Why consumers are up in arms and even setting fire to Arnott’s “new and improved” Shapes

Arnott's Shapes

Source: AAP/Joel Carrett.

Consumers have slammed iconic Australian company Arnott’s online after the business changed the flavour of its iconic Shapes biscuits.

In early April, Arnott’s changed the flavouring for its classic Shapes range, modifying household staples such as the pizza and barbeque flavours.

Shapes biscuits were first introduced in Australia in the 1950s, and have changed very little since that time.

Originally, Shapes flavouring came in the form of powder that coated the outside of the biscuit.

However the flavouring is no longer “flavour you can see”, and is now mixed into the biscuit in an attempt to be more healthy.

However, it seems this decision might have been half-baked, with customers complaining about the reduced crunch of the iconic biscuits.

Along with the recipe change, Arnott’s has also changed the Shapes packaging, claiming the new flavours are “new and improved”.

Lovers of the geometric biscuits have started a Change.org petition in an attempt to revert the flavour switch.

Cheesed off consumers have also taken to Facebook and Twitter to express their distaste for the new flavouring.

“If you ain’t got pizza shapes, you ain’t got my business,” one disgruntled Facebook user wrote.

“If I wanted to pour a 2 minute noodle flavour satchel into my mouth I would have just done that, not buy shapes,” another said.

Many videos and photos have emerged online of consumers burning, crushing and otherwise destroying the new Shapes boxes.

The company states on its website customers “asked for more flavour…so get a big flavour hit from the new and improved Shapes”.

“We invested heavily in extensive research and development of these flavours with literally thousands of Shapes fans,” Arnott’s said in a Facebook comment.

“All of this was to create a flavour hit that Shapes fans loved more than the original flavours.”

Many consumers have rushed to stores in an attempt to find old boxes still on shelves in order to stock-up. 

Nicole Reaney, director public relations company InsideOut, told SmartCompany when companies make significant changes to iconic products, consumers need to be informed and aware.

“That way there’s no surprise when the new product launches, and consumers can expect the change,” Reaney says.

“Product testing with consumer groups is essential and giving loyal consumers the opportunity to trial the product ahead of the launch is a way to create online brand ambassadors, and minimise the backlash.

“Sales will be the telltale sign for this product’s success, and if impacted, I’m sure Arnott’s will be adapting its product again,” she says.

SmartCompany contacted Arnott’s for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.


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Colin Spencer
Colin Spencer
6 years ago

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Destroying the original makes it twice as hard to increase sales. It would have cost less to use some intellect and find a new way of looking at Arnott’s Shapes to make them desirable to another generation of devotees.

5 years ago

I saw them at the supermarket tonight, very reduced, and was none the wiser so I bought them – and they are disgusting!! I should ask for my money back.

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