What a difference a year can make. This time 12 months ago, Cadbury would have been enjoying the run up to their lucrative Easter sales. Fast forward to today, one recipe change later and it is a very different story.
Cadbury decided to do what many companies consider the ultimate no-go in business – they fixed what wasn’t broken. The famous chocolate firm swapped the Dairy Milk chocolate used for their Crème Eggs for a cheaper cocoa mix containing milk powder. They also dropped an egg from their six pack. The current pack only holds five eggs but sells at the same retail price as the previous six.
Since this radical decision, customers have taken to social media to vent their displeasure, but more importantly, they have stopped buying the eggs.
So far, total sales of all Cadbury eggs have fallen by £10 million (around $14.5 million), with the Crème Egg taking the biggest hit.
But the makers of the egg do not seem to acknowledge the link between customer dissatisfaction and the change in chocolate.
Marketing manager Claire Low told The Grocer:
“The fundamentals of Cadbury Crème Egg remain exactly the same. It’s simply not the case that Crème Egg has always been made with Cadbury Dairy Milk.”
“The fundamentals of the Cadbury Creme Egg remain exactly the same as the original in 1971 recipe with delicious Cadbury chocolate and a unique gooey creme filling. In fact, only six out of 45 years of gooey history saw the shell made with Cadbury Dairy Milk.
Ms Low also blamed a shorter Easter season on falling sales figures:
“We are aware shorter seasons can be challenging,” she told the magazine. “To strengthen our positioning, we will continue to invest in power brands, launching new seasonal products and a brand new Easter pack design.”
Cadbury is now owned by US business Mondelez, who also defended the use of a different chocolate substitute:
“Cadbury remains the number one treat at Easter. The Easter ‘season’ changes every year depending on when Easter falls. It was two weeks shorter in 2015 than 2014 so it’s hard to compare like for like.
“This is why most of the big chocolate brands show a fall in revenue for 2015 against 2014. We are proud to be the nation’s favourite at Easter and we will continue to strengthen our position by investing in power brands and launching new seasonal products.” Ms Low said.
To combat falling sales, Cadbury is preparing for a massive Easter sales marketing boost, as they launch new products, including the ‘interactive’ Dairy Milk egg in which children can decorate.
However, with the egg market now opening, other chocolate brands are flexing their muscles with Mars creating a range of Galaxy Golden eggs in the form of mini solid eggs and a bigger version.
The mini eggs with have crunchy caramel pieces inside them.
Ferrero are also launching a limited edition for Easter Kinder Egg which will features two halves of an egg, one with creamy milk and cocoa cream and the other containing a toy and a spoon.
The question now on Cadbury Crème Egg lover’s lips is ‘Will Cadbury bow to consumer pressure and change the recipe back to Dairy Milk Chocolate?’ If they do you’ll be the first to know.