To recuperate sales, Mondelēz announced last week it will open a pop-up Cadbury Creme Egg café in London for seven weeks that will feature novelties such as Creme Egg Toasties.
The brand owner made international headlines last year when it replaced Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate in the product’s shell with "standard, traditional Cadbury milk chocolate".
Last week, market analysts IRI found sales for the brand were down £6m ($8.6m) in the UK over the key Easter season last year, as reported in our sister publication The Grocer.
It came despite an 8.6% rise in overall Easter confectionery sales for the five-week run up to the Saturday before Easter Sunday in major UK retailers.
A poll by London-based startup OnePulse suggests the formulation change may be to blame.
New Cadbury Crème Egg Recipe
Milk chocolate (Milk, Sugar, Cocoa butter, Cocoa mass, Vegetable fat, Emulsifiers (E442, E476, Soya lecithin), Flavorings), Fondant (47%) (Sugar, Glucose syrup, Invert sugar syrup, Dried egg white, Flavoring, Color (Paprika extract)).
One Pulse surveyed 1,000 men and women aged 16-65 in the UK this month and found 76% had tried the new Creme Egg.
Of those 760 who has tried it, 21% said it tasted worse than the original, while 18% said it tasted “way worse”.
One respondent said: “If it's not Dairy Milk tasting I'll never buy one again. Shame really.”
In OnePulse’s poll, the majority, 37%, noticed no change in taste while 22% said it tasted better or “way better” than the original.
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents claimed to like or love the brand. This came in spite of Mondelēz selling the brand in packs of five eggs rather than six, but with the same price point.
When the recipe was changed last year amid rising cocoa prices, a Mondelēz spokesperson told ConfectioneryNews “the fundamentals of the Cadbury Crème Egg remain exactly the same – delicious milk chocolate and the unique crème center that consumers love.” However, he refused to reveal the precise recipe change.