I know there are more pressing matters in the world right now but today I want to talk about chocolate.
More specifically how our beloved chocolate bars here in the UK are shrinking, shockingly so.
This is a growing problem in many chocolate bars and with cut backs being so blatantly obvious the feeling of being short changed and underfed, especially now with our government squeezing us dry of income as much as possible, is amplified even more.
I could go into many chocolate bars and their outrageous size reductions over the years but I’ve decided to concentrate on one that particularly shocked me when they changed it just recently.
In fact, it was my favourite chocolate bar, now ex favourite, the KitKat Chunky.
The Kit Kat Chunky wasn’t the first iteration of the Kit Kat by any means, it had to come a long way before it got shaved down in size and stamped with Hashtags, a sad fate for anything in my book, let alone something with 80 long years of history.
It was way back when in 1935’s London when Rowntree’s released what we know as a Kitkat, 4 fingers of tasty chocolate encasing wafer biscuits you could break apart and eat, though it was originally called the “Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp”.
It wasn’t until 1937 that it was known as a “KitKat Chocolate Crisp” and of course over the years has been abbreviated down to Kit Kat, a bit like the sizes of the bars themselves.
I have to say, I can’t imagine the KitKat’s of our day tasting anywhere as nice as the 1930’s version, they do advertise using the finest butter after all, have you ever seen butter as an ingredient in a Kitkat?
Rowntrees was sadly taken over by Nestle in 1988 and if I had a time machine I would certainly go back and see what difference that made to the bars themselves if any, you never know, business practices weren’t as bad back then, maybe they protected the integrity of the precious KitKat until later years.
If you know, do let me know in the comments!
Still, in history we are KitKat Chunky-less so lets fast forward to 1999 when they first came into production.
KitKat Chunky’s were a big hit straight away and in 2005 they sold a whopping 73 million of them.
Myself, I wasn’t that keen on usual KitKat’s, it was the chocolate bar you got in your lunch box and was a staple treat that I admit I got bored of.
The KitKat Chunky on the other hand was one big finger, rather than the 4 or the later 2 wafer KitKat’s and tasted so different with even more chocolate surrounding the crispy wafer inside. Truly chunky.
Over the years they have released quite a few different flavours like mint, orange and even peanut KitKat Chunky’s which were still pretty nice indeed, my favourite being the orange!
Of course, being a big fan of them, I picked up a regular 4 pack recently and though on the outside they look pretty much the same, a red packet with the brand emblazoned on it, inside I discovered a whole different matter.
Before I even opened the first bar I could tell the size had reduced significantly, what was once a wide and thick bar was now reduced to a pretty skinny little weed.
Sadder still, the chocolate which was once thick and chunky was now about half the size, completely ruining the texture that was unique to the chunky and making it a lot more like a regular KitKat, not the worst thing that could have happened but anything unique to the chunky had disappeared.
I was pretty dismayed but I thought since many companies make smaller versions for multi-packs, it could be that they’re following in the same vain.
Sadly, that is not the case and all bars, whether multi-pack or individual were once 48g and are now just 40g.
If that doesn’t seem like a lot to you, just think, that is 19% smaller! That is 32grams less in a 4 pack, almost a whole bar.
Of course, you could say that they are helping us out, with the 19% reduction, of course we will have 19% less calories to worry about in each bar, phew, crisis averted and the guys at Nestle don’t even need to alter the recipe for the health concious.
Personally I find that a pretty crap excuse since most of us are capable of knowing there are plenty of calories in something like this, should we decide to eat it, and if you do have a serious problem and don’t know that, the 19% reduction is not going to help you.
Add to that, they have just made the bar smaller and less satisfying, it is much more likely someone will eat two, which ruins the entire concept if you believe the entire idea isn’t just complete baloney to save money in the first place.
Surely the fact they are saving money on each bar would be the main, if not only, concern for any sane company.
What really gets my goat though, is that these savings that the company are making, never come back to the consumer.
Do they say, “Right guys, we have reduced the size of these by about 20% for your own good, got to keep fit and all. In exchange we will lower the price by 20% to keep it in line with what we were charging just 1 month ago.”
In order for the calorie consideration to be valid in any way they would have to do that, but no.
The price stays the same, the package stays the same, everything looks normal until the unsuspecting person, still paying the £1.50 RRP for a pack of 4, finds out they have been for all intents and purposes, short changed.
Unless you have memorised the gram weight of a bar then purposefully checked how many grams are in a bar that might look the same as before, you won’t know until they already have your money.
Is it just me that thinks advertising standards should require these companies to state on the front of the package that the size has been reduced and then leave the buyers to make their own decision?
Of course this would be fought all the way by the companies in question, after all who wants to tell their customers straight in the face that they’re reducing their sizes but not reducing the price?
All this without even scratching the surface of using cheaper ingredients, some of which are harmful to humans in large doses like North America’s KitKats, where they are using Polyglycerol polyricinoleate instead of cocoa butter. Makes me think even more about not doing my “Eating From England” posts I tell you!
All in all it is a sad state of affairs which will only change if we as consumers put our foot down.
If we refuse to buy, these companies won’t have their millions and they will soon start caring about us and what we want from our products, or at least where our money goes, again.
Of course most of these companies are on a global scale and you might not think just one person could make a difference but one thousand people individually doing something they think might not make a difference is 1000 people and those 1000 can affect and lead as an example for their families, their friends, which will affect the next persons family and friends and in time another 1000 people, and another and that’s just when you’re not shouting on the rooftops about it!
Stand up for yourself as a consumer and as a person if you don’t like what these companies are doing and maybe, just maybe we will see what happens.