/ Food & Drink

Will the Toblerone change leave you with a sour taste this Christmas?

Toblerone

Toblerone has become the latest product to suffer shrinkage by its manufacturer in a bid to save the pennies. But do you feel short-changed?

Bar humbug! For chocoholics, Christmas 2016 is already shaping up to be a bit, well, miserable.

First came the news that tins of Quality Street would be missing its veteran Toffee Deluxe this year, then Terry’s Chocolate Orange fans noticed that their favourite chocolate stocking filler had shrunk by 18g.

And now that iconic prism-shaped bar of nougat, honey and almond-infused Swiss chocolatey goodness has gone the same way. Yes, I’m talking about Toblerone – the one gift that’s impossible to wrap but will always find its way under the Christmas tree in my household.

Shape changer

Not content with shrinking Terry’s Chocolate Oranges and Cadbury’s Creme Eggs or changing the shape of Dairy Milk, manufacturers Mondelēz has now interfered with the appearance of Toblerone bars sold in the UK.

You won’t notice it from the size of the packaging – yes, the packaging has stayed the same – but open up what were its 170g and 400g bars and you’ll spot the difference.

In an effort to reduce the weight to 150g and 360g, respectively – a move it puts down to the rising price of ingredients – Mondelēz has increased the space between the triangle chunks dramatically.

And I, like many others who have taken to websites like Reddit, really very much do mind the gap. 

Mondelēz did announce the change on its Facebook page on 15 October, explaining:

‘…Like many other companies, we are experiencing higher costs for numerous ingredients. We carry these costs for as long as possible, but to ensure Toblerone remains on-shelf, is affordable and retains the triangular shape, we have had to reduce the weight of just two of our bars in the UK, from the wider range of available Toblerone products.’

Despite prior notice for its customers to explain its decision to shrink the Toblerone, many consumers have been asking why, if it needed to tweak the weight, it didn’t just make the bar shorter.

Sign of the times?

Although a spokeswoman for Mondelēz acknowledged that the foreign exchange rate against the pound wasn’t currently favourable, she did state that: ‘This change wasn’t done as a result of Brexit’.

But with the Bank Of England warning in September that food retailers would be ‘re-engineering’ products in an effort to maintain pre-Brexit prices and keep ‘highly price-sensitive’ customers happy – not to mention Walkers, Birds Eye and Unilever all raising their prices – I can’t help but wonder whether there will be more changes in shapes, sizes and ingredients of our favourite foods in the not-too-distant future.

So, do you feel that Mondelēz has been Scrooge-like in changing UK-bound bars of Toblerone? What do you think about product changes and price increases?

Comments

What was once Swiss chocolate is now swizz chocolate.

Look at the unit price for Toblerone and compare it with the unit prices for other confectionery. That will always show if companies are playing silly games with prices. It would be good if pack sizes always stayed the same but that seems unlikely to happen.

I don’t know about Toblerone but have you noticed how the contents of Nestle’s ‘Quality Street’ has shrunk? I still have a container (unopened) from last Xmas (2015) which states 795g net 820g inc. wraps. I just bought a Cadbury’s ‘Roses’ container which has 729g net 745g inc. wraps.

Hi Michael, thanks for sharing this – do you have a photo of this that you can share with us? If you do please send it through to conversation.comments@which.co.uk

Are Quality Street and Roses directly comparable?

Its a disgrace 🙂

We knew where we were with a pound of chocolates, didn’t we? Now it’s anybody’s guess what you’re getting.

I don’t know what’s happened to my post about boxes and tins, in response to MICHAELGAMBLE’s comment. I suppose it was a bit off-topic. 🙂

I remember reading it Wavechange so I looked for it under your comments list.

You posted it under a different Conversation called “Which retro treats do you miss?”.

This is it : “I have just been given one of these octagonal Quality Street plastic containers, marked 726g and 750g including wraps. I ask friends to keep tins and boxes for me to store stuff in the garage. Maybe the octagonal boxes used to be square but Nestle has been cutting corners.

You win the Fudge Supreme.

Thank you John. I looked there too but did not go down far enough, which may say something about the number of posts I have made recently. 🙁

One of the great unsolved mysteries is why so many useful storage boxes are not quite square. Now that is off-topic.

