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Are you annoyed by the shrinking of Terry’s Chocolate Orange?

Terry's Chocolate Orange

Do you recall the shrinking Creme Egg debacle? Well, Mondelez has been meddling once again. This time with the Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which has shrunk by 10% – and fans are outraged.

The 20-segment orange-shaped ball apparently ‘slimmed down’ in May, shrinking from 175g to 157g, but it’s only now that the British public has woken up to the ‘news’.

In fact, people took to social media in their droves to vent about it:

Mondelez, which makes Terry’s Chocolate Orange, explained that the decision to shrink its products was due to rising costs of ingredients.

Shrinking treats

Supposedly shrinking a product will prevent a price rise, but I still can’t help feeling short changed. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m outraged by the meddling, but I understand why some people are.

Adrian Blake, the current Guinness World Record holder for the fastest time to eat a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, pointed out that with each shrunken segment it doesn’t only change the eating experience, but it also makes future challenges to his World Record a bit unfair.

Of course, this won’t be of much irritation for some of you… maybe even many of you. In fact, I hadn’t realised how divided people are over this orange-oil infused treat – a quick poll around my team found that a Terry’s Chocolate Orange may be a bit of a Marmite love/hate thing.

But still, it wouldn’t be the first time a manufacturer has meddled with an ol’ favourite.

So, I’m intrigued, are you annoyed by the shrinking Terry’s Chocolate Orange? Or has one of your favourite food products been meddled with?


We wish you a tiny Christmas,
With small bites (perhaps some Wispas?)
We think shrinking chocs need litmus
Tests for value this year.

Bad tidings Mondelez bring
Chocolate orange has less zing
We wish you a tiny Christmas
And a choccy with less citrus.

Sleigh bells ring, are you lisn’ing?
Choccies shrink – in their glist’ning
Shiny foil, hides a tale
Of prices – wholesale
It’s tiny little chocies all the way.

Just hear those tills a-jingling while shoppers mingling say ‘Wow!’
Our fav’rit choc’late oranges seem like sandwiches now.
There’s no denying we’ll all be sighing this year
With fewer segments and thus this advent we’ll fear.

While Terry’s once proud Choc’late fruit
Went smaller for this year.
It’s no surprise, yet will it suit
Discerning Christmas cheer?

But Lauren’s topic’s quite astute
She worries for her sweets.
And wonders if the villains’ loot
Is fair, or fare to eat.

They’re not the only ones at fault,
Our sweets change all the time
From Cadbury’s to Nestle’s Vaults
We want our once loved Lime.

It looks like the manufacturers of Terry’s Chocolate Orange are coming in for deserved criticism. Poetic justice has a new meaning. 🙂

I am sadly aware that bolting food as a speed record was discouraged under the previous owners of the Guinness book. Sadly it and Which? seem happy to publicise a stupid pursuit with potential harmful consequences. I realise that Mondelez would favour people attempting this stupid feat as it may well bring more revenue.

Incidentally the eventual owners of the Guinness World Record etc etc [whose Accounts are overdue] appears to be a firm called “jim pattison entertainment ltd” which does not exist on the Companies House database.

Perhaps Which? might like to query this with Companies House as we all like accurate records.

I would have thought that the sight of a couple of people literally stuffing their faces would have a deterrent effect.

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, mods.]

Wisdom, hopefully, comes with age. We are aware that the brain is not fully formed until the early 20’s and the last part to develop is the appreciation of consequences. One reason why the young do the silliest things.

One thing is noticeable is the Westminster bubble where development seems to go into reverse for some.

Adrian Blake says:
24 October 2017

[Sorry Adrian, we’ve removed your comment to reflect the moderation on this thread. Thanks, mods.]

It would seem everything is shrinking except for people’s waistlines 🙂

Shrinking sweeties may lead to shrinking bodies. Not a bad thing?

I have not examined the size of these chocolate oranges recently, but have seen them on sale for £1 each. Maybe they should be named chocolate clementines.

