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Toblerone vs Poundland: A food fight with peaks and troughs

While the classic Toblerone bars had become lighter in weight in the reconfiguring, though their price remained the same, Poundland's bar would be chunkier and cheaper

Alan Cowell | NYT 

Toblerone chocolate
A worker takes a traditional Toblerone chocolate out of the form in the Toblerone factory in Bern

Call it the candy bar war that peaked. When the makers of the distinctive reconfigured their triangular treat last year to slim down its hallmark summits and widen the valleys between them, a potential rival — Britain’s discount chain — saw a niche in the market.

What perhaps did not anticipate was the battle of the brands that kept its new offering off the shelves while the owners of Toblerone, the giant American conglomerate Mondelez International, challenged the British company’s right to make a candy bar that looked so similar.

Only in October did a three-month bout of legal arm-wrestling draw to an end. And only this week did Poundland’s bars hit the shelves — though not quite in the way the British chain had intended, and not, in their current shape at least, for long. So what was all the fuss about?

Like Toblerone, Poundland’s version has peaks and troughs. It, too, originally came swathed in a golden wrapper with red lettering. But while the classic bars had become lighter in weight in the reconfiguring — though their price remained the same — Poundland’s bar would be chunkier and cheaper, at £1, or about $1.35, each. Not, of course, that this was some crude copycat. If, as some contend, was modelled on the soaring pyramid of a mountain — the Matterhorn on the Italian-Swiss border, which is about 14,690 feet high — Poundland’s bar was said to have been inspired by two less vertiginous hills in the English county of Shropshire near the border with Wales — the Ercall, at 460 feet, and the Wrekin, at 1,335 feet. Hence the shape of the bar, with a double set of summits between each valley. And hence its name: Twin Peaks, with what called “a distinctive British flavour compared to Toblerone’s Swiss chocolate nougat.” 

First Published: Wed, December 06 2017. 23:33 IST
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