Tip Top pulling a Cadbury?

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, November 30th, 2009 - 24 comments
Categories: Environment, food - Tags:

tip-top-logoI was interested to read in the Herald on Friday that Tip Top is under fire for cutting the size of its 2 litre ice-cream packs to 1.6 litres, without changing the price.

Remind you of Cadbury, except without the palm oil? Well, maybe.

A dairy owner I happened to pass by the other day for an ice-cream expressed her frustration that it just didn’t roll into scoops like it used to. She reckoned after hitting up Tip Top, the company told her it was the new palm oil addition that was causing her problems…

Now I would really like to find out the truth behind this. A quick check-up showed some products listed only ‘vegetable oil’, while some listed no oil at all. So my questions are: Has Tip Top started adding palm oil to some of its products? If so, which products, how much oil, and why?

Here’s what Tip Top said in response to the ice-cream size-down:

Iconic New Zealand brand Tip Top is the latest manufacturer to treat consumers “as though they are a little bit silly” by cutting the size of some of their traditional two-litre ice cream packs to 1.6 litres but not cutting the price.

Flavours Goody Goody Gum Drops, Jelly Tip, Monkey Business and Gone Fishin’ have been shrunk, with the company justifying the change by saying the smaller tubs were packed with more “exciting bits”.

Hopefully those ‘exciting bits’ aren’t an extra dose of palm oil.

24 comments on “Tip Top pulling a Cadbury?”

  1. A Nonny Moose 1

    Will be interesting if Greenpeace get a hold of it. Shouldn’t be long now then…

  2. Palm oil is a pest product for sure, be interesting to get the analysis on what Tip Top is actually using.

    Consumers have great potential power over these bloody corporates and should organise and use it more often. The recent 31 day lockout at Open Country Cheese Co may have seen the neanderthal Talley brothers pull their heads in a bit quicker with a strong customer campaign. It is disappointing though that many will buck at health/taste considerations without going further and supporting labour rights and fair trade aspects.

    The last Tip Top “novelty’ I bought by the way was made in Italy, not very kiwiana.

  3. dave 3

    the herald has finally done an article, huh. Tip Top has been doing this for at least three weeks….also some snack bars have been doing this for months -different weights but same size packaging…

  4. Anne Heins 4

    A potential way to identify unlabelled palm oil (disguised under the generic “vegetable oil”) is to check whether the product contains saturated fat. If the ingredients list “vegetable oil” and the product contains saturated fat, then the vege oil it contains is either palm oil, palm kernel oil or coconut oil, as no other vege oils contain saturated fats. See http://www.palmoilaction.org.au/pages/shopping-guide.html for more details.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    What Tip Top have said, which is not accurately reflected in the quote above, is that New Zealanders consider these types of ice cream to be “treats”, and are therefore less interested in the volume of ice cream that they get, but are more interested in the “exciting bits”. So they claim that they’ve increased the number of exciting bits, which had to be paid for by reducing the amount of ice cream. Also they said that “everyday flavours” such as chocolate and vanilla were subsidising the “treat flavours”, so keeping the price the same while lowering the volume of ice cream and upping the “exciting bits” means the everyday flavours aren’t subsidising the treat flavours any more.

    This line of logic does have some merit to it, assuming that it is true that customers are more concerned about “exciting bits” and less concerned about volume, and not just corporate propaganda.

    As a commenter on Stuff pointed out, however, that probably what they’ve actually done is instead of giving you 200g of “exciting bits” spread through 2L of ice cream, they’re now spreading those same 200g through 1.6L of ice cream. So in effect you aren’t actually getting any extra “exciting bits” over what you used to get, but in fact are simply getting less ice cream for the same price.

  6. vto 6

    Reducing quantity and keeping price the same sounds just like Michael Cullen’s 39c income tax bracket creep.

    Both sly.

    Both deceptive.