Yes, I agree – it does leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

I haven’t consumed a chocolate orange for some time but they seem to have gone from being the size of a tennis ball [or an orange, even] to the size of a ping pong ball during my lifetime. I think the chocolate’s thinner too. How much smaller can things get before the manufacturers have to change the production machinery? – it appalls me to realise that over the years they have been deliberately commissioning production and packaging machinery that could be adjusted at will to alter the sizes and shapes of products without significant expense.

If they buy the Maltesers brand there is scope for continued development and sharing a production line.

Or maybe Hundreds and Thousands?

Or just Hundreds.

A few days ago I was eating a four-finger KitKat bar and thought it was looking somewhat shrunken. The packaging told me it was 41.5 g. I had bought it in a shop on a station concourse and thought it might be a special travel size. I didn’t notice the price because I also bought a magazine, a newspaper and a bottle of water and instructed the self-service machine to stuff its receipt. The next day I was in a large Tesco store and out of curiosity looked at the KitKat bars on display in the sandwich-&-snacks cabinets near the entrance. The same size [41.5 g] bars were on sale at 60p but the shelf label showed them as being 45 g and the unit price was worked out accordingly. I believe the price has stayed the same but the product has shrunk by 3.5 g [7.78%]. I reported the discrepancy to the customer services desk but doubt if any serious notice was taken because no notes were made. I have subsequently checked the Tesco website and a KitKat 4-F 45 g bar is still shown at 60p. It is possible that some old stock is still in the supply chain but since my local store is already selling the smaller size the website cannot be reliable.

Let’s add Nestlé to the hall of shame.

So far as I can recall, good old UK confectionery companies like Cadbury’s, Rowntrees, Mackintosh’s, Fry’s, Terry’s, and others, never did this – the size and appearance of the product was too important to themselves and to their market to interfere with. Any price rises were done honestly and transparently, not through subterfuge that even the retailers are unaware of. Maybe the Quaker tradition among most of the well-known chocolate manufacturers had something to do with it. Commerce has lost all its scruples now and will not hesitate to bamboozle the market in a manner that I regard as unethical.

Scruples – do they come in packs of ten covered in chocolate? 🙂

You should have threatened to also notify trading standards. That seems to focus the minds of the weak or the uncaring.

Many Trading Standards departments don’t want to hear from the public, William. You have to go through Citizens Advice and then have no way of knowing what has happened to your complaint as far as I can see. A very unsatisfactory state of affairs.

Yes, Ian – except there’s only ever nine in the pack.

I tend to write to our county trading standards service. They can’t avoid dealing with it then.

I shall be reporting this to Tesco as well.

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Duncan – I cannot get your link to work. 🙁 I can see that this refers to articles on the Social Sciences Research Network, which has peer reviewed articles, so could be good quality information. It’s an example of open source publication, where the information is freely available to everyone.

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Thanks Duncan. Interestingly I see no space on my screen.

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Unfortunately, this article is not open source, though many on SSRN are. 🙁

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Thanks Duncan. I found I had access to the full text because I’m a retired academic. I was interested because it’s about the voluntary sector. If I find anything useful we can discuss it elsewhere. Meanwhile back to chocolate oranges. I might buy one for the sake of research.

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So chocolate oranges are shrinking?
My thoughts are not really worth printing!
‘Cause you get less for your money
And that’s not very funny
It’s down-right dishonest and hoodwinking!

Managed inflation with minimal initial impact on Mondelez’s bottom line. Not good in long run as it raises, step, by step, the %age overhead cost element and reduces in real terms the value of the product.

Some years ago I got fed-up with the games that companies – particularly supermarkets – play with prices. I now look at unit price, which gives me a good idea of whether a product is good value for money, whatever games they play with package sizes and prices. The CMA needs to put an end to retailers concealing unit prices using multi-buy offers designed to confuse the shopper.

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The parable of this tale is that many people would buy them even if they were empty given enough publicity” – Only once, Duncan, only once – we are not all fools!

