Monday, 17 August 2009

Cadbury eats humble pie

Cadbury has been forced to eat humble pie this week and backtrack on their decision to replace a percentage of the cocoa butter in their Dairy Milk recipe with palm oil. New Zealand was made aware of the change when Auckland Zoo first banned Cadbury products from its kiosk a couple of months ago and also stopped buying other products containing palm oil.

Producing palm oil requires the clearing of rainforests in South East Asia, the natural habitat of the orang-utan. While Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate is not the only product containing palm oil, it was judged as a very backwards decision to start using palm oil in place of cocoa butter and labelling it as "vegetable oil". Would anyone like to explain that decision to this happy family?

And so the boycott began. Cadbury received hundreds of letters and emails of complaint. Opinion pieces were written and published. Various Facebook protest groups were formed, including Take palm oil out of Cadbury chocolate bars!, which attracted nearly 3500 members. Consumers voted with their wallets, and Whittaker's was the winner on the day, reporting that demand for their chocolate products had significantly increased.

Cadbury managing director, Matthew Oldham, said the decision to go back to using only cocoa butter in Cadbury Dairy Milk was in direct response to consumer feedback.

While Cadbury might not make the best quality chocolate, the number of products it makes each year is significant. I grew up with Cadbury chocolate but mostly buy (bought) it to use in baking. I have chocolate purist friends who won't even use it to bake with! Whether consumers will now forgive Cadbury and go back to buying their chocolate remains to be seen, but there's no doubt that some major market damage has been done. As for me? The jury is still out; I may eventually go back to baking with Cadbury chocolate, but will continue to shop around for better options.

I love it when the little guy wins and a multi-national conglomerate is forced to listen to its customers. After all, without customers, where would any company be?


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Café Chick!

You have a soul-mate in Sue Waters who might share your dismay at changes to Cadbury's Chocolate. In Oz at the moment they've only been tampering with the wrapper. That was enough for Sue.

Catchya later

Sab said...

I haven't bought Cadbury in a long time already, but I had no idea they did what they did. I've been shopping for things that use the most 'real' ingrediants lately (ice cream with modified milk ingredients??? NOT in MY cart). My main thing now is chocolate with at LEAST 70% cocoa solids... although that would be expensive to bake with. Maybe inthe future...