    • Roger Anderson 6.1

      How does that occur again? Because of higher wages brought about through Labour’s increases to minimum wage, giving greater strength to unions, enforcing regular annual contract negotiations, reduced unemployment etc.

    • Lanthanide 6.2

      And yet when Cullen tried to re-adjust the brackets, it was labelled a “chewing gum” tax cut by National and rejected.

      Either the fiscal drag is a big problem, as you portend, or it was a “chewing gum” problem. You can’t have it both ways.

      • fizzleplug 6.2.1

        Focus on the ice-cream please. It’s much nicer than dredging up memories of Cullen and co.

  7. prism 7

    Back to the ice cream. The sizing thing probably just relates to the fact that certain of the bulk brands have extras in them, which should be costed accordingly. It makes sense for these ones to be smaller, then they can be kept at the same price as the regular flavours which is more satisfactory for supermarket specialling which doesn’t have to exclude some types when offering a lower price.
    It is really not sneaky to change sizing as they have done. What is regularly sneaky over all products is the fact that the size is always in a smaller font size than other information, and often not placed in plain sight at the top or middle, but at a far point on the compass on the packaging.
    The palm kernel oil business is hard to pin down because of NZs incredibly lax she’ll be right labelling and consumer requirements. We don’t want to impose regulations re labels and information on manufacturers and importers, that would involve them in some extra trouble! Recently the inappropriate minister in charge of food standards introduced self regulation for those companies, so government is taking less responsibility than ever.
    I was looking at some nice handmade soap recently made with vegetable oil (not specified) and I hope that it is not palm kernel oil but it is surprising how many specialist shops are selling items with pko in it as if they are doing the planet and concerned customers a righteous favour though they are assisting the destruction of forest habitat for both people and orang-utangs.

  8. Harpoon 8

    Putting aside (for the moment) any considerations regarding quality, I have some random impertinent questions:
    (1) Is it always evil to use palm oil?
    (2) if so, why?
    (3) if not, under what terms is it okay?
    (4) is the ethics of palm oil use is relative — eg; okay to use if the alternative is environmentally worse?

    • Jeremy 8.1

      1: Yes
      2: a: because tricking people into handing over money for something that tastes like cat vomit is evil. b: because there’s no evidence anyone’s growing it without killing orangutans in the process, or that much of it is produced without slave labour.
      3: It would be ok if the suppliers weren’t killing orangutans or using slave labour.
      4: Moot point, the only worse alternative is to use petrol.

  9. Good on Tip Top. By reducing the size of the ice cream but keeping the price the same they are reducing the amount of refined sugar and diary fat people are consuming.

    • Smokie 9.1

      You’re an odd man if you eat diaries Richard. An odd man indeed.

      • felix 9.1.1

        Certainly a novel approach to nutrition.

        • Mac1 9.1.1.1

          Try a nice 1666 Pepys Diary, full of cake recipes but a bit burnt round the edges. Certainly a warning there to tend your ovens.

          An interesting thing about the 1.6 litre pack is that its top surface area is the same as the 2 litre pack and looks the same as the others when viewed in the supermarket freezer. The font size was definitely understated. My supermarket had designated the 1.6 litre pack as a new product.

      • prism 9.1.2

        He wants to be up to date.

  10. des 10

    Tip Top have changed the formulae of vanilla ice cream, Not sure when but I have a 2l that expieres in may next year and the portion size(with 20 100ml per pack) is 50gr while the new stuff is 46gr in the same 2l pack,or the old 2l weighed 1000gr the new 920gr. An 8% loss of weight.Energy has changed per portion from 805kj to 847kj per 100g, yes it now is more fattening -bet that is not milk fat? Protein is half its old levels, Only sodium has gone down significantly.I do not know when this change occured and cadburys, sorry tip top(intentional error)web site say recipie hasn’t changed from that that won some industry ice cream award this year,So unchanged since some time this year!!!
    By the way shouldn’t the stats be given in volume as the pack is sold as per volume not weight anyway.

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