/ Food & Drink, Shopping

The new Cadbury Creme Egg pack size – what a yolk

Shrinking products certainly gets people whisked up. So when it emerged that one of the nation’s favourites, the Cadbury Creme Egg, had shrunk, it was no surprise people scrambled to complain.

You may remember our investigations into shrinking products. We’ve previously discovered products reducing in size, even though the price stayed the same or went up.

In our 2013 investigation, we found that the size of a Walkers Cheese & Onion crisp packet had shrunk 6% from 34.5g to 32.5g, while the price remained the same at 49p. But the worst offender was Thorntons Mini Caramel Shortcakes. These were £1.40 in Waitrose when the pack contained 12 shortcakes and £1.50 when it shrank to 10.

And now it seems the same is happening to my favourite egg, the Cadbury Creme Egg.

I’m not seeing the sunny side

It’s worth remembering that this isn’t the first time we’ve been subject to change from Cadbury. Four years ago the Cadbury Dairy Milk shrank from 140g to 120g, but still cost 99p.

Now Kraft, the American owner of Cadbury, has taken the eggsecutive decision to reduce the size of a Cadbury Creme Egg pack from six to five eggs. I understand they aren’t real eggs, but when was the last time you saw a box of five eggs?

And it seems I wasn’t the only one who got a bit eggsterical about it. Waves of Creme Egg fans cracked and took to social media to raise their concerns, using the Twitter hashtag #cremeegggate. But there’s one saving grace; there’s been a slight reduction in the price of a box from £3.05 to £2.85. Although, that’s still an increase of 7p per egg.

At least they still taste the same, right?

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. It seems as though it’s out with the old and in with the new – there’s been a change in the recipe too. The iconic Dairy Milk shell has been thrown out and replaced with a ‘standard cocoa mix chocolate’ after testing with consumers. A Kraft spokesperson added:

‘The Creme Egg had never been called Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Creme Egg. We have never played on the fact that Dairy Milk was used.’

The good news (well at least for me) is that the new shell apparently gives a sweeter taste, so I’m not going to judge it until I’ve had a taste.

Are you a Creme Egg fan? What do you think about the pack size shrinking? Do you think it’s an underhand way to increase prices? We want simpler pricing so you can easily compare products to see which is the cheapest.

Comments

Never a fan of Cadbury Creme Eggs I noticed a pack of 6 Cadbury Creme Egg Limited Edition Biscuits selling at 99p per pack in my local convenience store. I have to say I found them more eggcceptible and less messy to eat with a similar interior as the egg with a yolk and white. Will they be reducing the next edition to a pack of 5? I wonder………

That’s the end of the crème egg trail for me, and I’ve been eating them for over fifty years. Too small, too sweet and no longer milk chocolate – no thanks. It’s enough to drive a man to eating Snickers – except have you seen them lately? They’re tiny too.

Though the UK Cadbury site still does not have links to Creme Eggs, they do feature on the Mondelez international site:

“The Cadbury Creme Egg has been a seasonal Easter icon worldwide since 1975. More than 300 million are made each year. The Cadbury Creme Egg is available annually from New Year’s Day to Easter Day.”

That would be a boxful for every man, woman and child, except that some are sold in Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

If

I hope Mondelez are not ashamed of Cadbury’s history. The creme egg first entered the market as a Fry’s product from the Somerdale factory [at Keynsham] in the early 1920’s when the boss of that subsidiary was one Egbert Cadbury. The Somerdale plant was promptly closed down by Kraft immediately after its take-over of Cadbury.

Perhaps the history could be tweaked to refer to Eggbert Cadbury. 🙂

Were the Somerdale creme eggs ready to eat or did they have to be Fryed?

Kenneth says:
18 January 2015

There seems to be a nasty trend going on with substituting dextrose and other “man-made” sugars instead if the real thing. Now we have to put up with inferior American style chocolate. Guess I’m going to have to be creative and make my own sweets (or is that candy?).

