A Driving Instructor's Blog

A proper Toblerone barWell, when I say “Toblerone”, I mean Mondelez – the American jerks who own the brand now.

Back in 2016, they decided to do what most other commercial confectioners do to combat rising costs, and that was to reduce the size/weight of the product whilst simultaneously maintaining the price. Unfortunately – and as most people already know, if they’ve tasted a Hershey bar – Americans haven’t got a clue about chocolate, any more than they have a clue about tradition.

Toblerone originated in Switzerland in 1908, which wasn’t that long after the end of the American Civil War. The shape of a Toblerone is apparently based on the Matterhorn, according to some sources. Wherever the idea for the shape came from, it was trademarked in 1909. The name is a play on the inventor’s name (Tobler) and an Italian word for nougat (torrone). Key to its popularity – other than that it doesn’t taste like Hershey – are the a) triangular shape, and b) the close spacing of said triangles.

In a nutshell, a proper Toblerone looks like the picture above. The American solution to reducing the product weight in 2016 made it look like the one below. They just blanked off some of the spaces in the mould.toblerone2

It was a stupid decision back then, and everyone told Mondelez this. It looked stupid, and screamed “we’re screwing you and we care THIS much”. But hey, they knew best, eh?

From what I can now gather – and it has honestly taken me the whole two years to discover this, though there is still some confusion – the change only affected the 170g pack (which fell to 150g). However, since I assumed that the entire Toblerone range had been screwed with (and there is still some evidence that it was), I haven’t touched one since – and I like Toblerone.

Back in 2016, it would appear that Mondelez hadn’t got a clue, since its Northern European president, Glen Caton, said it wasn’t a long-term solution because of Toblerone’s “iconic nature”. So this “short” term solution has lasted two years.

The company officially said that it was to “keep the product affordable for customers” – which is a load of bollocks, because the only thing any company is interested in is profit, followed by increased profit. That’s not a bad thing; it just becomes bad when they lie to you over it. The change was never about the customers, because I can guarantee that 99% of them hated it, but about Mondelez’s bottom line. It was also about Mondelez’s incompetent marketers believing that such a ridiculous change to something as iconic as Toblerone would not impact sales.

This news item on the BBC reveals that Mondelez is to revert to the old shape, though it points out the price will have to rise.

Mondelez claims that cutting the size, screwing the shape, and charging the same for it actually increased sales. Yeah, right. Of course it did. More incompetent marketing – if sales really did increase, and I seriously doubt that, what would they have increased to without the changes? There is no way on this Earth that the changes specifically and directly caused an increase in sales. That would be like saying breaking an egg makes it stronger.

Face facts, Mondelez. It was a crap decision that has inevitably damaged sales, and it was made by people who haven’t got a clue except when it comes to putting amateurish spin on stupid ideas.

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