Shrinkflation hits Toblerones – good for profits but bad for the brand?
As we have mused before, you don’t need to be Marcel Proust or Professor Maslow to appreciate the deep connection between food and emotions. Brands are hugely emotional creatures, but that doesn’t seem to worry Mondelez who, fresh from upsetting the UK Creme Egg-eating public, appear to be doing their utmost to stomp all over the dreams and memories of the Toblerone demographic. British Toblerones now include fewer triangles and more gaps in what many consider to be a corporate attempt to pull a fast one.
The weight of a Toblerone has reduced by 10% but, instead of coming clean and admitting to selling smaller bars, they’ve retained the overall length by reducing the number of chocolate ‘mountains’ and widening the ‘valleys’ in between.
Worse, the size of the packaging has remained the same, so none of this is apparent until after you’ve paid for your choccy treat and opened up your big box of disappointment.
This cost-saving measure is apparently needed to counter the falling value of sterling and the rising price of chocolate. But as Mondelez were at pains to point out, it has nothing to do with Brexit. Obviously not. Unsurprisingly, social media is in uproar, condemning the move as ‘wrong’, ‘stupid’ and ‘underhanded’. That it has happened at all might be bad enough, but it’s how it’s been done that’s really upset people. ‘You buy a bar expecting a normal bar and it looks like you are getting half the chocolate.’ It also looks… wrong. Like a bad parody of a Toblerone, like a cheap knock-off, like Mondelez are the only people in the world who don’t get what makes their own product special.
Given the Unilever vs Tesco ‘Marmite standoff’ a few weeks ago, perhaps Mondelez were running scared of upsetting retailers by upping their prices. Maybe it’s all a clever ploy so they can justify raising the price once they bow to inevitable public pressure to reinstate the old sizes. But what we’re currently staring at is so laughable, we have no idea how even a PR department can defend it with a straight face. Spinning this as a way of ‘offering a great value product’ or hectoring us as to how ‘Toblerone remains one of the best value and most delicious Swiss chocolate products in the market’ is just laughing in the face of anyone who ever harboured any warm feelings for the Toblerone brand. After all, if they were looking to cut corners and upset people, they could have rebranded to OBLERON. Just to save a few pennies, you understand.