Five foods Kiwis want back on shelves

By Hayden Donnell

Kiwis want Georgie Pie; Bluebird Murphy's Thick Cut salt and vinegar chips; Aztec corn chips and Snifters. Photo / Supplied/Kenny Rodger
Kiwis want Georgie Pie; Bluebird Murphy's Thick Cut salt and vinegar chips; Aztec corn chips and Snifters. Photo / Supplied/Kenny Rodger

A Kiwi mum has made history with a successful campaign to bring back 1980s favourite Choco-ade biscuits.

Supermarkets started restocking the orange-filled chocolate biscuits this week, after nearly 15,000 people voted for them to return on a Facebook page started by Upper Hutt mother Amber Johnson.

Other campaigns for the return of beloved Kiwi products have met with varied success.

We look at the other battlers who have clamoured for the return of their favourite comfort foods.

Bring back Snifters, Sparkles and Tangy Fruits

In September 2008, Cadbury Schweppes stopped producing Snifters, Sparkles and Tangy Fruits, citing falling sales.

Its decision caused an outcry. Dunedin protesters from the "Sugar Liberation Army" launched Operation Tang outside Cadbury's factory in Cumberland St. A now-discontinued Facebook page called "Bring back Snifters, Sparkles and Tangy Fruits" gained more than 2000 members. Canvas columnist James Griffin said he was going on strike until Snifters were saved. A poll at Save The Snifter received 7070 votes in favour of bringing back the green oval sweets.

Despite the outcry, Cadbury has refused to bring back any of the "big three" lollies and New Zealand moviegoers have had to make do with Pineapple Lumps and popcorn.

Bring Back Bluebird Murphy's Thick Cut salt and vinegar chips

Michelle Gallagher was nearly five months pregnant when she was struck with an irresistible craving for Bluebird Murphy's Thick Cut salt and vinegar chips. Together with her husband, the Browns Bay resident searched supermarkets, dairies, petrol stations, online shopping websites and wholesalers for the flavour. They were nowhere to be found. Bluebird had scrapped it.

Undeterred, Gallagher set up a Facebook page advocating the return of her favourite chips. A spokesman for Bluebird said they would consider bringing them back if the campaign attracted enough support. The Facebook page attracted 724 likes in short order. However, activity has slowed markedly since March last year.

Cadbury Creme Eggs Are Rotten!

Cadbury, still reeling from the Tangy Fruits, Snifters and Sparkles scandal, was the subject of another angry opposition campaign in early 2010. It was criticised for shifting production of Creme Eggs away from Dunedin so it could import the popular treats from their native land Britain. The move meant the eggs' inner filling became less runny and its chocolate thinner.

Dismayed Aucklander Megan Kenney started a Facebook group called "Cadbury Creme Eggs are Rotten!" She told Herald reporter Alice Neville: "I went to buy one the other day and it was so disgusting I had to rinse my mouth out." Other Facebook groups popped up criticising the "s***e pommy crap" and wailing for the return of locally produced eggs.

Cadbury New Zealand spokesman Daniel Ellis quieted the opposition, saying the company had little alternative to the move. "We didn't have the equipment in Dunedin any more, it was either a case of not selling them in New Zealand or importing them from the UK," he said.

Stop the American imports

The catch phrases "Aztec corn chips, made the natural way" and "Only CC's are tasting like these" wormed their way into the minds of New Zealanders everywhere in the 90s. That didn't stop Bluebird Foods cutting the iconic Kiwi brands after blind taste tests came out in favour of American brand Doritos in March 2010.

New Zealanders immediately began stockpiling the chips and multiple Facbook pages aimed at saving them sprung up. One long-time Bluebird customer said the cuts could lead inexorably to the destruction of all iconic Kiwi foods. "If nobody speaks up now, what will we do when Marmite, pavlova or Watties' sauces are replaced with their American alternatives", the angry, unnamed customer asked.

When asked if the company had anything to say to those angry at the discontinuation of the chips, a Bluebird spokesman said: "Not on the record, no."

Bring back Georgie Pie

Finally the big one. Georgie Pie, home of the $1 pie and host to countless Kiwi kids' birthday parties, was shut down in 1999 by its new multi-national corporate owners McDonald's. The decision was met with an avalanche of anger and opposition. A Bring Back Georgie Pie Facebook page gained more than 50,000 members. A film by Gareth Thorne and Drew Chappell titled "Bring Back The George" chronicled the company's demise and showed celebrities from Buck Shelford to Gary McCormack calling for its return. Waves of Georgie Pie nostalgia have periodically swept New Zealand, with years-old Georgie Pie pies sometimes selling on TradeMe and an old company ad inexplicably gaining nearly 80,000 views on YouTube.

Despite that, McDonald's has stood firm in its decision to scrap the Georgie Pie brand for more than a decade. Lately however, it has been making noises about possibly bringing back the pie brand.

NZ managing director Patrick Wilson is speaking about integrating Georgie Pie into the business - though he is wary of "bastardising" one of the nation's best-loved brands. Watch this space.

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