Willy Wonka range set for chop after poor sales

Nestlé Rowntree is understood to have axed its Willy Wonka range of chocolate bars and sweets after a collapse in sales.

The decision comes just months after it presented plans to introduce it as a permanent range.

The Swiss food giant had initially launched the bars as a limited run tie-in with the Tim Burton film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, released in July 2005.

The early sales figures were strong enough for the company to consider plans to make the range permanent.

Last summer, a Nestlé spokesman confirmed that the production lines were working at full capacity and that Nestlé saw the launch of the Wonka bars as one of its most successful in recent years.

In the autumn, it was forced to delay introducing the range after it struggled to keep up with retailer demand (MW September 22).

Nestlé revamped the range with the introduction of three bars – Triple Dazzle Caramel, Nut Crunch Surprise and Whipple Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight – and a range of sweet products such as a cane filled with Fruity Smarties.

The launch was supported with a ‘Golden Ticket’ promotion based on the the original Roald Dahl book and the film.

Industry insiders say that they were led to believe that Nestlé planned to retain the range with regular new editions, but that it has changed plans after sales weakened. Nestlé denied it was planning to bring it in as permanent line.

Nestlé has had the rights to make Willy Wonka-related products for some time, with trademarks going back to 1986.