The well-known Cadbury Flake is now “too crumbly” to be used in 99 cones, according to ice cream sellers across the country.
The brand’s iconic chocolate sticks, synonymous with the classic ice cream cones, “feel different” and can be “embarrassing” for businesses, some vendors say.
They shared their concerns as the UK is expected to see the hottest day of the year so far this weekend, with the soaring temperatures likely to drive demand for cooling treats.
One ice cream man said it is “embarrassing” to sell a “broken” flake while another has resorted to using German chocolate sticks which are “a lot denser”.
Some ice cream sellers say the quality of Cadbury Flake 99s has deteriorated since the production of the sweet treat was moved to Egypt.
Parent company Mondelez International said it is looking into the issue but cautioned that old stock might still be in circulation.
‘They’ve all been broken’
Wholesale boxes contain approximately 144 Flake 99s, but Katy Alston, who operates a van in Bognor Regis and is president of The Ice Cream Alliance, told the BBC that she has had to throw half away in some cases.
“We’ve thrown away 70 in a single box before because they’ve all been broken,” she said.
“For the first time, I won’t be using Cadbury Flakes this year. It feels a different product.”
Ms Alston also claimed that ice cream sellers’ reputation had to be upheld and said “If you order a 99, you want a good solid Flake in it”.
John Taylor, owner of C&M Creamery Ices, also told the BBC: “You can’t give someone a 99 with a broken Flake. It’s embarrassing for an ice cream man.”
Lawrence Glauser, owner of Lorenzo’s Ices in East Yorkshire, said the Flakes are a “big issue” and he has resorted to using German own-brand chocolate sticks instead.
“Customers don’t seem to mind, the German ones are a lot denser and don’t seem to fall apart as easily,” he said.
Cadbury has been owned by Mondelez International since 2010 and has been making Flake 99s in Egypt since 2020.
The US multinational insists that the recipe has not changed and took issues of quality “very seriously”.
In a statement, a Mondelez International spokesperson said: “We care about our loyal customer base and take quality issues very seriously. Cadbury Flake 99 is a naturally delicate and crumbly product, and we have processes in place within our supply chain to avoid any breakage as much as possible.
“We are aware that, recently, some customers have received product which does not meet our usual high standards. This has been addressed following improvements to our production processes, although some prior stock may remain in circulation.
“We are in the process of liaising with our customers (wholesalers) to support those potentially impacted. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”