The local sales of Cadbury’s owner Mondelez have taken a knock following the closure of its Dunedin chocolate factory last year.
Mondelez New Zealand’s total sales fell 29 per cent to $212 million, in the year to the end of December, from $297m in 2017, according to accounts filed with the Companies Office.
About $60m of that $85m drop appeared to be the result of the loss of exports to other companies in the Mondelez group.
But the remaining $25m decline appeared to be caused by other factors which may include Kiwis reducing their spending. Mondelez did not comment on whether its sales figures might reflect a consumer backlash from the factory closure.
But Mondelez New Zealand managing director Cara Liebrock said there were “a range of factors” separate to the closure that impacted its revenues last year.
These included changes to customer inventory management and the closure of the Cadbury World attraction in Dunedin “which was unfortunately out of our control”, she said.
“Our business continues to perform strongly in New Zealand. We’re committed to investing in our Kiwi team who work closely with thousands of local retail partners to support their growth,” she said.
“We’ve increased our investment in our business in 2019 with some new team members joining the business and we’re seeing some great results across both our new products, and much loved Kiwi brands.”
A spokesman added the company continued to employ more than 100 Kiwis “and sells more confectionery – and chocolate – than anyone else in New Zealand”.
Cadbury rankled some consumers over the past several months with changes to some of its best-known product lines, such as Roses chocolates and its marshmallow Easter eggs.
This year it reduced the size of some of its “king sized” chocolate blocks by 10 per cent, to 180g.
Worldwide, chocolate sales have periodically dipped – for example in 2001 when children were reported to be preferring to spend their money on mobile phones and text messaging, and again in 2015 and 2016.
But they have since returned to a rising trend.
Speaking to a former employee of Cadbury, she said the staff are totally disillusioned at the bullshit being put out about the reason for shifting to Melbourne. Cadbury stated that the processing equipment was outdated and it was cheaper to manufacture from Melbourne than replace the equipment in Dunedin. Well it turns out that the equipment in Dunedin was taken to Melbourne, and is being used to manufacture the same products as before.
If any budding business person ever wanted to see how not to run a business, then this is a classic. You do not continually piss off your clients by changing the composition, flavour, and size of your products and expect sales to continue.