/ 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
Guest
Clare says:
13 January 2015

Reducing down to a 5 egg pack is totally uneggeptable.

Guest

Sounds like a Krafty marketing stunt to get people talking about Creme Eggs. 🙂

Guest

By the way, Clare and Wavechange – I’m sorry if I poached any of your yolks in the convo, it was an eggsident.

Guest

I fully approve of the recycling of yokes, Alex. We need a bit of humour to keep us cheerful during the short days of January. No doubt there will be some hard-boiled contributors who will not approve.

Guest
MrTayto says:
13 January 2015

FACTOID: Cadbury’s were not able to call it ‘Cadbury’s cream egg’ due to milk not dairy cream in the Dairy Milk, hence the spelling creme

[This comment has been tweaked. It looks as though you may have over-egged the truth. Thanks, mods]

Guest

Yes. Non-milk fat does not sound appealing, does it?

Guest

We used to litter these round the garden for Easter egg hunts. Off course some were never found, so I’d come across them when digging and use them to sustain me. Now they are too sweet (not tasted the Kraft ones, but never had much time for Kraft anyway).

Look round the supermarkets and you can pay up to 60p each, 3 for £1 (Tesco and Sainsbury) and at Waitrose 12 for £6.68 or 2 for 90p (hang on, that means 12 for £5.40 doesn’t it?).

Doesn’t non-milk fat also appear in nasty ice cream? And you can get creme egg ice (creme) as well. Perhaps there is a connection.

Guest

And if you look carefully Tesco are even claiming they’re on offer, which is odd as they’ve only been available since the start of the year and not the standard 28 days prior to going on offer.

A box of 5 is “only £2.00” and these boxes of 5 (40g eggs) are listed as being 197g. Hmmm

Suffolk and Surrey Trading standards have tweeted that they will not be investigating the recipe change. Nice of Tesco to do the wrong thing, as Trading Standards can instead investigate them.

Guest

I suggest that anyone concerned about the number or weight of the Creme Eggs should contact the appropriate regulator, presumably Ofcreme.

Thankfully, Creme Eggs have not been implicated in campylobacter infections but there was a recall in 2006, when salmonella contamination was found in the factory.

Guest

Do they deep fry creme eggs in Scotland? (This might kill any confection infection).

Guest

Very good Malcolm. And it was you that was questioning the need for the new body Food Standards Scotland. Nutrition is within its remit.

Guest

I don’t like Creme Eggs. There, I said it. I don’t understand them. They have grainy syrup that tastes of nothing but sugar in the middle of average chocolate. I much prefer the caramel eggs. Five Creme Eggs in a pack is five too many in my view.

Guest

I used to like (probably still would if allowed) Nestles sweetened condensed milk spooned out of the tin. Essentially reproduced a much nicer version of the creme egg filling, albeit without the chocolate-flavoured shell. Perhaps I’ll try it spread on a 70% cocoa chocolate bar….. The shape doesn’t matter.

Guest

That sounds like Dulce de Leche, which is delicious.

Guest

I had to look this up. sounds tempting.

Nigella’s community recipe sounds the most entertaining to make, using 4 litres of milk and bicarbonate of soda in a very large pan.

More practical sounds the BakersRoyale recipe just using a tin of sweetened condensed milk.

Must give it a go – or buy a jar from Waitrose.

Guest

+1 for condensed milk.
Any decent recipe with condensed milk in only needed 3/4 can thus leaving some for spooning.

Guest

I was yet to buy any creme eggs this year. Since the new broke, I won’t be buying any more.

I’ll have to drown my sorrows with Jaffa Cakes instead. Lets hope boxes of 12 stay boxes of 12.

Guest

I welcome this industry created food rationing. Sounds good for the health of the nation!

Guest
Clare says:
14 January 2015

Good point, Dave — but surely the price should be reduced along with the quantity?

Guest

My view is that Cadbury should leave the underlying product completely unchanged i.e. no changes to the size or recipe of Crème Eggs (don’t mess with a product so many people like!) and simply adjust the price in line with inflation on a yearly basis. That’s not too hard is it?

Guest
Mike.W says:
15 January 2015

I was a crème egg fan I have now shaken the eggdiction. I agree with the continued decrease in size, now numbers. As a thought have you seen the Wagon wheel is now the side of a skate board wheel. I think they should change the name to just biscuit. Both have lost my custom.

Guest

Likewise the Walnut Whip.

