Curvy new Cadbury Dairy Milk bars: another stealth price rise?

Cadbury Dairy Milk bars have a new shape – with rectangular blocks giving way to a curves. Science has proven that a round shape is one of the best when it comes to chocolate melting and smoothness, but when launched in the UK in 2012, there was much media coverage of what was seen as another way to achieve a stealth price rise.

Reported the Daily Mail: “Biting into one of Cadbury’s relaunched Dairy Milk bars, you will no doubt notice its new ‘curved’ shape. But you are less likely to spot the fact that it has shrunk by eight per cent – from 49g to 45g.

“The 59p price, however, remains the same. The move is the latest in a series of ‘stealth price rises’ since US food giant Kraft took over the business.”

A Cadbury spokesman confirmed that the change was necessary to cope with rising fuel and commodity costs: “Making these small reductions [in size] allows us to hold prices at current levels,’ he said. “We still believe our chocolate represents excellent value for money and remains an affordable treat.”

It’s not clear whether this is the case in SA, but the Mondelez press release says the new look affects the Dairy Milk (37g) chocolate bar, the Top Deck (36g), the Mint Crisp (37g), and Caramello (39g).

“Cadbury Dairy Milk has certainly embraced its curves. The new curvier Cadbury Dairy Milk bars make for an even smoother eating experience, delivering even more of the delicious, creamy chocolate taste that has made the brand South Africa’s best-loved chocolate.” says Meredith Kelly, Mondelez South Africa Chocolate Category Leader.

The curvier Cadbury Dairy Milk bars will be available in-store from August 2014, with a recommended retail price (RRP) of R5.99.

Dairy-Milk-bar-comparisonUK debate about more than cost: Does the shape of chocolate change its taste?

Many British chocolate lovers complained that their Dairy Milk tasted different when the shape was changed, that it tasted “oily” and “sickly” but Cadbury insisted the recipe was the same.

“This [new shape] undoubtedly helps to improve the melt-in-the-mouth experience and the feedback from consumers has been extremely positive,” said spokesman Tony Bilsborough. 

Shape determines how quickly chocolate melts in the mouth, and this can change how different molecules are released, changing flavour.

“The speed with which the chocolate is broken down from hard to molten determines the time release of flavours,” said Prof Barry Smith, co-director and founder of the Centre for the Study of the Senses.

“The new shape could mean the chocolate is melting quicker as it is being heated in the mouth quicker. That would change the flavour.”

Research has been done into the subject. Results of a recent study by scientists at Nestle concluded that shape does influence texture and flavour perception. A round shape was one of the best when it came to melting and smoothness.

“If a shape has a large surface area you will get a more rapid release of molecules from the food,” says Prof Peter Barham, an expert in food science and molecular gastronomy at the University of Bristol.

“The perception of flavour is influenced by a lot of things and shape is one of them.”

The fact it fits the shape of the mouth better, and so melts quicker, could account for claims that it now tastes more “oily”, said chef Simon Rimmer.

“If it is melting in the mouth quicker the oil from the cocoa solids in the chocolate would get to the taste buds quicker. You may get a oily hit from it,” he said….

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