The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Crumbliest, flakiest chocolate sends ice-cream vans into meltdown

Quality has deteriorat­ed since Cadbury moved Flake 99 production to Egypt, complain vendors

- By Ewan Somerville

BRITAIN’S ice cream vans have used Flake 99s for 93 years – but now they say are too flakey.

Ice-cream van owners have complained that the chocolate sticks have been “wrecked” since Cadbury shifted their production to Egypt in 2020. They claim the Flakes have become so insubstant­ial that they crumble instead of standing up in a cone.

The problem is so acute that some vans have stopped selling the Flake 99s after customers kicked up a fuss about the quality.

Cadbury’s owner, Mondelēz Internatio­nal, has apologised for the crumbling quality, but insisted that “Cadbury Flake 99 is a naturally delicate and crumbly product”.

Lawrence Glauser, 63, the owner of Lorenzo’s Ices in East Yorkshire, said he has been forced to switch to a cheaper German-made brand of chocolate flakes in recent months.

“They’ve (Cadbury) had two years to fix it and done nothing about it – only recently have they actually got their act together in the fact we could take damaged boxes back,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “When you’re out and about serving ice creams, you haven’t got time to say ‘oh well this box is knackered lets go home and get another two boxes’.

“They’ve done it to themselves – the Flake 99 was was a British institutio­nal item and they took it to Egypt and wrecked it.”

He said around a third of a typical box of 144 Flakes were arriving “broken or in bits”, meaning “customers are complainin­g about the Flakes”.

The Flake 99 was launched in 1930, designed specifical­ly for an ice cream cone and originally manufactur­ed in Cadbury’s factory in Birmingham.

Abby Beech, who runs Abbyo’s, an Italian Gelato van on the banks of the Humber, said they were now resorting to “hoping for the best” whilst placing flakes in ice creams.

“It’s been a significan­t amount of Flakes that have been really crumbly,

‘For the first time, I won’t be using Cadbury Flake this year. It feels like a different product’

it’s so difficult to go in,” she said.

She said that some customers “are quite picky about it” and “it has a big impact on sales” as they are having to leave half of a box, which cost £17 each.

“People want to see a Cadbury 99 Flake, not a rip off version of it, but they want to see solid chocolate,” she said.

“We’ve got to the point where you’ve gone to put a flake in, it’s crumbled in your hands, you’ve left the rest in the tray and have picked another one up and hoped for the best – but then you’re a flake down.”

Meanwhile, Katy Alston, who operates a van in Bognor Regis and is also president of The Ice Cream Alliance, told the BBC: “We’ve thrown away 70 in a single box before because they’ve all been broken.

“For the first time, I won’t be using Cadbury Flake this year. It feels like a different product.”

A Mondelēz Internatio­nal spokesman said: “We care about our loyal customer base and take quality issues very seriously. Cadbury Flake 99 is a naturally delicate and crumbly product, and we have processes in place within our supply chain to avoid any breakage as much as possible.

“We are aware that, recently, some customers have received product which does not meet our usual high standards. This has been addressed following improvemen­ts to our production processes, although some prior stock may remain in circulatio­n.

“We are in the process of liaising with our customers (wholesaler­s) to support those potentiall­y impacted. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenie­nce caused.”

 ?? ?? Lawrence Glauser, left, owner of Lorenzo’s Ices, with customers Alicia Bainbridge, having sprinkles, and her mother Liz, having a standard 99. Some ice-cream vans have stopped selling Flake 99s after complaints
Lawrence Glauser, left, owner of Lorenzo’s Ices, with customers Alicia Bainbridge, having sprinkles, and her mother Liz, having a standard 99. Some ice-cream vans have stopped selling Flake 99s after complaints

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