Kenneth – Dextrose is just another name for glucose. Glucose occurs naturally in plants and we all have it circulating in our blood. What you regard as the real thing – sucrose or table sugar – is much sweeter than glucose.

I think the sugar they put in the Cabury product is deggstrose.

Well done. A pun that probably hasn’t been used hundreds of times before.

Kate Whelan says:
19 January 2015

No, I am not short changed; it is still five too many. Cannot stand the gooey mess. Apart from Bourneville, Cadbury’s has not the faintest idea of what chocolate is, nor do the people brought up on the fake stuff. It is little wonder there is so much diabetes in the UK!

On the other hand, we have people being conditioned into chocolat snobbery, which is quite profitable for manufacturers. 🙂

Cadbury’s did recognise that some people are prepared to pay more for chocolate and acquired Green & Black’s, ten years ago.

I enjoy chocolate – mainly plain – with a coffee or chocolate drink. I eat far less of a good quality bar than I would of, say, a sweet milk such as Cadbury or Toblerone. The strong flavour is the attraction, not the sugar.

So do I, but I object to the inflated price. I know that cocoa butter is more expensive than vegetable fat and sugar is cheap, but I can see no reason why better quality chocolate is as expensive as it is.

Coffee beans and ground coffee are not that much more expensive than instant coffees but we are now being encouraged to spend more money by buying expensive coffee pods. In contrast, it is possible to buy top quality beer for little more or even the same price as the mass produced tasteless stuff. That could all change if the public is persuaded to spend more for ‘craft beer’.

We fall for gadgets – either to dress our kitchen (not thinking of the space they take up) or receive as gifts. Coffee capsule machines are exactly that and, like inkjet printers, a means to lock you in to expensive consumables. We buy ground coffee in bags and make it in a cafetiere. Far cheaper than capsules and satisfies our taste. I did have a cheap espresso macine once that frothed the milk but got so fed up keeping it cleaned and descaled reverted to the easy method.

Incidentally, i’ve never understood why we elevate the status of someone who serves coffee with the pretentious name of “barista”. It comes from the Italian for “bartender” – much more appropriate.

I think some people imagine they have a law degree and have spent seven years in chambers doing their articles. The gormless twits who do the job round here just like making a lot of noise with their Gaggias and then try to talk to you over the racket.

I respect a good barista because good coffee is an important tradition, like Creme Eggs. Nestle seems determined to undermine any respect by giving a ‘Barista’s Tip’ on cans of Nescafe Azera INSTANT coffee, a mediocre product compared with their other offerings.

Maybe then tea ladies should be termed brewmasters (or mashmistresses).

Those in Canada can continue to enjoy a six-pack of Creme Eggs enveloped in Cadbury’s Dairy Milk: http://www.thestar.com/life/2015/01/21/canadians-spared-creme-egg-choco-horror.html

Emigrating seems a bit eggstreme.

News eggstra. I didn’t know, until reading the DT today, that there are two makers of Cadbury Creme Eggs. Apologies if I’ve missed it. Hershey have the licence to manufacture them in USA – but to a different recipe approved by the FDA. Companies were importing the “real” Creme Egg from UK – presumably now with the Kraft recipe shell – but have now been stopped by a Hershey lawsuit. Consternation apparently for Americans and expats who prefer the “yummy English chocolate” to the “dreadful Cadbury approximation” from “so-called chocolate maker Hershey”.

There are many things we can blame Kraft for, but I believe it was Mondelez that tinkered with the recipe for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. Maybe an eggspert can advise.

Apparently Hershey and others want to change the EU definition of “chocolate” to include their chocolate-flavoured candy bars. So far the EU has resisted, but, if and when TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is forced through they will be able to bring legal action if their business is disadvantaged by the ruling. More serious products will also be in jeapardy. There comes a point when our own interests should take priority over greedy businesses, shouldn’t there?

Thanks Malcolm. I was happier when TTIP was just a useful reagent in synthetic organic chemistry.

