In the week of the infamous American Presidential Election, the feared voice of the public was transferred to other important matters like Toblerone’s recent change to their iconic, triangular chocolate.
The absolute disbelief surrounding these changes has dominated social media last week. Toblerone’s Facebook page, followed by over 4.5 million, issued a statement on Tuesday 8th explaining their hellish decision to change the classic confectionery. They claimed to “appreciate the passion of the Toblerone fans around the world.” Did I mention that the consumer outrage was global? They also made sure to stress that they will “never compromise on taste nor our famous Swiss quality and can assure you that the Toblerone recipe hasn’t changed.”
Toblerone celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008 so these changes to the product were shocking to loyal consumers. There were multiple changes made to the product like weight reduction. The 400g Toblerone bar has been downsized to a mere 360-gram bar. Toblerone is distributed in 122 countries worldwide and the 170g bar, exclusive to the UK, has also changed to 150 grams. Not only has this change upset consumers because they want as much Toblerone as they can in one bar, but the Toblerone packaging sizes have not been changed in parallel. The few that are unaware of this change will buy their usual 400g bar of Toblerone in Sainsbury’s and have a disappointing reveal at home. It would be expected that if the size or shape of the chocolate bar itself is changing then surely the packaging will too.
As well as the weight reduction, the shape change has caused outrage also. The classic Toblerone shape is seen in the featured photo above, but now there are fewer peaks in the chocolate. The shape of the triangles within the Toblerone bar are inspired by the Matterhorn, a mountain of the Alps between Switzerland and Italy. This is shown on the logo on the golden packaging.
One tweet used the hashtag: “#mindthegap” to describe the new form of Toblerone. It is clearly going to be harder to split with friends now as ‘one peak per person’ is no longer equal because of the awkward middle gap. How will we split fairly? Also, the obvious decrease in the usual number of peaks is how the company are making the content of chocolate in the bar smaller…as opposed to simply shortening the length of the bar? These peaks are what makes the chocolate confectionery so recognisable and iconic. This element of the product has been a timeless and unique trait, shown in this advert from 1969.
When companies change any element to a classic type of chocolate, it is almost always met with a universal sense of betrayal. For example, the catastrophic Cadbury’s Creme Egg change of early ’16. Cadbury’s Creme egg changed the chocolate that was used for the shell of the egg, from Cadbury’s Dairy Milk to a cheaper chocolate. Creme eggs lost £6 million this Easter after the recipe change. Cadbury’s Marketing Manager dared to claim that “The fundamentals of Cadbury’s Creme Egg remain exactly the same.”
In the grand scheme of other things going on in the world, it may not seem too important now but it definitely did at the time when the BBC’s article ranking higher than coverage of the election. Maybe this was just the public attempting to transfer their anger and fear towards other issues rather than the cause itself.