Outrage over change to Cadbury's Dairy Milk


Cadbury's tasting stunt

The UK's attachment to Cadbury's was evident from the outcry three years ago when it was sold to the US giant Kraft. However, the Americans have been undaunted by our nostalgia for the brand, and have changed the shape of the bars - to make the pieces rounder.

Now consumers are complaining that it has changed the taste too.

Changing the shape was always going to be a risky step. When we reported on this last year, we pointed out that to make matters worse, although the new shape is lighter than the old bars, the price has stuck at 59p.


Now, according to the Daily Mail, there have been complaints from some users of Mumsnet that the bars feel oilier and sweeter too. They have been charging the company with 'cultural vandalism' for a change to something so resolutely British.

However, a Kraft spokesman told The Grocer that the recipe hadn't changed. He clarified that the shape of the product affects the taste, which would account for the comments. He added that feedback so far had been excellent.

It's ironic that at the beginning of the year Cadbury's ran a campaign to get people to come up with a new word to describe Dairy Milk. The objective was apparently to get consumers to think about the taste of Dairy Milk - and key targets included mums. It was deemed to be a massive success - driving a 20% spike in sales. But clearly in some instances by getting mums to think carefully about the taste of the bar, it also got them submitting less positive comments to Mumsnet.

Not alone

This isn't the first time that a company has faced headwinds when making changes to a much-loved brand.

Perhaps the most famous was in 1985 when Coca-Cola changed the recipe. After 79 days, the flood of complaints was just too much, so it brought back the original and branded it Coca-Cola Classic.

Likewise Maker's Mark whisky reduced its alcohol content, and after an online rebellion, in February this year it told customers "You spoke. We Listened" and it returned to the original proof.

In 2010 the clothes shop Gap tried to change its logo, but after an 'outpouring of comments' online it decided to stick with the old one.

However, an outcry isn't always enough to stop companies transforming some of our much-loved brands. There will be those who still rail at the rebranding of Marathon bars and Opal Fruits. Then there are those who still haven't got over the loss of the Smarties tube in 2005.

It's reasonably safe to assume that even in 2020 there will be those who feel that nothing has ever quite been the same since the demise of the rectangular Dairy Milk chunk in 2012.