Cadbury Flake too crumbly for 99s, say ice cream sellers

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Lawrence Glauser in his ice cream van holding a 99 ice cream

Britain’s ice cream sellers have got 99 problems – and Cadbury Flakes being “too crumbly” is top of the list.

Vendors say they’ve seen quality plummet since production of the chocolate stick switched to Egypt.

Parent company Mondelēz International said the issues had been addressed but warned older stock might still be in circulation.

That doesn’t help those paying “top money” for a box of shards, said John Taylor, owner of C&M Creamery Ices.

“You can’t give someone a 99 with a broken Flake. It’s embarrassing for an ice cream man.”

A plastic tub containing broken Flake

Lawrence Glauser, owner of Lorenzo’s Ices in East Yorkshire, described it as a “big issue” and has resorted to more creative measures.

“Often at least a quarter of a box are unusable,” he said.

“I now serve trays of ice cream and sprinkle bits of Flake on top. I shouldn’t have to do that. I’m fed up of the wastage.”

‘Your day is ruined’

Mr Glauser said while his first choice remained Cadbury Flake 99, when they are unusable he turns to a German alternative marketed as “milk chocolate flaked sticks”.

“Customers don’t seem to mind, the German ones are a lot denser and don’t seem to fall apart as easily.”

Lawrence Glauser, left, with customer Lewis Wood

Husband and wife team Martin North and Abby Beech have reported similar issues and some weeks don’t bother to stock Flakes at their business, Abbyo’s.

When they do, he has to explain to disgruntled customers why their topping crumbles.

“You physically can’t get [the Flakes] into the ice cream. As soon as you pick them up they fall apart. It’s not good when you’re paying £16 a box.”

Reputation to maintain

Mr Taylor, who has been trading for 30 years in Harrogate, believes the quality of the product has deteriorated and “so many people” had spoken to him about it.

“They’re crumbly by nature but they should be able to stand up to a bit of moving around.

“They’re charging top money for them, but they arrive as though they have been bounced off a cliff.

“If you’re buying five boxes of Flake for an event and you discover a lot of them are broken your day is ruined.”

Ice cream sellers are complaining about the quality of Cadbury Flake

Image source, Adrian Dennis/Contributor (via Getty Images)

Wholesale boxes typically contain 144 Flake 99s. Katy Alston, who operates a van in Bognor Regis and is also president of The Ice Cream Alliance, said 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.

“For the first time, I won’t be using Cadbury Flake this year. It feels a different product.”

She said ice cream vendors have a reputation to maintain.

“If you order a 99, you want a good solid Flake in it.”

Flake 99 sign

A spokesperson for Mondelēz International said it cared about its customers and took issues with quality “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 recent 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.”

The company said it has been making Flake 99 in Egypt since 2020 and insisted the recipe had not changed.

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