I vote with my feet, buy something else.

chris hawe says:
11 November 2016

I quite agree we should all vote with our feet and not buy these ‘rip-off’ items. Last week I shopped in Tesco and out of a shopping list of 21 items 18 had increased by 20% this is
not due to scarce items but just sheer greed. I spoke to customer services and they said
there is a severe dairy, british meat & nut shortage. WHY? Have cows suddenly gone on
strike? I can understand the nut or even fruit & veg shortage as that can be weather related.
But milk butter & cheese? Either Tesco aren’t paying their suppliers or they are just plain
greedy!

chris hawe says:
11 November 2016

Go to Aldi or Lidl their chocolate is as good as, or even better than the larger manufacturers.
At least their nutty chocolate contains lots of nuts and only costs between 49p & 99p a bar.
Depending on whether it is on special or not.

chris hawe says:
11 November 2016

Still on a sweet note. Last week I purchased a small box of Dairy Milk Chocolates it contained
18 chocolates, (£5.20 divided by 18 = 28p each approx) that seems a bit high to me or am I
just out of touch with the real world. That must be almost 5 bob a choc in old cash my mum
will turn in her grave.

Why can’t toblerone be honest about their product. If the cost of ingredients has risen then just increase the cost of the product. Don’t try and con us by putting far less in the packet and charging us the same. My children always buy me toblerone for my birthday and Christmas. I have now told them not to bother, its all just a fiddle.

Get a life everyone – you are lucky to be able to live in a country where u can nip down the shops and buy anything u like! Dont like it?dont buy it – simple – stop whining

When is selling a chocolate block with half its teeth missing in a full-size box a case of miss-selling for which a compensation claim is in order?

Fred – People like Toblerone but they don’t like manufacturers that chisel bits off their product in a blatant act of deception. As others have said, it is a contemptuous act and therefore contemptible so it is wrong to just walk away. Perhaps consumers should open packets of Toblerone in the supermarkets and if they find fewer chunks and wider gaps they should reject the goods as a production defect and leave the remains on the shelf. It is not by luck that we live in a good country – generations of British citizens have made it the way it is and a fair place in which to trade. Unfair practices and trickery like this have to be actively condemned to prevent the rot permeating through the whole of commerce.

Deception has a very long history. The first step forward was to require the weight of products to be displayed. It became popular to sell odd pack sizes to confuse customers, so the next step was to state the unit price, commonly price per 100g of confectionery.

Some traders sell multi-packs with only the unit price for the single item shown, requiring the customer to calculate the unit price. Others make offers such as 4 for the price of 3, cheapest item free, which makes it impossible to calculate the unit price. Since the price of a single item has often been greatly increased, offer prices are often not a bargain. Deliberate deception is alive and well.

“half its teeth missing” – biting chunks off a proper-size Toblerone taken from the fridge – therefore quite sturdy – by levering with my teeth often made me wonder whether I’d find half my front teeth missing.

They could have kept the mountain peak spacing the same and just reduced the length of the bar to make an honest declaration of the new amount of chocolate. I’ll stick with M&S Mountain Bars.

Me too. Much of the pleasure in eating a Toblerone will no longer be there, so why bother, I’d rather my children spent their money on something else and will be suggesting they visit Lidl or Aldi or buy me a book instead.

It’s a real swizz that they’ve kept the tube the same size. After today’s publicity, however, I hope few will be caught by surprise.

I wonder if this affects the famed duty-free Toblerone, and whether we can expect an import market for the ‘classic’ model.

I’ll have a look in the airport on the way home…

No input for days. Does Which? offer advice on reporting missing Conversation Editors that may have been lost in transit?

I see you can buy a 4.5kg bar of Toblerone; that should satisfy those who moan about size. It is a little more expensive but M&S do Mountain Mars in decent chocolate – white, milk and plain. If you don’t like the Mondelez chocolate-flavour confection these might suit you better.

If only they had filled the spaces with some alpine air rich with the fragrance of gentian violets.

Next Christmas there will be nine Smarties per tube and six mints in a packet of Polos. Penguin bars will be changing down from an Emperor to a Magellanic, and a Bounty bar will be coconut-free.

Haha, just on the air… a company was/is trying to sell bottled Tasmanian air in China: https://www.choice.com.au/shonky-awards/hall-of-shame/shonkys-2016/green-and-clean

The problem with this Toblerone is that they’ve tried to save money by making less chocolate fit into the same box, meaning they don’t need to refit out their packaging factory for the new size. The bar frankly looks ridiculous IMO.

Since Tasmania is separated from its neighbouring island of Australia by the Bass Strait I would rather have a bottle of Bass Water.

Somewhere I have a tin of London Smog.

Well if you’re homesick at all you can always order yourself an £80 jar of British air http://www.aethaer.com/shop … bargain

It might catch on. Everyone has heard of The Londonderry Air.