The problem with sweets is that the best ones are people’s favourites. There are alternatives to many of them sold under supermarkets’ own labels but they don’t have the same appeal, so tinkering with the sizes and weights by the big brand manufacturers is a dastardly game. If they shave just a little off the product they hope it won’t be noticed, or even if it is, customer loyalty will carry them through. I don’t know how we’re going to do it but we have to stop this appalling practice.

Other than getting those thoughts off my chest, I enjoyed your new rendition of Danny Kay’s song based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes [I include those details in case any younger readers are wondering what’s going on here!]

Complain about the product shrinking 10%? A bigger complaint might be about the price expanding 100%. Looking on supermarket .com it tracks the average price over the last 12 months. Regular swings between £1 and £2. How about trying Morrisons choc orange segments @ £1 for 160g.

Terry’s chocolate orange is hardly one of life’s essentials so if you don’t like what they do, don’t buy it. Far better value, and longer lasting, are M&S Belgian chocolate truffles on offer at half price – £3 for 260g = £1.15/100g.. Terry’s seems to cost “up to” £1.27/100g.

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Tesco are not shaving bits off chocolate oranges are they duncan and selling them as if they were full weight? I have to say that when a product’s size is reduced this should be clearly advertised near the product for 3 months (say) – what it was, what it is – simply so that we know what we are now buying. We have a choice not to buy.

I look at unit prices. I don’t know what has been happening to the price of chocolate oranges but I can compare the unit price of these and other confectionery.

For shrinking products you need to recall what the unit price was before it shrank. I doubt many of us will remember unit prices for everything we have bought in the past.

That’s true if you want to follow the price of chocolate orange but for those of us who just want to decide which of the available products to buy or which pack size to choose, unit prices are great. We all use unit prices for petrol or diesel.

But the point I made was to see if they have changed, you have to remember what they were 🙂 I have no gripe against unit prices – quite the contrary. Just memory. What was the unit price of brown sauce last time I bought it? 🙁

I expect the whole bottle was only 3d or 4d, Malcolm 🙂

Until about ten years ago Morrisons printed the prices on the labels of their own brand products. This was a good way of keeping track of price movements. The supermarkets would not dare do that today.

Those were the days John. I learned basic French off the HP Sauce label. Melange etc. However, as an HP fan a couple of years ago we decided to try M&S Brown Sauce at around half the price and found it just as nice. Now I can afford twice as much.

However, with most products I would not remember what the last unit price was. I have suggested, in this litigious atmosphere, that products that “shrink” without a price change, or better still unit prices that increase, should have this information shown on the new price label. So we know what is happening. To be honest, it is not top of my priority list though.

My taste in brown sauce was cultivated by Brands A1 Sauce and OK Sauce. I can still recall their tastes. I like HP though but have not tried any supermarket own-label varieties. I might give M&S’s a try the next time we are there. I never read the labels – the less I knew about what they consisted of the more satisfied I was.

I believe that HP Sauce is about 40p / 100g and for a long time the unit price was lowest for the smallest glass bottle in the local Tesco. That sticks in mind because I once found an error in the unit price. I was really impressed that the member of staff I informed immediately did a good estimate of the correct unit price, took the shelf label and printed a new one.

Unlike M&S, Tesco and Morrisons offer a good range of sauces and it is easy to compare unit prices for the various products and package sizes. I sometime use Morrisons, now my newest supermarket, and my main complaint (apart from the music) is the lack of unit prices on some of the end-of-aisle promotions, though these are not multi-buys and it’s not difficult to calculate the unit price and offers seem genuine.

If I regularly shopped in various supermarkets then I would make a point of learning unit prices.

HP Sauce costs over twice per 100g as M&S Brown Sauce, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup over 3x. But it depends on whether you like the taste – we happen to. On the other hand I prefer Branston Pickle to M&S’s equivalent.

