Toblerone row holds up Pound­land’s space-sav­ing cho­co­late

The Guardian - - NEWS - Sarah But­ler

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.

Pho­to­graph: David Parry/PA

One hump or two: Toblerone, back, and Twin Peaks

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