News briefs: VAT row, Cadbury ballot and expensive chocolate

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Tax, Cadbury plc, Cadbury

Premier Foods is resisting confectionery tax on fruit bars, Cadbury
staff vote to reject closure plans, and a New York restaurant
charges $25,000 (€17,000m) for the most expensive chocolate dessert
in the world.

Confectionery value added tax threatens Premier Foods ​Premier Foods could end up paying more for its Hartley Fruit Bars, as the UK Custom's and Revenues are arguing that the snack is a confectionery product, and so should be taxed. Under UK law, all confectionery foods, including ice-cream, soft drinks and crisps, currently come under the umbrella of the VAT tax, set at 17.5 per cent in the country. In March, Premier Foods were optimistic about its tax bill, after successfully arguing to a VAT tribunal that it should not pay a £192,723 (€269,211) tax bill, because the fruit bars are not considered confectionery as they don't contain sweetener and are not cooked. However, the High Court is now backing Customs & Revenues by arguing that a product does not need to contain sweetener to be classed as confectionery. The case will now go back to the tribunal for further discussion. Cadbury staff to vote on strike ​Workers at Cadbury's four chocolate factories in the UK have voted to reject the company's plans to close one site and move production to Poland, Unite Union said. The 1600 strong workforce voted by 9-to-1 to oppose the plans, and by 8-to-2 to strike if necessary. Unite spokesman Andrew Dodgshon told ConfectioneryNews.com that the union believes Cadbury has not justified the loss of 200 jobs in the UK. The move would also be bad for the environment, as 98 per cent of the product made on the site due for closure are sold in the UK. "Transporting the product fromPolandto theUKwill add millions of food miles,"​ he said. "The supermarkets will not want to be linked to bad environmental practice." ​In a statement, Unite national organiser for food and agriculture Brian Revell said that the decision to close the UK site is due to cost pressures after Cadbury's failure to sell the Schweppes drinks arm this summer, leading to "corporate greed." ​When contacted by ConfectioneryNews.com, Cadbury spokesman Tony Billsborough sent a statement saying:"We are aware of the ballot result but it is important to point out that this was for consultation only and there is no industrial action planned." ​ However, he refused to answer any questions, as "​we feel it's better to discuss any points with the unions at these meetings rather than air them in the media".Death by (expensive) chocolate ​A chocolate concoction costing $25,000 (€17,000m) has just been declared the most expensive dessert in the world by the Guinness World Records, according to the Associated Press. The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate dessert contains a cold and slushy mix of cocoas from no less than 14 different countries, as well as five grams of 24-carot gold. The mixture is topped with whipped cream and truffle shavings, and then served in a diamond and gold goblet with golden spoon customers can take home, the press association said. Any chocolate lovers with money to burn will find the treat at Serendipity 3, a restaurant in New York, US, famous for its hot dogs and ice-cream sundaes.

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