America may be voting on its next president today, but in the UK there are more pressing matters to deal with: someone has been fucking with our chocolate. Mondelez International, makers of the iconic, triangular Toblerone bar, are facing a wave of anger and upset after the company widened the gaps between the bar’s chocolate segments. The changes, says Mondelez, have nothing to do with Brexit, and although that may be the case, that doesn’t stop it from looking like a perfect metaphor for Brexit.
The bar’s new shape has been compared to a toast rack and a bicycle stand, as well as dubbed "the chocolate bar of disappointment" and "the beginning of the end for Western civilization." (By me, just now.) Before the changes, a Toblerone was a hearty snack: something that you could get your teeth into like a dog with a chew toy, grappling with those plentiful triangle slices. Now, the bar seems denuded and feeble, like a Christmas tree missing half its branches, or an old, sick dog, just about ready to die.
Mondelez says the changes were made to save costs by reducing the weight of each bar. Widening the gap between the segments has meant that a 400-gram bar now weighs 360 grams, and a 170-gram bar now weighs 150 grams. The company blames rising ingredient prices for the change, and says it was necessary to keep the bar's shape.
"Wasn't done as a result of Brexit."
"Like many other companies, we are experiencing higher costs for numerous ingredients," the American company told BBC News. "We carry these costs for as long as possible, but to ensure Toblerone remains on-shelf, is affordable, and retains the triangular shape, we have had to reduce the weight [of the bars]." A spokesperson added that while the low value of the pound was "not favorable" at the moment, the change "wasn't done as a result of Brexit."
Certainly, food manufacturers change the weight of products all the time to save costs. In the UK in 2008, Mars quietly reduced the size of the regular Mars bar from 62.5 grams to 58 grams while keeping the price the same, claiming that the change was made to help tackle the country’s obesity crisis. The company later admitted it was actually done to cut costs, and then reduced the bar’s size again in 2013 to 51 grams. In Toblerone's case, the lie seems more obvious: they could have just made the bars shorter instead.
Whatever the ultimate reason for the change, Toblerone customers in the UK — like your long-suffering parents — are more disappointed than angry. After all, the physical dimensions of the Toblerone bars have stayed the same: it’s only once you buy one, take it home, and open it up that the deception becomes apparent. You've been sold on a lie, is the Toblerone's message to humanity; you're easily fooled and now, you'll never be happy again.