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But Marmite is made in the UK from the spent yeast from UK breweries. Because yeast keeps multiplying, breweries generate large volumes of used yeast. For them it is virtually a waste product that has to be disposed of, so Marmite and other companies should be able to buy it for next to nothing. Obviously it then has to be processed, bottled and marketed but I have often wondered what can possibly justify its high price. An extra 12.5% won’t put off the dedicated Marmite lover like me but it certainly seems like exploitation.

I find the Unilever logo on a jar of Marmite, though I have not noticed a soapy taste yet.

As John has said, the brewers’ yeast used in Marmite is surplus from the brewing industry. Some of the yeast is used to ‘pitch’ the next fermentation but most of it is surplus. Before using the surplus yeast, it is checked for contamination by bacteria and other (‘wild’) yeasts. If there is significant contamination the yeast is disposed of.

I guess that advertising is a major factor in the price of Marmite.

Having now inspected a chocolate orange I see that the chocolate ‘core’ is no longer present. It’s the feature I remember from when I was young.

All very interesting – and VERY common for us to be fooled by these giants of commerce. How do you think the likes of Nestle and Kraft are able to take over the better companies? Only by making huge profits at our expense. I believe they have actually changed the chocolate recipes too, as it doesn’t taste like it used to years ago. But let me tell you this; around 57 years ago – yes 57 – I was ten years old and my parents had a sweetie shop. Rolo (would you give me your last one?) had a campaign saying an extra piece in every pack, with a yellow band printed around one end showing where the extra piece was lurking; same price too! Wow an extra piece free! But the pack was precisely the same length as the old pack! Yes you got an extra piece but the pieces were smaller. OK, you still got the same sweets for the money, but they were persuading you to believe that you got more. 57 years ago they were at it! In some ways it seems more blatant and money-grabbing these days but imagine the tricks they have developed in those 57 years! Most of the population seems to have been sucked in by the designer marketeers. Maybe it’s mostly only us older ones who try to see through it. One of the best in recent times has been BOGOF. Do you really get one free? free?? FREE? Or even reduced price. No way! The real price they want to achieve is the price you pay for two. If your daft enough to buy one you give them extra profit. And of course, you’ve actually bought two – not one! Sales up! Keep shopping!

I am fed up with shrinking products. A 1kg bar of Dairy milk is now 850g but even worse is that what was a 400g Toblerone is now 360g. I’m not good at maths but I make that a huge 20% decrease, but the price remains the same.
p.s. I refuse to buy Creme Eggs now.

tftt, I think I might see an upside to reducing the size of CDM from 1kg in the context of obesity 🙂

That’s a patronising response and has nothing to do with the conversation. As someone who was obese I can honestly say that the size of any chocolate bar had no bearing on the weight I lost.

You are right, tftt, – they should have put the CDM price up by 10% not the weight down by the same percentage.

tftt – it was a tongue in cheek response, not patronising. However, reducing portion size should have an effect on obesity, or hopefully help prevent it developing. The tendency is to eat, or drink, what is put in front of us. I’m not sure who buys a 1kg chocolate flavoured sugary bar.

tftt – I don’t believe that Malcolm’s comment is patronising. I am not happy with the way that confectionery and soft drinks are now sold in large sizes and multi-packs. Why not go back to the small sizes. It might make a serious contribution to the obesity problem Likewise, I would like to see the large bottles of spirits removed from the shelves of supermarkets.

Yes this is off-topic but it is very important. I’m glad you have managed to lose weight and I hope you can encourage others to do the same.

Wendy Jowett says:
22 October 2016

I,m annoyed, everything is shrinking except me.

It isn’t just chocolate…I noticed this week that Asda had shrunk their basic tomato ketchup from 550g to 500g AND increased the price from 36p to 38p. Whilst still inexpensive compared to leading brands, that’s still a 16% increase in cost per kg that goes completely under the radar. Everyone is doing it…but it doesn’t make it right. Personally I find eating a chocolate orange a bit sickly so the smaller size doesn’t bother me.