The nation’s festive treat is showing signs of inequality
Selection process for Quality Street is revealed to short-change chocolate lovers on top favourites
IT IS a problem that has for generations caused rows among sweettoothed families when the Christmas chocolates are passed around.
And now, consumer magazine
Which? has established that some boxes of festive chocolates really do contain fewer of our favourites, in what could even be a cynical ploy to get us to buy bigger packs.
There is bad news for Quality Street fans as Which? found tins contain half of the “ideal” ratio of the most popular favourites, the Purple One and the Green One, explaining why many families scramble over them every year.
Respectively, there are only five and six in an average 720g tub, but with people’s favourites taken into account there should really be 11 and 10 of the sweets, Which? calculated.
The chronic shortage of Purple Ones can be explained by Nestle’s selection process, it can be revealed, as it balances out the flavours in tubs by categorising chocolates into three types, each of which make up one third of the total.
The types are: fruit cremes, chocolates and caramel/fudge. The Purple One falls into the category with by far the most sweets, the “caramel/fudge” type, which also includes the Caramel Swirl, Fudge, Toffee Penny, Coconut Eclair, Toffee Deluxe and Toffee Finger.
Nestle appears to be cashing in on its less-than-ideal flavour ratios by teaming up with John Lewis to offer chocolate lovers the chance to fill a 1.2kg Quality Street tub with their own hand-picked selection of chocolates.
Shoppers can pick-and-mix any varieties of the sweet they like – but for £12 – nearly twice the price of a same-sized tin at Sainsbury’s, which costs £7.
Which? also ranked the flavours in tubs of Mars’s Celebrations, Cadbury’s Heroes and Roses according to popularity, to determine what proportion of each should make up the perfect assortment.
Conversely, it found families were less likely to fight over Roses as there were an abundance of Strawberry Creams, the most popular chocolate. This is because the fruit cream category comprises just two flavours (Strawberry Delight and Orange Creme).
Cadbury said it chooses a random selection in tins of Roses which is “designed to be enjoyed by all”.
When it comes to Celebrations, there is good news for fans of Malteser Teasers, the most popular, as Which? found it is one of the most abundant chocolates with an average of 10 in each tub.
Mars also has a random selection process for filling tubs.
There was disappointment for fans of Cadbury’s Heroes, as despite Wispas being the most coveted, they had the fewest chocolates per box, with
30 per cent ranking them as their favourite, but an average of 9 in a box.
Harry Rose, editor of Which?, said: “Our analysis shows that it’s not your family’s fault that your favourite flavours disappear from the tub so quickly: there really are too few Purple Ones to meet popular demand.
“Of course, if you’re a fan of Strawberry Delights or Milky Ways, this will be welcome news – you’re more likely to be eating chocolates into the New Year than Wispa lovers.” A spokesman for Nestle said: “We have increased the number of people’s favourites in this year’s assortment. “Our research shows that the Caramel Swirl is the sweet with the broadest appeal, but other studies point to the Purple One or the Strawberry Delight. Part of the fun of Christmas is the family discussion about each of our favourites and who gets the last sweet.” A Cadbury spokesman said: “The mix for Roses and Heroes tubs are specifically hand-picked and we review the mix regularly to ensure we are giving our customers an assortment of the best chocolate that they love.
“However, there can be some minor deviations in the mix due to manufacturing processes.”
A representative from Mars Wrigley Confectionery, which makes Celebrations, said: “Every year we enjoy seeing the debates rage about the nation’s favourite Celebrations.”