ZURICH • British fans of Toblerone chocolate bars have bared their teeth over a cost-cutting move to space out the distinctive jagged peaks on versions of the Swiss treat sold in Britain.
The scaled-down version was prompted by higher commodity prices and had nothing to do with the British pound's plunge in value since Britons voted in June to exit the European Union, manufacturer Mondelez International said.
Still, a Tobler-moan broke out on social media in Britain as it was the third case in a month in which British brands have taken steps - including implementing hefty price rises - to offset higher costs for their products in the wake of Brexit.
"This must be up there with the dumbest corporate decisions of all time," Toblerone customer Michal Tat posted. "You have a somewhat premium chocolate bar which is very well known for its distinctive shape, and to save money, you change the shape? Now you have a premium-priced product that looks like a weird knock-off of itself... Shame on you, Mondelez."
Another customer, Mr Nicholas Barker, posted: "It's not as if people eat Toblerone every day. You could literally double the price and people would still buy it. Fools."
Mondelez reduced the weight of a version of Toblerone sold to British discounter Poundland to 150g from 170g by spacing its triangular chocolate peaks out more widely.
Another altered version, lightened to 360g from 400g, is sold in stores other than Poundland, a Toblerone spokesman said.
While denying that the reductions were related to any consequences of Brexit, Mondelez said on Tuesday that Toblerone bars would continue to be sold elsewhere without changes.
"We always work hard to ensure we offer value for money for our consumers, but like many other companies, unfortunately we are experiencing higher costs for many ingredients," the spokesman said.
"We carry these costs for as long as possible, but to ensure Toblerone remains on shelf, is affordable and retains the iconic shape we all know and love, we have had to reduce the weight of this particular bar (for the British market)."
Mondelez exports Toblerone to 120 countries from a Swiss plant in Bern. Its main sales channels are duty-free outlets.