new things and breaking uncharted ground, so I suppose you could say that the Mother Nature line was par for their unusually-navigated course.  Whatever the case, I think it’s pretty cool.

And that’s everything I’ve got to share on today’s 1970’s Flashback and our look back at Ghirardelli’s wholesome Mother Nature line.  See you next time!

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About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others.

Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books.

Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s TheActionRoom.com.

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2 Responses to A Groovy 1970’s Flashback: Ghirardelli’s Mother Nature Line!

  1. David S. says:

    Very nice collection, indeed! It seems that companies used a lot of orange and brown colors in their package designs in the early to mid-seventies. Thanks for sharing these, I appreciate the education in candy package designs…I’m learning a lot. :0)

  2. Pingback: A Century of History for Ghirardelli’s (and Tjerrild’s) Chocolate Flicks! | CollectingCandy.com

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