Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sweet lies

What are the two biggest lies in the English language? The first is “the cheque’s in the post” and the second is “We won’t close your factory down once we’ve taken over your company”?

The news that Kraft is now going to close Cadbury’s Somerdale factory just outside Bristol comes as no surprise to some of us. However, to the workers who were assured by Kraft that it would keep the factory open if it succeeded in taking over Cadbury, this hasty about turn is a cruel blow.

Kraft took over Cadbury last week and assured the workers and investors that it would do its best to keep the factory open and the 400 jobs of those who worked in it. What a difference seven days can make. Did Kraft ever have any intention of doing its best to keep the factory going or was it just the lies of a spiv eager to get its greedy hands on a well-loved British company? I think we know the answer to that one, don’t we?

Cadbury itself doesn’t come out of this whole sorry mess with any honour either. It was Cadbury’s board that made the decision to invest £100 million in new production facilities in Poland, thus increasing the pressure on the Bristol factory.

Last week Cadbury’s boss Todd Stitzer was criticised by the unions when it emerged he would personally make £30million from the deal. Stitzer also cashed in stock options worth £4.6million. He acquired 1,363,520 shares at £5.03p each, selling them for £8.41p a share. Perhaps Mr Stitzer will be distributing some of his thirty million pieces of silver amongst the workers of Cadbury’s Somerdale factory.

I shall now to take great pleasure in boycotting goods made by Kraft. It shouldn’t be too hard. I wouldn’t buy Hershey chocolate, Dairylea cheese triangles or any of the other unappetising chemical concoctions that Kraft tries to peddle in the UK. As for chocolate, well there’s plenty of great Swiss, German and French confectionery to be had.


  1. Boycotting Kraft or any other "conglomo" may be more difficult than you think. Their tentacles are everywhere. I tend to boycott Kraft products as a matter of principle...they don't fall into any recognizable food groups that I'm aware of most of the time. Good luck!

  2. I thought I boycott might be easy as most of the foods they produce don't really tickle my tastebuds. But you're right, boycotts tend not to work but they do make some people feel better. I just think that Kraft's decision to close the factory was made with indecent haste. That said, it's our own fault. Great Britain is like a crumbling stately home and as Harold MacMillan once said: "The sale of assets is common with individuals and states when they run into financial difficulties. First, all the Georgian silver goes, and then all that nice furniture that used to be in the saloon. Then the Canalettos go."

  3. Ultimately, a boycott will hurt the workers most. They're the ones who get laid off when production declines because no-one's buying the product. The people at the top just sell up and move on.

    Cadburys may be a well loved British brand but the Cadbury family haven't been a part of it for a long time. Really, it went corporate years ago.

  4. I once did the tourist thing round Hershey Chocolate World in Pennsylvania. You get to taste the chocolate &, believe me, Cadbury's it ain't.

    Had you been served some in hospital you'd have been writing about it's crappiness as compared to that produced in Blighty. One assumes Kraft won't be daft enough to change the recipe.

  5. The workers at Cadburys knew they were gonners as soon as the takeover was completed.
    I live not far from the Chirk facort... and although they have been assured that jobs are safe... now they know its not true and never was.
    The fact that Kraft deliberatly went into debt to take over Cadburys was evidence that the whole of Cadbury will move its production to other countries.
    I dont care if a bouycott works or not... I refuse to put a single penny into the coffers of multi millionare buisnesmen who operate in this way.
    and as you say XTM theres plenty of real chocolate in Europe that Kraft will never get there grubby paws on.

  6. A genuinely real shame, overall. I too have tried the Hershey's stuff, and I've tasted better in godawful Blackpool tourist-brand 'smarties'. I love Cadbury chocolate, and always have, despite every chef who reviews it as being "nowt like the real thing" etc, etc. To change the recipe would be a sin, but it's not like I'd buy the stuff now anyway. European ftw!

  7. I agree, you'd be surprised at the amount of other brands Kraft owns - remember, just because it doesn't say Kraft on the label doesn't mean they don't make it. If you boycott Kraft, chances are you're going to have to buy Nestle which are just as bad. Nestle don't put their names on a lot of their products because so many people boycott them.

    I've been informed (reputably) that the particular factory in question had already been marked for closure by Cadbury before the Kraft buyout.

  8. The factory was due to close but Kraft said they would do what they could to save it and keep it open. It only took them a week to decide they couldn't do anything. I'm probably a cynic but I imagine that Kraft never intended saving the factory.

  9. Yep, me too. I'm sure they could afford it!

  10. I buy Lidle chocolate, the large bars of fruit and nut are far better than Cadburies, also the dark chocolate with 70% cocoa beans in is lush.

    I used to buy only Cadburies up until about 6 years ago, I noticed the flavour had changed.

  11. Same story here in Oz the factory in Tasmania is going the same way, watch them start using HFCS instead of sugar because it's cheaper !!!

    I don't understand this obsession in taking over other companies then changing everything that made that company successful in the first place. Thank goodness I'm diabetic:-)

  12. We have a confusing situation in Australia where one of our national foods - Vegemite - is now owned by Kraft. It's a bit of a paradox. I wish I had the strength to boycott it but Vegemite's too good a food. There are a lot of other options in chocolate though.

  13. I toured the factory in Tasmania many years ago. The smell from the conching room was something I will never forget - I could have spent the entire tour in that room.

    Of course as soon as the chocolate left that room, they buggered it completely by adding too much milk and sugar etc. I am a fan of Lindt 70% - I have not had a "dairy" chocolate since I first tried that stuff about 10 years ago.

  14. I generally eat Green & Blacks organic, myself!

  15. Green & Blacks was taken over by Cadbury which is now owned by Kraft. There is no escape!

  16. Rod - RE "here in Oz the factory in Tasmania is going the same way, watch them start using HFCS instead of sugar because it's cheaper!!!"

    I'm thinking they may have already started doing that??!! I eat a lot of dark choc (it's my only sweet treat) & I've had some weird reactions to Cadbury choc of late...
    I boycotted them, in favour of Whittakers, for quite a while & two weeks ago, I succumbed & bought some Old Gold 70% dark (it was too good special)
    Well I threw up on Sunday after eating some, & it burnt my throat so bad!!! Then most of Monday I couldn't face food (or choc) I have to be pretty bad to not be able to face choc... Now I have got the aches & shakes & I never get sick!! Hmmm...gotta wonder...