Pascall has changed the recipe of its Milk Bottle lollies and removed the milk. And as is the case with most changes like this, customers are unimpressed with the new taste—and the concept.
The company, which is part of the Mondolez family, stated last October it had removed milk as an ingredient because it’s an allergen.
It said Milk Bottles were the only product in its factory that had the ingredient, so it decided to remove it so the factory could be in line with good manufacturing practices.
It said that it was unfortunate that the change had to happen, but the need for food safety was paramount in its business.
"Even if a little different we think they are definitely still tasty!" Pascall said.
The new Milk Bottle recipe was rolled out to Party Packs late last year.
Changes to the 180g family bags of Milk Bottles have only been made in the last couple of months.
The new ingredient used to replace milk is gelatine that’s derived from beef. At least there's still a connection to the Old Betsy then.
Not surprisingly, Pascall New Zealand’s Facebook wall has turned into a stream of complaints, with most posters objecting to the new taste.
Rather than praise for catering to people’s intolerances, people are questioning whether the branding is now an oxymoron.
“I shall not be purchasing any more Milk-less milk bottles. Even calling them milk bottles and putting the picture of a cow on the front of the packaging seems misleading. Bye Pascall's,” said one Facebook comment.
Others asked if it counts as false advertising.
Other confectionary companies, such as Cadbury, which is also part of Mondolez, learnt that lesson the hard way.
In 2009, the company replaced cocoa butter in its chocolate with vegetable fat, including palm oil, and also decreased the size of the blocks.
Palm oil’s plantations have been reported to contribute to global warming, as well as the destruction of orangutans’ habitats.
After intense backlash from consumers, Cadbury backed down and reintroduced cocoa butter.
“Cadbury Dairy Milk's quality is what's made it one of New Zealand's most trusted brands for many years,” said then managing director Matthew Oldham. “Changing the recipe put that trust at risk and I am really sorry.”
Whether or not Pascall has lost consumers’ trust in its products is yet to be determined. However, the feedback so far doesn’t look good.