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Foiled again *

I have a soft spot for Kit Kat, having cut my marketing teeth in the Rowntree KK team in York in the ’60s. It was already a veteran, 30 years old and making its first £1 million contribution to profits while I was there. The trademark battle then was about the tag line, ‘have a break’, which Cadbury and others were trying to dilute with their own snacks promotion. They lost. And now, another 50 years on, the ‘four-finger shape mark’ is the focus and in the UK (but not everywhere) Cadbury are successfully opposing it. I can’t guess what profits the old guy makes now but Nestlè clearly intends to protect them.

  • headline courtesy the Grauniad
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  1. christinaosborne
    May 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Is it true that Nestle have followed Cadbury by downgrading the chocolate on these too ?

  2. May 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I don’t know but it wouldn’t be surprising. There’s a lot of ‘cost control’ going on to maintain a retail price-point.

  3. May 17, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    CO: The demise of Cadbury can be blamed on Kraft. In the custom of their nation, they reneged on contractual obligations at the first opportunity and have nearly ruined a great brand.

  4. christinaosborne
    May 17, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Correction. They HAVE ruined!
    I am quite well aware that manufacture has been moved from Bournville to the continent with commensurate loss of quality.
    More like eating whipped grease these days. Funnily enough, the Cadbury’s products made under license in Pennsylvania has not suffered anywhere near the reduction in quality as it was never sourced from the same beans as the European manufacture.
    Virtually all American chocolate is sourced from South America where the European is sourced from West Africa, hence the difference in flavour and style. Plus too much palm oil used in the USA to stretch. whereas dairy fat is used in Europe.

  5. May 17, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    CO: I concede the point. Sometimes companies buy out rivals for the express purpose of destroying them. Even though they might lose money in the short-term, they can protect their core brands and reduce competition for their “cash cows” allowing them to put up prices with impunity.

    It isn’t just that it was moved to the continent, it was moved to bloody Poland! Germany, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland produce respectable chocolates. Even Italy can’t be faulted, but bogging Poland? I won’t touch the stuff any more. I prefer buying from a reputable continental chocolatier.

    Interestingly enough, there are some very credible chocolatiers emerging in the USA. They aren’t major brands, but small operations that emphasise quality above all else. Their wares impress even seasoned specialists from Scandinavia.

  6. May 17, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    Nothing worse than ‘ersatz’ milk chocolate. Probably why I go for plain.

  7. christinaosborne
    May 17, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I find a reasonable chocolate for cooking from an old company called Eguittard out of San Francisco, but rather hard to find.
    Droste cacao (Dutch) for cooking too.
    Expensive, but not ridiculous. Not paying in excess of $20.00 /lb to cook!
    These two come in at just under that.
    I often make my own eating chocolates, very fond of marzipan but don’t like the commercial stuff. Make my own and enrobe it myself.
    Pecan pralines too. All the commercial stuff is made with corn syrup and palm oil, forget it!
    But then I’m a glutton for punishment!

    J, I swear the worst milk chocolate in the world is that stuff they make at Easter to mould bunnies. God knows what they put in it to get such malleability but it eats like axle grease!!! Even half way decent outfits like Lindt descend to the disgusting at Easter. Quite quite different from their little squares in taste and bite.

    Thorntons in the Uk started out quite good years ago. I had some after a long gap of 15 years or so and couldn’t believe my taste buds! So it is not only Cadbury that went down the quality gradient.

  8. May 17, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    CO: Guittard are very much a California brand.California supermarkets of any repute stock their products with no risk of running out. When there, I frequently buy their products as it’s a reasonably good quality, as you say. The problem with most commercial products in the US is that the quality is rubbish. It is, of course, possible to find quality producers but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

  9. christinaosborne
    May 17, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    Christopher. In any country the market is dominated by food purchasing by price not quality. The USA is no different to anywhere else. There are very few people that discriminate to the highest level anywhere.
    I have found in a good supermarket, pasture raised eggs at $6.00 /dozen. Monster dark yellow yolks just like we had at home as a child where we raised our own. Seeing these are literally three times more expensive than concentration camp chicken eggs at $i.99 how many people do you think buy them? The answer to which is not bloody many!
    Greengrocery is of a very high standard in the USA, much better quality and cheaper than in the UK where most of the fruit and veg look as if they require a decent interment rather than a kitchen!

  10. May 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    The problem, Tina, is that average quality in the US tends to be far lower than in Europe.That isn’t to say that everything in Europe is necessarily good. However, the cost in the US is astronomically high and the quality doesn’t match. Prices in Scandinavia and the UK don’t shock me. The quality of greengrocery in the US is highly variable. Some, such as in the Central Valley and Hawai’i can be quite high. Others are absolute rubbish. Here it largely depends on where things are sourced. Spanish produce, even in Spain, is tasteless rubbish that’s best consigned to dust bins. Local produce is of a far higher quality. Spain has a tendency to emphasise quantity over quality and survives only on price.

  11. May 18, 2017 at 7:21 am

    CO, your criticism of Easter egg chocolate was always a big issue – apparently whatever has to be added to facilitate the thin moulding of big shapes ruins the flavour.

