Picture this: you’re 8 years old and your mum has allowed you to pick one treat from the confectionary aisle. Under dim fluorescent supermarket lighting you do not hesitate- you know exactly which chocolate bar you’re choosing. The hardest dilemna you’ll face in your young life is choosing which animal- or Furry Friend- you’ll eat for your after school snack today. Life is beautiful.
The world is probably a different place from when you were eight years old- unless you’re only nine, in which case, don’t do drugs and don’t talk to strangers. Now, when you think of Furry Friends, you probably think of your friends who own fursuits. The world continues to evolve, and so do Furry Friends (the chocolate variety, not your friends who are furries).
Furry Friends are still a family favourite. They’re a satisfying size and texture and they taste like nostalgia. What’s not to love? Furry Friends have a prolific history and a dedicated fanbase who have differing opinions on the way the chocolate has changed over the years.
The History of Furry Friends
Cadbury has been making mouths happy for over one hundred years and their name adorns a number of different chocolates that probably featured heavily in your childhood. Cadbury recycles the same dairy milk recipe for many of their products, including Furry Friends- and yet they all seem to have a slightly disctinctive taste. But it wasn’t the chocolate that had everyone hankering for a Furry Friend.
These chocolates, originally wrapped in paper-lined foil featuring facts about the animal pictured on the wrapping. These brief animal facts were like crack to kids who did not have internet access. Collecting the foil wrappings and sending them off to receive a poster in return was pure bliss. Plus, the foil retained that heavenly creamy chocolate smell for days, and children who were deprived of frequent chocolate treats would keep the wrappers on hand just to get a whiff of that lingering aroma.
The Furry Friends of today don’t come with animal facts or collectable stickers, nor do they give you the opportunity to send your used wrappers off for a poster. Now the cheap wrappers are thrown away like any other chocolate bar, and children get their animal facts from the internet.
Furry Friends have gone up in price, like many other products, and some consumers believe the price is not worth the small, thin chocolate bar. After all, the chocolate is the same recipe as other Cadbury products. You’re paying for the cute factor- the animals. And while the wrappers are cute, they no longer have the same features as the original foil wrappers.
Furry Friends Wrappers
The familiar Furry Friends wrappers of your childhood featured detailed pictures of adorable animals, accompanied by facts about the furry friend pictured on the wrapper. The packaging has changed a few times and, like many other brands, has now evolved into a much more minimalistic design that appeals to children.
The baffling omission of facts about the Furry Friend has left many customers dissatisfied. The facts were part of the reason many of us enjoyed these chocolates so much as children, and while the new wrappers are cute, they just aren’t the same as they once were. For the price, you may as well buy a Freddo Frog or even a full sized block of dairy milk. A cute animal picture on a cheaply made wrapper that you’re going to throw away anyway does not make the price worth it.
Packaging with some sort of niche aspect can increase a brands popularity- after all, we’ve all been happily chewing road tar branded as Fantales for years because we get excited over the packing with celebrity trivia on it. We could get the same facts from the internet without losing a tooth, but we love the novelty of the packaging not being totally useless. It’s the same innate human quality that made us buy that cheap gum that came with a temporary tattoo. Furry Friends could have capitalised on this with their facts and stickers.
However, one aspect of the new wrappers appeals to Australian chocolate lovers more than the previous wrappers. While the old style of Furry Friends wrappers featured all sorts of animals, including horses, sheep, buffalo and seals, the new wrappers focus on mainly Australian native animals. There’s less variety in the animals you can buy, but it does make them feel a little more like the Australian icons that they are.
No matter what the packaging looks like, Furry Friends are a source of great childhood nostalgia. It’s just another thing that has decreased in quality and increased in value. The silver lining: the chocolate itself is the same. There are debates over whether the original bars featured an outline of the animal pictured on the packaging, but whatever they used to look like, they taste the same- a taste that can only be described as “nostalgia”.