When word got out on social media that the irreplaceable mainstay of the Easter holiday, the Cadbury Crème Egg, was being fucked with, the virtual table-flipping and wall-punching could not be contained. British CCE fans are getting the shaft this year because six-packs are now five-packs at the same price, while furious Americans took to Twitter to go off over the chocolate egg shell recipe being altered. But it turns out Hershey's distributes the eggs stateside and America's batch isn't changing after all. Sorry, U.K.
Customers raging over unwanted changes (read: fuck-ups) of cherished products has caused trouble on more than one occasion; here's a list of Five WTF moments with a few of our beloved food products.
See also: Five More Insane (or Maybe Sane) New Food Products5) Where's the beef?
This "mostly-meat-but-other-stuff" scandal with Taco Bell is fairly recent, but any WTF moments had over it were nothing compared to how the Bell came out of it. In 2011 an Alabama law firm filed a lawsuit against Taco Bell for misleading customers about the seasoned beef used in its tacos, claiming trickery by the use of filler products like oats. Taco Bell ran a brilliant media strategy of defense and offense, sharing the beef recipe, using print ads and social media (the company gave away something like ten million coupons for free tacos: fucking genius) and basically told customers to relax, forget about the bullshit lawsuit, and eat more tacos. As it turned out, that's exactly what happened, because the Bell proclaiming its taco meat was eighty-eight percent beef and twelve percent other stuff was good enough for everyone to stop griping and keep eating.
I don't know what was funnier: the we-don't-give-a-shit attitude Taco Bell had about the whole scandal, or the we-give-even-less-of-a-shit response from customers.
4) Dasani bottled water taps out
By the early 2000s, mass-produced bottled water was becoming more of a household staple than a luxury, but some consumers still wanted to believe their bottles were filled every day from magical mountain waterfalls, and purified with glowing quartz crystals and fairy piss. These folks got a huge kick in the reality in 2004 when it was revealed that Coca-Cola's water brand Dasani consisted of municipal water, albeit purified and with minerals added. The outcry was swift and the disbelief palpable, but in this case, was it really that consumers were misled, or was it really that they chose to be self-deceiving hype-clingers? Either way, Dasani is still around with no ill-effects and customers are still buying plastic bottles filled with glorified tap water.
Brand equity, bitches.
3) Beech-Nut's apple juice -- minus the apples
In the 1980s, back before mainstream consumers were overly-concerned about things like GMOs, sourcing, organic ingredients and labeling issues, parents who bought Beech-Nut apple juice for their thirsty tots got gobsmacked with the revelation that the one-hundred percent apple juice they were dumping into sippy cups was in fact zero percent apple juice, but instead a mixture of sugars and water. Yummy. The FDA left Beech-Nut two million dollars poorer after a federal indictment; prosecutors asserted that the fakery was perpetrated because sugar water was cheaper to make than apple juice. Fake apple juice concentrate was paraded around, lying labels were used, and whatever cash the feds didn't get was probably used for the $7.5 million class action settlement for duped retailers and consumers.
Beech-Nut, no longer peddling snake oil, has changed hands a few times, stopped using refined sugar in its products, and is now focusing on natural baby foods (the apple and aronia berry dessert looks tasty).
For more WTF food moments, read on