  12. May 18, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Nestle is not one of my favourite companies. Their C.E.O Peter Brabeck-Letmathe has said that In his opinion, it is extreme to say that human beings have the right to the water. What this means is that everyone should have the basic need of water for drinking and sanitation and anything above this should be controlled and price accordingly. Is Nestle really trying to save the environment or planet when they are buying land and extracting ground water for their bottled business or are they attempting to look after the huge profits that this is bringing to Nestle?

  13. May 18, 2017 at 9:41 am

    JL, I am not sure if it is still the case, but some years back, the CEO of Coca Cola stated that his mission was to ensure that Coke would be piped into every household in America. I simply do not get this love affair with sweet sticky drinks like that. I want to gag when I watch an American TV family sit down to a meal with bottles of soda pop on the table. I watched an episode of the Sopranos last night, where Tony had a litre bottle of Coke in front of him and Carmella had a litre of Sprite. How vile.

    It is this control of our basic necessities by the big multinationals, though predominantly American, that anger me so much. Which is why I am very anti GMO foods. It is not so much that they will cause genetic defects, (it might be quite amusing to witness some of the effects) it is that they are owned by one or two companies who will the control the source of production and who will oversee the demise of traditional varieties. Monsanto represents the epitome of evil in this regard, though I understand it is now German owned.

  14. May 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Sipu, your last sentence might arouse a few sleepers, eh?

    My current favourites among the Yank tv series seem to focus on hard liquor (or liquour?) rather than pop. Sopranos are a bit yesterday hereabouts. 😉

  15. May 18, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Sipu, I understand that Monsanto have modified several of their cereals so that all the seeds grown as part of the crop are infertile, thereby forcing the farmers to buy new seeds every year instead of being able save part of this years harvest for planting next year. Only Monsanto can possibly benefit from this and to the detriment of everyone else. Coke, awful stuff. Highly corrosive, takes the lining of your stomach according to my GP.

    Janus, I think that it’s quite common nowadays that manufacturers pay substantial fees to have their products in TV shots, it is a very effective form of advertising. My son in law who is a wholesale fish dealer always watches the Saturday cookery programs because he will have vastly increased demand on Monday for any fish that appeared over the weekend.

  16. May 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Sopranos are bit yesterday, but I never watched them back in the day and the series is still reckoned to be the best TV evah! So I thought that I would give it a try. I think it has stood the test of time pretty well and I am enjoying it. I am also enjoying re-watching Seinfeld, which is even older. Very funny and still able to get by with some non-PC humour, or should I say humour.

    But here is one relatively recent clip that cheered me up.

  17. May 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Sipu, yes, Sopranos is still great and Seinfeld is enjoying another rerun here. And yes the humour is quite offensive , that is, free of today’s PC editing.

    JL, yes, product placement has become a major source of income for tv and film companies, particularly from the top car and booze brands – and the aforementioned Colas.

  18. christinaosborne
    May 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Re infertile seeds.
    Generally F2 hybrids. I grow a greenhouse tomato which is excellent but is a F2 hybrid. I have to buy new seeds every year. 20 seeds cost nearly $7.00!!!! Outbloodyrageous. It seriously pisses me off big time, I buy them gnashing my teeth, unfortunately been unable to find a credible alternative with high acidity that can take the environment.
    Just for fun a few years ago I tried to germinate some of the seeds. Most didn’t happen but a few did. Grew a couple on to fruit and Oh My God! They became Frankenfruit, disgusting to look at and even worse to taste. Nothing like the parent at all. An extremely interesting exercise. Not to be repeated
    .
    Every year I have an experiment in the garden, Either new wacky seeds, growing something in a different manner or breeding something, most are remarkably unsuccessful I might add but they add interest of a botanical nature. This year it is annual artichokes, (for the uninitiated, artichokes are a perennial plant and go from year to year in suitable climates, not here though, winter too wet.) Started them under heat, in early Feb, be interesting to see if they happen in the length of growing season. Wouldn’t put any money on it!

    Re coca cola, can’t remember when I had any, must be well over ten years ago, more like twenty, filthy muck, good for cleaning metal tho’ I am told! There are some small individual bottles in the garage lurking in case of visitors unreasonable demands. Must be stale, serves them right for having such execrable taste.

    Re advertising, It is interesting to note that any decent food product doesn’t get advertised, doesn’t need to. It sells anyway. Generally has a devoted purchasing group.which will buy no other. A fatwah has been declared in this house, only Darigold milk, at twice the price of supermarket own brands.Better quality, lower pasteurisation temp= less sugar conversion of lactose = less caramelising of flavour. Simples! ie real milk. Trouble is, most people don’t know what quality ought to taste like so they buy on cost. But then most people didn’t grow up in the country and taste real food in the first place, try milk straight out of the cow and eggs still warm from the chicken, greens still screaming from being dragged out of the soil, (minor hyperbole) tends to alter one’s perceptions.

    Off to plant tomatoes in the polytunnel.

  19. May 19, 2017 at 6:30 am

    As CT recently pointed out, mass market advertising these days is focussed on consumer ‘relationships’ – with supermarkets and online suppliers. Retail outlets therefore hold the whip hand – whereas in my day the big brands used mass media presence to buy their shelf space.

    having said that, in little Denmark Carlsberg spends big kroner on the telly. Goodness knows why! I reckon they already have 75% of the market and are hardly threatened, even by Heineken.

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