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10:14am on Wednesday, 20th January, 2010:
I'm not happy that Kraft are buying Cadbury.
I remember when Nestlé bought Rowntree. Cadbury wanted to buy Rowntree, and wanted to pay more money than Nestlé, but they were prohibited from doing so because that would have made the joint company too large a player in the UK chocolate market. The main gripes at the time were the fact that no UK company could have bought Nestlé (the Swiss government has a golden share that prevents this), and that the enlarged Nestlé would have had a worse impact on competition in the UK chocolate market than a Cadbury/Rowntree combination. However, my own fears were different: I didn't want them to change the recipes for their chocolate.
They did, though.
Today's Kit Kats are nowhere near as good as they used to be. They're made for sale Europe-wide, now, which means the British taste in chocolate was subsumed by the continental European one. Basically, the chocolate got less sweet. Smarties are pale reflections of what they were like when I was a kid, and Quality Streets are all toffees.
A similar thing happened when Mars was taken over by, er, Mars. Mars Bars used to have thick, rich chocolate and a lot of caramel; now, they're thin, heartless things designed for people who want to believe they're eating something with fewer calories than it actually has. The chocolate has that ghastly blandness that Eurochoc has. I rarely buy Mars Bars now.
As the other chocolate companies fell, only Cadbury stayed true. Their chocolate tastes the same now as it did when I was a kid. The wrapping paper on the Creme Eggs has changed, but the taste hasn't. Now, though, Cadbury's time has come. How long will it be before they "improve" the recipe to conform to European tastes, its sweetness replaced by bitterness? Augh!
It's a sad, sad day for lovers of British chocolate...
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