Caramilk is a blend of white chocolate and caramel. It was taken off shelves in 1994, but returned as a limited edition item in Australia (2018) and New Zealand (2017) previously.
Throughout this time, multiple campaigns were started by consumers across both countries, either calling for its return or demanding that it be made into a permanent item.
In response to this overwhelming fan demand, Cadbury’s manufacturing company Mondelez eventually decided that a permanent return was in order.
"With so much demand for Cadbury Caramilk, and a concerted campaign from consumers to see it return, it's exciting to be able to bring Caramilk back as a permanent product,” Mondelez Head of Marketing New Zealand Will Papesch told FoodNavigator-Asia.
"The ingredients for Caramilk remain exactly the same as last time it returned to Kiwi shelves in 2018, and we're seeing a lot of excitement amongst consumers and customers keen to get their hands on the latest batch.”
Caramilk returned to the shelves of supermarkets and independent retailers in both Australia and New Zealand earlier this year, but Papesch confirmed that its launch will remain limited to these two countries for now.
"[We] don't have any plans to introduce Caramilk to Cadbury fans beyond New Zealand and Australia,” he said.
“[That said], we've heard of some small importers making it available to consumers in the United Kingdom. There are plenty of Kiwi and Aussie expats in the UK, but I expect there are also some locals who've heard the buzz and are keen to try it for themselves."
In New Zealand in particular, the Caramilk craze has reached such proportions that Mondelez is looking to crown an annual ‘Caramilk Capital of New Zealand’, which would be determined based on internal data every year, and could change yearly.
“This [town] will get an immersive pop-up Caramilk café experience, where fans can sample all sorts of delectable Caramilk-inspired treats for a limited time,” said the company.
The 2019 CARAMILK Capital will be announced in mid-November.
Consumer calls for the chocolate’s return were shown across the formation of various Facebook pages and even petitions, which received tens of thousands of likes or signatures.
One of these Facebook pages in New Zealand, Bring Cadbury Caramilk Back Again (which has since been renamed as Cadbury Caramilk is Back) has over 5,000 followers, whereas Australian-started petition Make Caramilk Chocolate A Permanent Thing received support from 18,820 signees.
But Caramilk is not the only popular consumer-powered return that has made a triumphant comeback in recent months – in May this year, Nestle’s Milo New Zealand also announced that it would be making a return to its ‘original taste’ following years of consumer dissatisfaction and campaigning.
The most important change is the taste – Milo is going back to the one we all remember,” Nestle Business Manager Anna Stewart told us previously.
“The exact Milo recipe is a closely guarded secret, but what we can say is we’ve brought back vanilla to the mix and that’s a critical factor in the return of our taste profile.
“It wasn’t a big change a few years back, and it’s not a big change now – it’s really just a tweak – but that tweak has rebalanced some flavours to make the best-tasting Milo for Kiwis that we possible could.”
Milo made the original change to add Vitamins D, B3, B6, B12, and remove of vanilla flavouring, Vitamins A and B1 and magnesium to supposedly increase health benefits, but this resulted in furious backlash from consumers.
A Facebook page named ‘Change Milo back to the old recipe’ which was created by Milo consumer Taryn Ibell received support from over 9,000 individuals, and continued to put pressure on the company over the years until its success earlier this year.