Chocolate and confectionery giant Cadbury has been harangued by customers after announcing it would be reducing the size of its family chocolate blocks for the second time in five years.
Announcing the change via its Facebook page, Cadbury said customers would soon notice something a “little different” about its family-sized blocks.
In a rare display of corporate frankness, the chocolate company admitted while it was committed to getting chocolate to consumers at the best price it could, in the last few years the company has “seen our costs go up”.
Cadbury is owned by US food giant Mondelez, who acquired the brand in 2010.
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“Rather than raising the recommended retail price, we’ve made the call to reduce the size of our Cadbury family blocks, and also bring down the recommended retail price slightly, so that our blocks can continue to be an affordable treat for all Australians,” the company said.
“We know some will be disappointed by this change, but we want to keep offering you the best value and best tasting chocolate we can.”
The company also assured customers while the block sizes will be shrinking, the recipe of the chocolate would not change.
Materially, this means the standard Cadbury block size will reduce from 200 grams to 180 grams, with the recommended retail price reducing from $4.99 to $4.79.
However, this isn’t the first time Cadbury has cut the choc. Four years ago in 2015, the company downsized the blocks from 220 grams to 200 grams, causing outrage among shoppers.
It’s clear those shoppers don’t easily forget.
“Didn’t you guys already do this a few years back? Is this a yearly thing now?” one shopper accused via Facebook.
“So before you were a 250g now down to a 200g block so I’m guessing it’s dropping down to a 150g block which is not a family block,” another said.
“Very disappointing Cadbury’s [sic].”
Speaking to SmartCompany, director at InsideOut PR Nicole Reaney says the frank and blunt approach from Cadbury about the changes has worked in the company’s favour.
“The worst thing they could do is make the reduction in the hope no consumer would notice — which savvy shoppers and lovers of the block, definitely would have,” she says.
“By doing this, they’ve acknowledged potential reactions by consumers and also voiced a reasonable explanation of the change.”
Some commenters on the post asked what contributing factors led to Cadbury’s costs going up, with the company pinning the increase on cost hikes for energy, ingredients, packaging and transport.
“For the last four years we have absorbed these costs instead of making any changes to the size of our blocks, however, it just isn’t sustainable for us to continue to do that,” a spokesperson for the company explained.
Reaney says the company’s choice of using Facebook to announce the change showed its willingness to respond to customer questions and critiques.
“Selecting a two-way communication channel, like Facebook, is the right approach as it allows consumers to share their views,” she says.
“Also, providing a reason it is attempting to maintain price levels for consumers demonstrates the company is empathetic to consumers and their tightening budgets.”