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When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 5:08 am
by aardvark_admin
This column is archived at:

Whether it's chocolate, drinks, software or online services... far too many companies ignore the sage saying "if it's not broken, don't fix it" -- often to their significant cost.

So what's your favourite chocolate and why?

Are Kiwis buying Whittaker's mainly because it's not Cadbury's rather than on its own merits (because some of Whittaker's stuff is not really that good IMHO).

Did you give up on Milo when they changed the formula and will you be reinstating it as an occasional drink now they've restored the original recipe?

What's the worst "new and improved" fiasco you can recall?

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 8:34 am
by GSVNoFixedAbode
Cadbury suffered from an "Aussie takeover" in the late 90s with Management decisions largely made on the other side of the ditch. Since the NZ slice of the combined Asia-Pacific market was less than 10% NZ consumers weren't a big factor . That lead to changes in the recipe and the start of the downward spiral. NZ Management fought a rear-guard action despite this. Then the international company was bought out by mega-Corp Kraft, re-aligned for max profits rather than products and Cadbury became just a brandname rather than a company. End of story, end of product, end of any form of corporate ethics.

Full disclosure: I worked there mid-90s to late-00s.

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 8:58 am
by goosemoose
Lawnmowers. I bought a NZ made, accountant designed, Lawnmaster one. POS. Never again. Now buy bottom of the barrel Bunnings ones as they last just as long.

As for the Cadburys thing, agree. Normally occurs when a more "shareholder value" orientated management team infect an organisation. You get indications of this when phrases like "we listened to our customers" crop up in media material. They are doing anything but and have convinced themselves that they know best. This signifies beginning of the slow spiral to just becoming a brand and not a trusted product.

Can't stand Cadburys and now buy exclusively Whittakers stuff. Funny to see Cadburys advertising like crazy now. Alls that left is for Whittakers to screw it up. I also see that Tip Top ice cream has been bought by an international conglomerate too.

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 9:12 am
by Perry
Bruce wrote:What other similar failures of "improved" products can you recall?

How about Mad Max Bradford's go at NZ electricity supply recipe improvements?

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 10:31 am
by phill
nor their equivalent of Cadbury's Caramello.

i have a bar of their "new caramel" .. creamy caramel 33% chocolate bar
its good .. so not all changes in chocolate are bad

To their credit, Nestle has now seen the light and claims that it is reverting back to the original recipe for the product

from my memory of an interview with one of their managers on tv ... milo has not gone back to the original recipe .. apparently because of changes in the manufacturing plant ( i smelt some probable bs from the spin doctor there ) they cannot
but they are going back to the original taste .. who can compare that in a lab .. so probably more bs they are just spinning a new flavour which may or may not be closer to the original .. it probably is .. but its not the original recipe

aussie chocolate was crap compared to nz stuff ... nz ( esp the dunedin area ) can and did make much lower melting point chocolate .. which effects the perceived taste a lot .. all aussie chocolate uses a much higher melting point and in the middle of summer its made even higher .. which makes it even worse .. its now all made in aussie .. so thats what we get ( from memory of an interview on aussie tv when i was living there )

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 2:02 pm
by decibel
Get ready for the "new & improved Tip-Top icecream !!"

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 2:18 pm
by A Bradford
As a kid back in the sixties my absolute favourite of all time was the small chocolate coated toffee bars. I don’t think they even had a name. They disappeared from Dairy’s probably more than forty years ago. They were short and thin and not individually wrapped. You simply reached into an unmarked box on the counter of the Dairy and pulled out a handful. They were magnificent. Also Chocolate Fish and Buzz Bars were on the shortlist I seem to remember.

These days it is Aldi Moser Roth 85% Dark. (I’m not sure if Aldi is in NZ). It comes in a 125g packet with 5x25g bars inside ($2.69). That equals 5g of carbohydrate per bar that results in no significant insulin spike (very important if you want to live a long life). It can be broken into 8 pieced and slowly eaten over an hour of so.

I also agree that the Australian chocolate was never as good as the “original” NZ chocolate. And NZ food in general (except for Tasmania which is on par).

IMHO chocolate companies are the equivalent of cigarette companies. In fact they may generate greater healthcare costs to the community as they’re jointly responsible for all of the chronic diseases of ageing. (Yes I know, I’m evangelical about this stuff). These diseases linger for decades whereas cigarettes tended to knock-you-off pretty quickly. I remember the cigarette companies lobbying governments many years ago with the argument that cigarettes were good for an economy as smokers paid far more tax and didn’t collect pensions. Economically its sound, morally it’s reprehensible. By comparison just think how often we see a “study” telling us that chocolate is good for us. So arguably the chocolate companies really are worse, and they know it. With that in mind, changing the recipe to something second-rate is child’s-play.

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 2:28 pm
by Kiwiiano
I notice the creeping deceptions: the cake of soap hollow on one side, the toast cut bread with thicker and thicker slices (less per pack, higher turnover), the Colgates el toothbrush with the pointless extra bristles that encourage you to use 2-3x as much toothpaste as the Braun el toothbrushes, the smaller sizes for the same price, the weird volumes/weights that discourage comparisons*, the pre-packaged perishable products like meat that force you to buy 8 sausages when you only need 6, the ‘sugar-free’ drinks when we really want ‘unsweetened’, the larger & larger bottles of sugar-drenched drinks, the list goes on & on. I remember when broken biscuits were steeply discounted, nowadays, in spite of more (plastic) packaging, it’s hard to find a pack that doesn’t have some pre-broken and even if you do, they shatter on impact with paté or cream cheese. I can also remember when things like tomatoes and apples had a weird quality call ‘taste’ and in spite of galloping decrepitude, I don’t think I’ve got Parkinsons.

(* off-set by some supermarkets including the price/100g on some products)

Re: When new is worse than old (14 May, 2019)

PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2019 2:38 pm
by Kiwiiano
A Bradford wrote: Also Chocolate Fish and Buzz Bars were on the shortlist I seem to remember..

Keep an eye out for (made in NZ) ‘Queen Anne’ Chocolate Fish, they are to die for or better still, to die of! Often stashed near the checkouts. We also adored their dark chocolate Easter eggs, unashamedly half eggs* but amazingly smooth & creamy. Unfortunately so did everyone else and they sold out well before Easter leaving the supermarket shelves & aisles cluttered with Cadbury Crud.

(* one suggestion was to correct that by joining them with chocolate ganache, or perhaps just some melted 70% cocoa chocolate :P )