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Poundland delays launch of Twin Peaks chocolate bar amid legal row

The Guardian logo The Guardian 17/07/2017 Sarah Butler
The smaller version of the Toblerone bar aimed to meet pricing targets by Poundland and other discount retailers. © AP The smaller version of the Toblerone bar aimed to meet pricing targets by Poundland and other discount retailers. Poundland has been forced to delay the launch of a Toblerone copycat after getting stuck in a legal wrangle with the triangular chocolate bar’s owners.

Last month, the budget chain announced plans to begin selling Twin Peaks, a bar with two humps rather than the distinctive single peak chunks of the Toblerone bar, which is one of the discounter’s biggest sellers.

Instead of featuring the iconic Matterhorn on its red and gold packaging, the Poundland version featured the Wrekin, a hill in Shropshire near the company’s head office, and was made in Birmingham rather than Switzerland. At 180g, it was also 30g heavier than the £1 Toblerone currently available.

The Twin Peaks bar was initially planned to launch at the beginning of this month, and then delayed until the middle of July. But fans asking this week where they could find the bar were told by Poundland customer services there was currently no launch date.

It is understood that Poundland still plans to go ahead with selling Twin Peaks, but the launch has been delayed after the company received a legal letter from Toblerone. The companies held talks last week but neither side would comment on any dispute. A spokesman for Poundland said: “Twin Peaks is still in development.”

The launch of Poundland’s copycat bar was an attempt to fill a gap in the market, after Toblerone resorted to shrinkflation ahead of Christmas last year, widening the spaces between chunks, as it tried to maintain the price of the bar amid rising ingredient costs.

It cut the weight of two bars from Toblerone’s UK range with 400g bars falling to 360g while the 170g bars, which are one of Poundland’s best sellers, slimmed to 150g.

Mondelez, the owner of Toblerone, said the change was not Brexit related, but the fall in the value of the pound after last summer’s EU referendum was seen by many as a likely contributing factor to the firm’s rising costs. The shift to the altered bar was criticised by fans as “stupid”, “ridiculous” and “just plain dumb”.

At the time of the launch of Twin Peaks, Poundland trading director Barry Williams told The Telegraph: “Poundland shoppers are savvy and the change in their favourite chocolate bar last Christmas didn’t go unnoticed. That’s why we’ve created a new £1 alternative for them – the size they wanted, with a British taste, and with all the spaces in the right places.”

Poundland has launched copycat versions of several confectionery favourites as part of its strategy to keep a lid on inflation. Currently on sale are Miracles, which bear a resemblance to Cadbury’s Minstrels – also made by Mondelez – and Nutters, which appear similar to the Mars-manufactured M&M’s.

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