Chocolate has many enthusiasts worldwide so there could be a lot of opposition to this change. Maybe those with an intolerance of cocoa will welcome blends of vegetable fat, sugars, synthetic flavours and synthetic colours. 🙁

Please don’t get me started on the subject of greedy businesses.

My Daughter, loved crème eggs, before this American Company, completely changed the standard of ingredients(most definitely Cheaper, less Quality) horrible She said. She’s had Me out searching for any of the old ones still left on the Shop Shelves & luckily I managed to find Her some. When are the people of this Country going to stand up for themselves, We are being Cheated & thrown scraps , in place of most of our quality products. Were these mega companies can trick our taste buds with artificial, most probably genetically modified, chemicals/additives to make as much profit possible they will. They do not care one hoot, about supplying the customer with anything of quality or which is good for them, oh no, they do not care at all. I remember when those tripe Haribio 1st came over & flooded the UK sweet Market, pushing our beautiful Yummy Confectionary out of the market. Even as A child, I thought it a terrible disgrace, those Haribio Sweets are nothing in comparison to the sweets we had before they took over. In fact 2 Years ago in Blackburn I was lucky enough to find & purchase some sports mixtures, midget gems & wine gums, which were in fact the real deal, from My old School Shop, well the shop all the children from our school Used to Go. My Daughter said they tasted quite lovely, better than any She had ever tasted before. I examined the Jar, the maker:’The Good Sweet Company’
Alas try as I did, not even online could I trace were this company was located. Honestly the sweets which our now being sold to our children, are chemically laced, plastic tasting frauds, which are definitely bad for their Health & the Bottom line is: They DO NOT taste Good, No where near the absolutely scrumptious offerings that filled the Shop keepers shelves when I was a Child & that’s so terribly Unfair. If You would like to treat Your children, purchase good old fashioned wholesome, preferably organic(gmo’s, artificial additives & chemicals, or waste products, are NOT aloud) & make some sweets Yourself. Its really easy & the Result, You know what went into them & Your not going to risk their Health in any way. I’m a real foody, always have been & I say this, I find it quite impossible to offer anyone a plate of food which could potentially harm them. Cooking for someone is a total Love thing, a personal gift from Yourself, Untested, Risky, Poisonous components ought NOT to be Allowed.

john c says:
30 March 2015

Ainsley Harriets World Kitchen Packet Cup of Soups. Currently in supermarkets in two packing formats. – Old style contains four sachets, and sells at £1.26 reduced temporarily to 63p. The newcomer contains only three sachets currently selling at £1.64 reduced to 82p. What is Ainslie up to?

Latest ploy in some branches of Sainsbury’s is to replace at check outs the 10p carrier bag for life
with a 40p version, with the 10p version kept under the counter to be produced only on request!

M&S carrier bags – the 5p one produced several years ago, flaunted its green credentials by declaring the a percentage of the profit was going to green charities. Since M&S withdrew provision of free carrier bags, savings of £17 million accrued in the first few years may have been stuffed into their own pockets. Several requests to M&S for further information re this merely produced stock responses that “The question is not understood”. Does anyone know whether flourishing their green credentials has led to any change of heart, as all proceeds of carrier sales plus the mony saved by not providing carrier bags should have been donated to green charities?. I know some other shops had copied their example, and at one time Halfords bags were endorsed that a percentage of the profits went to charity. Those praising shops which refuse to provide free carrier bags might well ask “How green is their wallet?”
John C

When Kraft made a hostile takeover bid for Cadbury it had to borrow £7 billion in order to finance it, it seems to have passed this bill onto Cadbury customers by progressively shrinking it’s products (without apparently reducing it’s wholesale price) and appearing to change the recipe to cheaper ingredients, fudge bars, chomps and Freddos appear to have halved in size and doubled in price recently. Also this was not publicised to the customer and inventive packaging was produced to appear to hide the size reduction from their customers (remember none of this happened until Cadbury were bought out) here is a sample of this from a while ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30wsqtiBrVw
Also Cadbury at the same time Kraft appeared to have moved the weight of the product to the back underneath the wrapping flap or fold from where it was at the front. At the time all of this was being exposed Kraft changed it’s confectionary arm name to Mondelez and if questions are asked about it’s size shrinkage it refers them on to Mondelez and say it’s nothing to do with them. Crafty! I’ve asked Kraft a number of questions about this over the last few years and I always receive spin back (and mainly same templated stuff). So there you fo, that’d Kraft for you! I’m surprised Which haven’t held them to account yet!

