Are Toblerone right to prioritise brand integrity over product enjoyment?

* 2 min read

Whenever a brand changes its product there’s always a risk that it will cause a stir amongst consumers. Just recently chocolate lovers were outraged that the Yorkshire-born Terry’s Chocolate Orange had shrunk by 10 percent, apparently due to rising ingredient costs.

Another brand to follow suit are Toblerone, and changes to the chocolate bar have sparked an angry reaction from British fans. Toblerone have reduced the weight of their product by taking out every other “pyramid”, but have maintained the current pack format size and, presumably, are maintaining existing supply chain packaging and practices. Potential side effects will be that the packaging is now more expensive per gram of product, both in terms of cost and weight, and more air will be shipped and stored in the supply chain. Some could argue that the move isn’t wise from an environmental and resource efficiency perspective, and our advice would have been to maintain the product configuration and to reduce the length of product and associated packaging by the 10 percent the company required to mitigate the cost increase to the consumer.

Consumers in the UK waste an estimated seven million tonnes of food and packaging waste every year and the move to reduce the overall pack size combined with a reduction to supply chain packaging would have benefited this number as well as optimising operational costs.

Like many companies, Toblerone is feeling the impact of a higher cost for numerous ingredients, and have commented on the change to its products: “We carry these costs for as long as possible, but to ensure Toblerone remains on-shelf, is affordable and retains the triangular shape, we have had to reduce the weight of just two of our bars in the UK, from the wider range of available Toblerone products”

Today’s consumers are considerably focused on finding the best value for money, so brands have to approach cost saving very delicately to hold onto their customers’ loyalty. One could suggest that in the case of Toblerone, the packaging could have just been reduced and the original design maintained, which not only reduces the packs’ impact on the environment, but sends a more open and honest message to the consumer.

Because brands can never underestimate how easy it is to lose a customer’s loyalty. Especially if you’re taking away their chocolate.

Should Toblerone have kept their pack size the same or reduced the overall size of their bar? What do you think?