Sweet Talking

No, no, no, no, no. 

The decision by Mars to turn the plump, round Malteser into a flat button has sent shivers of horror down the spines of those of us for whom it is their favorite sweet. 

For those of my generation, the Malteser box was the glamorous delicacy you gazed at longingly at the cinema: every rattling bauble a new jewel to be savoured. Not that you ever got as far as the wrapping, though – your parents having told you they were too expensive, as you clung to the small tube of pastilles they’d bought you before attending.

The consumption of a Malteser is a gastric art form: first, a tiny bite of the chocolate, breaking the virgin seal where the promise of crisp honeycomb lurks beyond. Then, nibble by nibble, your teeth taking off each piece of the jigsaw until the beige baldness shines in all its glory. 

And, oh, what glory. The slow melt of gold as the bubbles burst on your tongue; the final cloying stickiness that gradually melts between your teeth. The decision which one to have next – seemingly all the same but, like snowflakes, all completely different. Now, apparently because of falling sales, we are to get a button. Are there not enough buttons and their ilk in the sweet world already?

Manufacturers destroy entire personal histories when they re-design our sweeties. Remember when Cadbury, without any warning, dropped the Orange Crème from Milk Tray? The Orange Truffle tried to sneak its way in, hoping that no one would notice, but the interloper was soon exposed, and national outcry ensued.

There was another fiasco with Rowntree when they tried to re-invent the Aero bar (what is it about bubbles that these people don’t understand?). One day, the Aero bar was filled with bubbles – a bit like the Polo mint, the marketing was in the hot air that filled in the gaps. It was even patented. 

Such was Aero’s bubble success, Rowntree decided to expand. They made bubbles mint flavoured; then they made them orange flavoured. As the Only Milk Chocolate Aero in the Sweet Shop Village, the original Aero bar had a right to be concerned, but had to accept that its new cousins were all part of the same family.

Then, it all went horribly wrong: Rowntree decided to change not only Aero’s inside, but its overcoat, and the sweet world was never the same again.

One minute, Aero was Woody in Toy Story: Aero Man, with its big, creamy, bubbly, milk chocolate hat; then, they chose to make it Caramel Lightyear, a smothering, cocky concoction of soft toffee, hated not only by everyone who loved Old Aero, but other sweeties, who consigned it to the leftover baskets in supermarkets. To this day, Rowntree keep trying to reinvent the bubble.

Then there was Twix. They tried a new low calorie version that, like sticky Aero, found itself heaped into rejects crates at cash tills.

I predict the same disaster for the flat Malteser. Now, here’s a revolutionary thought, Mars. How about putting them back in the bags that were easy to open? Maybe it’s not that people have gone off the sweet, but they can’t get at the darned things anymore. 

And tell the guys over at Cadbury to do the same things with their Flakes that now require a saw to reach the chocolate log. 

Save Our Maltesers. 

The campaign starts here.