We frequently hear about companies being berated for making products smaller and social media has encouraged many more to join in. Recalling all the comments that were made about the change in the chocolate used in Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and the new pack (five for the price of six) I wonder if sales or reduced or boosted. Is there any possibility that negative publicity is being used as effective advertising, simply by raising awareness of products?

That’s an interesting thought Wavechange, it certainly pushed up sales of Marmite recently. I have to say though, I feel less inclined to buy a Terry’s Chocolate Orange this Christmas and I may even switch to the M&S version that Malcolm has recommended

Making Chocolate Oranges smaller and fiddling with Toblerone might just be examples of what has been termed ‘shrinkflation’ but it is difficult to imagine that something as obvious as switching from packs of six Creme Eggs to packs of five is not done to raise awareness. The love it/hate it campaign for Marmite does the same.

I look forward to seeing other examples, Lauren. Unilever has explained why prices have to go up.

A spokeswoman […] did state that: ‘This change wasn’t done as a result of Brexit’. I fully expect, however, that other manufacturers will soon blame their shrinking products and unchanging prices on Brexit. Our heads may not button up at the back, but will it stop us from carrying on buying their products anyway, whatever the blame is laid on? Naaah.

Mondelez know they’re messing with an icon, but they don’t care. Toblerone, shaped like mountains or the Folies Bergères dancers – now it looks like a saw with missing teeth.

Is it any wonder that this company changed it’s name from Kraft yes the same company that took over Cadburys and ruined it, if people do not purchase it’s products maybe they will change but i won’t hold my breath.

Like decimalisation when retailers had an excuse to raise prices now the new gimmick is Brexit as an excuse to raise prices. The answer is simple any products you are unhappy about or feel the manufacturers are taking the proverbial ‘coloured water’ then boycott them, I think I could and can live without Toblerone, Marmite and the likes of Walkers Crisps. If these companies happen to take a dip in fortune ‘so be it’, they should learn to treat their customers fairly.

I have switched to peanut butter………………Yummie, less sugar, more nutritious 🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s actually all an altruistic move by the purveyors of sugary tooth-rot to use less sugar. It’s like a government tax except they get to keep all the extra profits too.

I take note that the MD of Toblerone hasn’t offered to lose weight himself whilst still keeping his over-inflated salary. He continues to grow fat in both senses!

This made up silly name Mondolez is Kraft that bought Cadbury some while back and reneged on continuing manufacturing assurances. Just watch more from Nestle, Pepsi, P and G, Reckit Benkiser, Unilever etc push through disproprionate increases in the New Year. Our three normally too vocal Brexiteers in the present Government seem strangely quiet on this.

tasha says:
11 November 2016

everybody has jumped on the band wagon….. tuna fish and most canned foods are at it , even supermarket own brands….

Mike Estall says:
11 November 2016

Whilst manufacturers are reasonable quick to change there pricing models when the exchange rate goes down. However it was very noticeable the price or quantity did not change when the pound reached its highest levels against the dollar a little while ago. It is pure greed by the company’s to maintain a high profit margins. There is an easy option and if consumer’s feel cheated do not buy the product ever again. There are many choices our there!

chris hawe says:
11 November 2016

Well, I must be one of the few that favour the shape-change Toblerone. I find it much easier to break
than previously. Yes, I know the price has increased but don’t all luxuries at this time of year? What
really DOES BUG ME is the lack of nuts in ‘nut chocolate’ I bought a bar of Cadbury’s Whole Nut
recently and only 5 squares of chocolate contained a nut. AND YES I WROTE AND TOLD THEM SO
I still await a reply. Good luck to all you nutty consumers.

As a swiss citizen and a lover of toblerone this is the most stupid move. Tiblerobe’s shape is supposed to mimic the Cervin. Now it barely looks like rotten rails. They should not be allowed to name it toblerone. Oh btw been living in the uk (cardiff, Wales) for about 7 years. Had to go back to homeland in 2008. Guess why?

When the £ goes down you get less for it – Simples! Another Brexit Bonus.

Same size box, reduced contents invisible until the pack is opened equals contempt for the consumer. I like the sweet, but I am pleased to say that I can live without it.

When I see this sort of marketing I try to avoid that manufacturer as long as possible, I see it as “smoke and mirrors” trying to deceive us.

We all know prices have to rise now that we always have government sponsored inflation. Please just be honest and I will endeavour to continue supporting you.

It’s ridiculous, they should keep the original Shape/weight and if costs have legitimately increased increase the cost accordingly.

Just another big company taking advantage and we just let them do it.
The answer? Don’t buy it!!
They will very soon get the message. Without the consumer they have nothing. The power is in OUR hands. Don’t buy it!!