McVitie's chocolate digestives new recipe dunked


McVitie's has changed the recipe of its chocolate digestives after almost 100 years. And despite its claims to have added 3% more chocolate, Which? taste testers say it is no improvement.

So is this digestive really so unpalatable, or are we just bad at accepting change?

The results

The results emerged in a taste test of chocolate digestive biscuits. The consumer group asked 30 regular biscuit eaters to compare the old and the new: some 19 out of 30 testers said that the old biscuit was better. This could be a blow for the firm, as this particular biscuit sells 81 million packets a year in the UK - which is a lot of sales to lose.

The new biscuit was said to be less crunchy, and the topping less wavy. United Biscuits, however, insists that the recipe for the biscuit has not changed in any way - it's just that more chocolate has been added to the coating.

Bad at change

We are not always great at accepting changes to foods we have come to love. We have been eating McVitie's digestives made from the same recipe since 1893. We have been eating the same chocolate digestives since 1925. After almost 100 years, it wasn't going to be easy to persuade us to embrace change.

There was similar dissatisfaction back in 2005 when Heinz bought HP sauce and reduced the salt content by 38% - changing the taste dramatically - we have got used to it since.

However, companies don't always get away with it. Twinings faced a backlash after changing its Earl Grey recipe to add more lemon. The resulting outcry persuaded them to bring back Classic Earl Grey alongside the new recipe.

The most famous u-turn was in 1985 when as the result of taste tests, Coke changed its recipe. The response brought about a swift re-think, and within three months Classic Coke had returned.


As for these chocolate biscuits, the solution is going to be to try it for yourself, and ask yourself whether more chocolate is such a bad thing.

The good news is that if you are disappointed, there are plenty of alternatives. Before this taste test, Which? had previously tested the original biscuit against supermarket own-brands. And while the original came out on top, it was also decidedly more expensive.

Its nearest rival was a three-way-tie between Best Buys Lidl Tower Gate, Essential Waitrose, and Sainsbury's Milk Chocolate Digestive.

Given that McVitie's costs £1.75, and the Lidl rival just 59p per pack, it's food for thought for biscuit lovers reconsidering their allegiances.

But what do you think? Can you get used to more chocolate, or will this change tea time as we know it? Let us know in the comments.

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McVitie's chocolate digestives new recipe dunked

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