Plans by Cadbury to launch a major new brand have been thrown into disarray this week after the recall of 1 million Dairy Milk bars over fears they have been contaminated with salmonella.
Cadbury Melts, which was due to be launched in August, was expected to be the company’s first major push into the premium end of the block chocolate market. It was due to receive significant marketing support and would have been the first major brand launch since Cadbury Snaps in 2004 (MW June 24, 2004).
Retail industry insiders say there is confusion over how Cadbury plans to proceed. One insider says she believes all new product development planned for the third quarter has been “put on hold”, but another source at a different retailer claims he has been told that new launches were going ahead. It is understood that extensions of the Dairy Milk products were also planned.
The confusion over Cadbury Melts comes as the confectionery giant and retailers battle to get the situation under control. The product recall, which started on Friday, includes seven Cadbury Dairy Milk products – 250g Dairy Milk Turkish, Dairy Milk Caramel and Dairy Milk Mint Chip bars, Dairy Milk 8 Chunk, 1kg Dairy Milk and Freddo bars and the 105g Dairy Milk Buttons Easter egg.
The chocolate company is facing a major consumer backlash after it was revealed that Cadbury had been aware of the contamination since January. It is understood that the level of contamination was so low that the company was not obliged to inform the Food Standards Agency.
The industry insiders say retailers are still concentrating on recalling all of the products and that efforts were hampered by the decision to announce the recall on Friday afternoon. One source says it would be helpful if Cadbury would move to reassure the public that the scare does not affect all Dairy Milk products.
A Cadbury spokesman says that its new product development programme will “continue as per normal”. He added that its advertising and Coronation Street sponsorship, which have both been put on hold, would be back on “in days rather than weeks”.