Secrets Of The Chocolate Factory: Inside Cadbury reveals that the history of the beloved chocolatier has not always been sweet. Scandals, public health risks and hostile commercial manoeuvres expose a world of intrigue and drama in which only the strong survive.
Unfortunately, the casualties of the cutthroat business of tasty treats are often the treats themselves, with many delicious snacks consigned to the scrapheap. In tribute to the fallen heroes of the food world, these are some of Australia’s forgotten treats.
It may have been discontinued, but the Polly Waffle won’t go down without a fight.
Invented in 1947 by Melbourne chocolatier Hoadley’s, the Polly Waffle was a chocolate-coated wafer and marshmallow log known for its conspicuous purple packaging and appearance similar to human refuse. Despite unquestionable appeal, the treat was discontinued in 2009 due to poor sales but has since been resurrected by Adelaide company Robern Menz. The success of the relaunch remains to be seen but reviving a product despite the public’s unwillingness to buy it in the past is laudably bold.
Another of Hoadley’s creations, the Violet Crumble - the choc-coated honeycomb bar where "It's the way it shatters that matters" - has been an Australian icon since 1913 but a favourite from the product range, the bags of bite-sized chunks, was discontinued by subsequent producer Nestlé in 2010 due to production costs and subdued sales. Fortunately for fans of the Violet Crumble bags, Robern Menz, which bought the brand in 2018, is planning to relaunch them this year.
Three times a human’s recommended daily sugar intake in one tasty treat!
Made by Australian manufacturer Allen’s, Killer Pythons are still technically available but in 2014, fans were outraged as the massive jelly snakes were halved in size. Such was the furore, the story was reported in almost every major Australian news outlet, with people seemingly unaware they could just buy more than one if they wanted the same amount of snake as previously sold.
Experts predict that if a Yowie is captured in real life, it is unlikely to be smiling or wrapped in foil.
Inspired by the mythical Australian bush creature, Yowies were created in 1995 by Australian-based Brit Geoff Pike. Known for their environmentally conscious message and their (perhaps not so environmentally friendly?) plastic toy inside, the treat was a huge international success but was discontinued in 2005 due to a commercial dispute. Relaunched in the US in 2014, the tasty treats returned to Australia in 2017, once again putting their stamp on the field of chocolates with a product that's a lot like Kinder Surprises but different enough to avoid a lawsuit.
Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs
People who never bought these were outraged when they were removed from sale.
Once a staple in lolly shops Australia-wide, jellied Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs were discontinued by Allen's in 2015 due to poor sales. The original Spearmint Leaves remain unavailable but Green Frogs have since made a return of sorts, with a product called ‘Frog Family’ including Green Frogs among a variety of other colours. The sale of Green Frogs is subsequently on the rise again, although they are undeniably riding the coattails of other more popular flavours.
Released by Nestlé Australia, White Knights were a chewy, chocolate-covered mint bar widely available until low sales saw them discontinued in 2016.
Though out of production for three years, out-of-date White Knights still sporadically appear for sale on the web, with hardcore fans willing to risk the minor inconvenience of food poisoning for the minty treat.
A throwback to an era in which directly harming children was surprisingly acceptable, Fags were created by Australian Riviera Confectionery in 1943. As attitudes changed towards both smoking and the negative connotation surrounding the word, they became known as Fads in the '90s, and later Fads Fun Sticks. They are still available today, although parents can rest assured the smoking-related imagery has been removed, leaving kids with nothing but healthy, healthy sugar.
Secrets Of The Chocolate Factory: Inside Cadbury reveals the trials and successes of one of the world’s best known chocolatiers, responsible for Flake, Picnic, Boost, Dairy Milk and many others. Yet despite a strong line of popular chocolates, history shows even mighty companies can fall, taking their products with them. Accordingly, the lesson is to enjoy your favourite treats while you can, ensuring ‘disappointment’ isn’t added to the list of health issues that a long-term passion for overindulging in sweets might deliver.
Secrets Of The Chocolate Factory: Inside Cadbury airs on Wednesday, 20 February at 8.35pm on SBS.