Toblerone row holds up Poundland’s space-saving chocolate
One chocolate bar is modelled on the Matterhorn and is made in Switzerland, the other bases its shape on a Shropshire hill and is made in Birmingham – but Poundland has been forced to delay the launch of its Toblerone alternative after getting stuck in a legal wrangle with the Swiss bar’s owners.
Last month, the budget retail chain announced plans to begin selling Twin Peaks, a bar with two humps rather than the distinctive single-peak chunks of the Toblerone bar, which has been one of the discounter’s biggest selling items.
Instead of featuring the Matterhorn on its red and gold packaging, the Poundland version featured the Wrekin, a hill near the company’s head office. At 180g, it was also 30g heavier than the £1 Toblerone.
The Twin Peaks bar was initially planned to launch at the beginning of July, and then delayed until the middle of this month. But customers this week were told by Poundland customer services there was no launch date as yet.
It is understood that Poundland still plans to go ahead with selling Twin Peaks, but the launch has been delayed after the company received a legal letter from Toblerone. The companies held talks last week on the issue but neither side would comment on any dispute.
A spokesman for Poundland said: “Twin Peaks is still in development.”
The launch of Poundland’s bar was an attempt to fill a gap in the market, after Toblerone resorted to “shrinkflation” in the run-up to Christmas last year – widening the spaces between chunks as it tried to keep down the price of the bar amid rising ingredient costs. The tactic involved reducing the weight of two bars from Toblerone’s UK range, with 400g bars falling to 360g while the 170g bars, one of Poundland’s best sellers, slimmed to 150g.
Mondelez, the owner of Toblerone, said the change was not Brexit-related, but the fall in the value of the pound after last summer’s EU referendum was seen by many as a likely contributing factor to the firm’s rising costs. The shift to the altered bar was criticised by fans as “stupid”, “ridiculous” and “just plain dumb”.
At the time of the Twin Peaks announcement, Poundland’s trading director, Barry Williams, told the Telegraph: “Poundland shoppers are savvy and the change in their favourite chocolate bar last Christmas didn’t go unnoticed. That’s why we’ve created a new £1 alternative for them – the size they wanted, with a British taste, and with all the spaces in the right places.”
Poundland has launched copycat versions of several confectionery favourites as part of its strategy to keep a lid on inflation. Currently on sale are Miracles, which bear a resemblance to Galaxy Minstrels, made by Mars, and Nutters, which appear closely related to M&M’s, which are also made by Mars.
One hump or two: Toblerone, back, and Twin Peaks