Guest
Sophie Gilbert says:
15 January 2015

I took one bite at a Creme Egg once and spat it right out again, eugh (each to his own). I knew from the convo introduction, however, that there would be good puns in it. I haven’t been disappointed and enjoyed each of them. Cheers!

Guest

I had a look at the UK site for Cadbury and it does not even mention Creme Eggs, only a bar called Creme Egg Twisted. Maybe Mondelez, the current owner of Cadburys does not see much future for Creme Eggs.

Mondelez have recently announced plans to cut 200 of the 900 jobs at the Bournville factory. Maybe it would have been better to keep Cadbury in this country rather than let Kraft take over.

Guest

I believe Kraft said they would keep Cadbury jobs in Britain. So much for business ethics. However, I am not a fan of the sweet chocolate they make – there are much nicer bars of chocolate around, and much better assorted chocolates. The only thing I miss from years ago is their roasted almond plain chocolate bar.

Guest

Further investigation has located a page about Creme Eggs on the Cadbury website: https://www.cadbury.co.uk/products/Creme-Egg-2392?p=2392

I don’t know why it does not appear in the products section. Perhaps an investeggation is needed.

Guest

A few seconds ago I was looking at the Conversation on dental treatment. I think a liking for Creme Eggs might have some bearing on the other matter.

Guest

There is a serious point to this Conversation. It’s in the Consumer Rights section and tagged ‘food pricing’, ‘packaging’ and ‘supermarkets’.

How on earth do we stop manufacturers increasing price or cutting size of products? Perhaps they should be obliged to draw our attention to these changes with conspicuous labels. e.g. Cadbury’s Creme Eggs – New smaller pack.

I would like to see the Creme Egg fiasco as a way of encouraging more people to take an interest in how they are being treated by greedy companies.

Guest

That’s very true, Wavechange. There’s definitely a serious point to this Convo and it’s something we have been trying to tackle. We’ve campaigned for simpler pricing in the past so it’s easier to compare products.

This convo from this time last year highlights some of our research on shrinking products costing us more. Although, as you commented I know you’ve already seen it, but it may be new to some 🙂

https://conversation.which.co.uk/energy-home/supermarket-special-offers-pricing-tactics/

Guest

I was amused by your comment about how much you would have to shell out for gym membership. 🙂

Guest

There are surely more serious products than Cadbury’s Creme Eggs that should be leading the way in defeating underhand price changes. One problem with an inflation-based economy is that it is difficult to separate out actual price increases from those just due to inflation. Perhaps, as in pricing sales goods, shops should show the last “real” price at which something was sold when an increase occurs. However, I think it is impractical and up to us to keep value for money in mind when we shop.

Guest

I find when buying anything that comes in a multi-pack that it pays to check the unit price and do a little multiplication. Multi-packs of crisps are a good test case for this. We are so conditioned to thinking that the more we buy the less we pay per unit, the maunfacturers and retailers frequently try to slip one past us that is actually more expensive than buying the product separately. This is frequently done with gift packs and the excuse is that the fancy wrapping and product presentation justifies the higher price for a more desirable set. With crisps it is also essential to check that the pack weight is identical in the different combinations being compared. This might also aply to Creme Eggs. It is a fact that different birds of the same species can produce eggs of different weights and that the same birds can lay eggs of different weights. It is also well known that egg yields are affected by the conditions in which they are kept as well as their diet and freedom of movement. It is possible that down on the cremey poultry farm some selective breeding and diet adjustment have taken place to produce a smaller egg, or alternatively, and more likely in my opinion, the hens – upset by the changes to their husbandry caused by the sale of Mr Cadbury’s business [run, until its demise, on beneficent principles] have decided to get their own back. Unfortunately the buyer gets a smaller treat and the producer gets a bigger profit.

Just a footnote : The creme egg first entered the market as a Fry’s product from the Somerdale factory [at Keynsham] when the boss of that subsidiary was one Egbert Cadbury. The Somerdale plant was closed down by Kraft immediately after its heavily-leveraged acquisition of Cadbury.

Guest

John, “I find when buying anything that comes in a multi-pack that it pays to check the unit price and do a little multiplication”. Where we shop most product shelf price labels show the cost per unit (e.g. 100g) including products on multibuy. You can easily check whether the deal is beneficial – assuming you can make use of a multibuy, of course! As you say it is worth checking.

We’ve all seen instances where a mutibuy is more expensive – by mistake or deception. Whilst the creme egg issue seems a trivial eggzample to use in tackling the shrinking products issue, I did point out earlier that it was cheaper to buy 6 x 2 at Waitrose than a pack of 12 by around £1 (according to their website)