I am not a big fan of sweets (I have never been able to get used to the word ‘candy’ that is the term used in the US) and even then I only like a very few, like Cadbury’s milk chocolate bars or Kit Kat. Leigh Morland is annoyed at what is happening to chocolate bars.
Chocolate lovers are restless. Many much-loved chocolate bars are changing shape, getting smaller, or contain a lower cocoa content, so they just don’t taste as good. When it comes to choosing a sweet treat, there seems to be a greater range than ever – but, for many people, the bar they’ve enjoyed all their lives just doesn’t seem the same.
And the truth is, in a lot of cases, it isn’t.
But a balance between cost and function is not always achieved. A recent Which? survey revealed the widespread shrinking of grocery products with no corresponding reduction in price.
As well as the shrinking Dairy Milk bar, Creme Eggs have gone from being sold in packs of six to five, Yorkie has been reduced to five chunks. Mars and Snickers are smaller, although they are less calorific.
I can understand the dilemma for manufacturers faced with growing costs of production. Raising prices may lower sales. Making the product size smaller may be less noticeable for the buyer than raising the price and so one has seen the steady shrinking of the packaging.
This is defensible. If people want more, they can buy more. What I find mystifying are decisions that are taken that lower the quality of the product by switching to cheaper ingredients. Surely that will alienate consumers who will stop buying it altogether? I wrote before about how I used to always buy Breyers ice cream because of its quality but stopped when they replaced its natural ingredients with artificial junk. I noticed the change only because the product had become so inferior to the taste. So rather than buying less of the same product, I stopped buying it altogether. That post got a large number of comments. Clearly I had struck a nerve.
So why do manufacturers do this? Do they think that the next generation of consumers will have no standard for comparison and so treat their new shoddy product as the best that they can do?