Size matters: Cadbury claims to have learned from the past with launch of new blocks

The last time Cadbury made major changes to its blocks in 2009, it decreased the weight from 250g to 200g, added palm oil and reduced the amount of cocoa butter. And we all know what happened there. But general manager of marketing Iaan Buchanan says the company has learned from its mistakes and its latest changes mean consumers now get ten percent more chocolate for the same price on specially marked ‘Extra Joy’ family block packs.

This means that in participating major retailers the 220g packs will be priced in the same range as the normal retail price of Cadbury’s old 190g and 200g blocks (excluding clearances). 

Buchanan says the pip shape has also changed, and while the recipe remains the same, the rounder shape does mean the blocks can now use whole nuts (it’s also launching a new hazelnut SKU).

In a similar fashion to Anchor’s Light-Proof milk, Buchanan says the change in shape also means the chocolate now gives you a “ more melt in the mouth, creamier taste”. 

“We’ve got so many manufacturers who are trying to put the price up, or downweight. So this is a generous, powerful thing for us to do for New Zealanders.”

Cadbury has also changed from cardboard packaging to a resealable plastic pack, which Buchanan says adds functionality and is what most overseas markets use.

It’s thought this packaging is cheaper than the previous version, but he says the main reason it can offer consumers more chocolate for the same price is primarily due to efficiencies around manufacturing.

The blocks for this region are made at one of Cadbury's "centres of excellence" in Tasmania, while gifting and seasonal products, along with Kiwi favourites like Buzz Bars and Jaffas, are made in Dunedin.

He says Cadbury is committed to local manufacturing, with 550 people employed down south and around $70 million of capital invested into the factory over the past three of four years.

He says the changes to the blocks are the result of extensive consumer research and while he knows Kiwis will remember its past transgressions (a quick look on the Facebook page shows they certainly haven't forgotten), he hopes consumers will see it for what it is: a positive change.

“Cadbury is a really innovative brand and we’re always looking at how we can address consumer needs,” he says.

Positive or not, many consumers often seem to feel affronted when something they know and love is modified. That’s partially due to scepticism around marketing messages, as evidenced very clearly by the response to Anchor’s new bottle and Fonterra's claims that it improved the taste of the milk. He says it’s too early to tell how successful the changes have been as far as sales and share go, but he says it’s been getting some great feedback and the general sentiment has been really positive.

“But there will always be a few Whittaker’s bashers,” he says.

Cadbury has recently been pushing its association with Fair Trade in its Dairy Milk Chocolate, including a spot on TVNZ and BrandWorld's masthead The Extra Mile. 

He says 80-85 percent of all the Fairtrade chocolate consumed in New Zealand is as a direct result of Cadbury Dairy Milk purchases (it doesn't use Fairtrade for all its chocolate, however). And when it comes to its use of palm oil, he says there is still a lot of confusion in the market. 

“We do not have palm oil in Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate. We made that decision in 2009. We do use a very small amount of palm oil as a processing aid in some of the soft centres, creams and wafer products. It’s difficult to make the products without palm oil in there.”

But he says what it does use is sustainably produced and its Facebook page says it is currently purchasing "GreenPalm certificates and have plans to source RSPO-fully segregated certified sustainable palm oil to progressively cover all parts of our use of palm oil". 

As for the comms, he says it’s a combination of local and global creative, with adaptations of the creative aims to appeal to the discount-loving New Zealand market.

As Nielsen research showed, Kiwi consumers bought 59 percent of all groceries on special last year, the highest rate in the developed world. Buchanan says this new block basically equates to a ten percent discount, so the message is different in Australia and New Zealand, with Australia favouring ‘more chocolate in every piece’ and New Zealand favouring ‘more chocolate for the same price’.

Like much of the global Joyville campaign, the TV ad was made by Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney, but Buchanan says DDB New Zealand has created a series of ads, including a wrap of the Sunday Star Times, homepage takeovers of the nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz, as well asn outdoor, press and radio spots.

“It’s the biggest campaign we’ve got in terms of comms running in the marketplace this year, because it’s such a compelling proposition. For Cadbury, one of the brand values that gets talked about internally is ‘generosity’. And this is a very demonstrable way to show that.”


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