The Cadbury's Creme Egg scandal: how to stage a chocolate revolution

Creme Egg

The Creme Egg’s recipe has been altered, and the shell is no longer made of Dairy Milk. But as history shows, it is possible to get confectionary giants to perform a humiliating U-turn

The increasingly uncomfortable world of British chocolate is in disarray again after Cadbury announced it was downsizing Creme Egg packs from six eggs to five and – here’s the kicker – reducing the price by just 20p. More shockingly yet, the chocolate eggshell will not be Dairy Milk any more, but a “standard cocoa mix chocolate” instead, because if you’re going to break some eggs you may as well blow up the whole chicken hatch.

Customers promptly noticed that their Creme Eggs tasted funny, and then the Sun chased it up, which prompted parent company Kraft to unleash a rather smug statement:

The Creme Egg has never been called the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Creme Egg. We have never played on the fact Dairy Milk chocolate was used.”

Of course, the British public took to the internet to wave virtual pitchforks but is there any chance that Kraft would hear them? Is it possible for Kraft to change its craft?

Well, yes, actually.

To stage a revolution these days, all you have to do is call and have a good moan. I know, it’s not sexy, but it works. Almost every time the public has risen as one to fight for culinary justice, corporations have flopped over the national knee and taken a gratuitous public spanking. And then they change whatever it was that they screwed up.

Take, for example, the Hershey company, which in 2008 thought it would be a smart idea to remove cocoa from its chocolate, which is like serving up a really crumbly crumble with no crumble. Honest to a fault, it stopped referring to its products as chocolate.

As it happens, Hershey’s products taste horrible anyway but enough people loved them to demand the company reintroduce the fundamental ingredient into its “chocolate candy”.

Or take Coco Pops. Kellogg’s thought people would prefer it if they were named Choco Krispies. More than a million logical Brits took to the phones and put the company right: 92% of us said change it back; the remaining 8% presumably emigrated to America, which is rather pleased with the alternative.

Then there’s Mars. In 2007, the Mars Bar recipe was inexplicably shifted to include rennet, an enzyme sucked from the stomach of calves. Six thousand people called Mr Mars and got it changed back, because chocolate really doesn’t need to have any more animal bits in it. Twix, Milky Bar and Celebrations still contain it, by the way, if you fancy starting a broader campaign.

So, if you’re sufficiently roused to fight for chocolate justice, pick up your smartphone and get tweeting, emailing or calling. At this very second, the great Cadbury chicken may be about to lay another mediocre batch. There’s really no time to lose.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by David Whelan, for theguardian.com on Monday 12th January 2015 15.49 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010