Sunday, March 31, 2019

A food fail

There are times it’s a good idea to ignore a special food product, something a company offers for a limited time. Such things are almost always built on mere hype, with the “limited time” offering being a way to generate sales based on the declared scarcity of the product. Sometimes it really is a good idea to look away. I wish I had done that.

Recently, I was ordering in our groceries, and the front page of the grocery store’s website had a promotion for a Cadbury special chocolate bar, a “Dairy Milk Packed With Creme Egg Yum”. It sounded intriguing, so I ordered one. My sincerely held opinion: The hype greatly exceeded the reality.

It probably helps if one is a huge fan—and I mean a fanatical fan—of Cadbury Creme Eggs, and I’m not one. I’ve thought they were okay, but nothing I’d go out of my way to have again. However, to me, this bar was nothing like a Creme Egg. Instead, it was mostly nothing but sweet, far more so than it needed to be, and tasting vaguely of chocolate. It was pretty bad. It was so awful, in fact, that a week and a half later the bar's still not finished—and there are plenty of similarly sized chocolate bars (from other companies…) that wouldn’t last a day and a half in our household.

Cadbury, has been sliding in popularity in New Zealand for years, having frequently shot itself in the foot. In 2007, the company closed its Auckland factory, costing 200 jobs. In 2009, the company got complaints and harsh criticism for switching from cocoa butter to cheaper palm oil, which is a problem for many reasons. They switched some products back after the firestorm.

2009 was also the year that Cadbury was acquired by Kraft Foods, and things have gone downhill since then. That company is now known by it’s totally made-up name, Mondelēz International, and maybe that phoney name should have been an indicator?

In 2017, the company announced it was closing its Dunedin factory, costing 350 people their jobs so, the company could move production to Australia (the Dunedin factory wasn't making enough profit). Some iconic Kiwi brands were to be shifted to Australia, too, but since they’re Kiwi, not Aussie, no one expects that production to continue long term. This year, they announced that—yet again—they’re reducing the size of their “family size” chocolate blocks. That announcement came only a month after it was revealed that Cadbury had “butchered" their marshmallow Easter Eggs by cutting them in half—resulting in “New Zealand’s top five non-Cadbury marshmallow Easter eggs of 2019”. Good advice. As it happens, “This Easter no Cadbury chocolates will be Kiwi-made” for the first time in 89 years. Why do we still buy their stuff?

Oh, that’s right, marketing. And alluring packaging. I won’t make that mistake with their products again.

The products listed and their names are all registered trademarks, and are used here for purposes of description and clarity. No company or entity provided any support or payment for this blog post, and the product was purchased by me at normal retail prices. So, the opinions I expressed are my own genuinely held opinions, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturers, any retailer, or any known human being, alive or dead, real or corporate. Just so we’re clear. The chocolate bar I purchased was made in Australia.

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