The marketing departments of chocolate and confectionery firms are smart people. They know that if they put the price of our favourite chocolate bars or biscuits up in price, sales will probably drop as we switch to cheaper brands or stop buying sweet treats altogether. However, we are less likely to notice them shaving a few grams off the weight of the bar, so this is exactly what they have been doing.
We all remember back to our childhood when a chocolate bar was huge and seemed to last for ages. Part of that memory has probably been distorted over the passage of time and it is also true that things seem larger when we are children. However, facts and figures do prove that the most popular chocolate bars are shrinking. Cadbury’s top selling chocolate product, the Dairy Milk car, was cut in weight from 140g to 120g, so that they were able to keep the price the same. The original penguin chocolate biscuits seemed to be far larger many years ago and although the price hasn’t changed much, the pack size seems to have shrunk hugely.
Prices or Profit?
This cutting in the size of the portions isn’t just all about manufacturers trying to make additional profit at the expense of the consumer. In recent years, prices of the raw materials such as cocoa beans which are an essential part of our sweets have gone through the roof. Manufacturers have slimmed down their production costs as much as possible, but at the end of the day the price of the product has to rise, or the amount in the pack has to come down. Furthermore, there has been increasing pressure on all chocolate companies to prove they are sourcing their cocoa beans ethically, and Cadbury’s has been at the forefront of this by gaining the Fairtrade accreditation for its Dairy Milk bars. Original penguin bars and other sorts of biscuits have experienced similar issues with the rising price of flour and other baking ingredients.
It’s no great secret that the UK is in the grip of an obesity epidemic, and figures show that an increasing number of children and young people are struggling with their weight too. Cutting down on the sizes of bars may make it easier for parents to control how much their children are eating, while still allowing them to enjoy their favourite foods. Fun sized chocolate bars are no longer for lunch boxes only, and are the ideal quick snack for both kids and grown ups. Under pressure from health campaigners, many of the manufacturers withdrew their king sized versions of popular products, but these have started to creep back onto the supermarket shelves in different packaging and branded as a sharing pack.
Cocoa prices are still on the rise, as are prices in general. We are also demanding an increasingly good quality product, with brands such as Green & Black’s performing well. There will always be a mass market for great chocolate bars, but producers are going to have to work even harder in the future to make great tasting and reasonably priced treats.
Jeanstore don’t offer chocolates, but you will find a large range of clothing from Original Penguin – a fresh clothing brand with attitude
It’s one thing cooking any old meal. It’s quite another cooking a great Christmas dinner, especially when your oven’s relatively new. You know what it’s like. Over time you get used to your old cooker’s little foibles: the way it runs hot or cool, leaks heat or takes aeons to warm to temperature. If you’re the proud owner of a brand-spanking new Rayburn range, you might be feeling a bit uncertain about the whole Christmas thing. Here’s some useful tips to help you create a delicious, moist and memorable Xmas meal.
First, try the internet. There’s a host of excellent hints and tips about getting the best out of range cookers, from specialist range cooker blogs, supplier sites and recipe sites. Many are written by people who spend a lot of time on their range, with plenty of genuine, in-depth experience.
It’s easy to find specialist books about cooking with a range. Try the New Rayburn Cookbook by Richard Maggs and Dawn Roads. Maggs also wrote the Little Book of Rayburn Tips. Roads is a former in- house home economist for Rayburn themselves, and both are big fans of fresh, simple recipes and easy cooking. Perfect when you’re creating a seasonal meal for loads of people! With more than 100 recipes and stunning photos, it’s an asset to any kitchen. Alternatively, if you have an Aga you can always track down the wonderful Twelve Days of Christmas – Aga Recipes by Sarah Whitaker. She’s an Aga Demonstrator so she knows her stuff! Try the Classic Rayburn Book of Slow Cooking by Louise Walker, The Classic Rayburn Cookery Book, also by Louise Walker or the Country Range Cookbook by Carol Bowen. You can get most of these second hand via Amazon Marketplace, or buy new.
It’s also a good idea to pop into your local range cooker dealership, or give them a call to see if they can offer Christmas dinner-specific advice. You never know! The manufacturers themselves are also often a source of handy tips and hints for range cooking perfection. If they can’t help, they might know someone who can.
Last but never least, ask someone who already has a range for advice. Ranges are growing fast in popularity because they’re easy to use, rugged and long-lasting, beautiful to look at and have a load of ‘green’ features to help save energy. Ask around and you’re bound to find someone who’s been using a range for long enough to give you the low-down.