It’s about time all shops not just supermarkets are made to show price per 100g in law, this will stop these unscrupulous cheating companies from trying to trick the consumer like this.

ExEggEater says:
7 April 2015

It’s not just the fact they shrunk them to one step beyond a mini-egg…they taste like crap now….as does most US type chocolate….Even in Canada its the same story…and beyond a yoke…

Please can Which! campaign for food to be marked everywhere as price per 100g so that we get rid of this current practice of shrinking sizes but not prices (that I believe was started by Kraft with Cadbury Chocolate). Also please can you make clear to readers that the manufacturers trying to wriggle out of it by saying they’ve reduced the Recommended Retail Price, as that is only a suggestion by the manufacturer and does not mean that the prices will be reduced accordingly! I wish Tesco/ Sainsbury and the like would take a stand on this instead of idly standing by and letting the manufacturers dictate to them!

Thanks for your suggestion John, I’ll pass your feedback to the relevant individuals here at Which? for their consideration. 🙂

I personally think we’d have more success if manufacturers were forced to announce new smaller size across the front of each product they’ve shrunk. And retailers were forced to display the old size and average price over the previous 6 months on the same label in the same size font

It would be obvious what they’ve up to then.

william, a bit like the regulations affecting sale goods. Pack unit price was..(£1.00 / 100g)….. Pack unit price is now..(£1.20 / 100g)…. Good idea.

Perhaps the answer is to show the unit price in larger numbers than the selling price. If we start to pay more attention to unit prices then it does not matter what games the companies play.

But first we need unit prices on everything including the multi-buys.

Trouble is, I forget what the unit prices were on all the products I bought last week. William’s suggestion of including the unit price over a previous period helps overcome that. A bit like showing last year’s insurance premium on your renewal letter.

The suggestions made by you and William would certainly be helpful to shoppers.

I started focusing on unit price a few years ago when I realised the games that supermarkets were playing. I look at the unit price of ground coffee because the pack size varies but at the actual price of instant coffee because that’s sold in 100g jars.

DR Ruxandra Ion says:
9 May 2017

I am not sure if this can be categorised as a “shrinking product” or as a “blatant scam”: I bought these from a small independent TESCOs in New Malden (please see pictures). Both amounts were significantly less than advertised on the box. I was surprised to find in the Beef pack, a 200 g portion meant (if I believe the pack label) for two servings!

Given that the pictures show Spar products I don’t think Tesco should be cited as responsible. So far as I am aware Tesco operate all their Express and Local format shops directly and not as franchises. I can only assume these meat packs were bought in a local Spar convenience store. Spar does operate as a wholesaler to franchised and independent shops under their branding.

The official requirements for packaged goods are:

Three Packers Rules
These set out 3 rules that packers and importers must comply with:

– the contents of the packages must not be less on average than the nominal quantity
– the proportion of packages which are short of the stated quantity by more than a defined amount (the ‘tolerable negative error’) should be less than a specified level
– no package should be short by twice the tolerable negative error

They provide protection for consumers on short measure.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/packaged-goods-weights-and-measures-regulations

I am opposed to the ‘tolerable negative error’. That had a place when weighing machines were less accurate and could easily become inaccurate. That’s history and modern equipment is much better. The sold weight or volume should represent the minimum contents.

As John says, there’s no point in berating Tesco for underweight Spar products.

I agree that the best way for consumers is to sell in packs that show the minimum quantity – weight or volume. Therefore all packs will in practice be above this level, by the negative tolerance of the measuring plant plus, with allowance for any weight loss in storage. The price will increase accordingly to cover the average wight of production packs.