Brits losing their minds due to Flake crisis

The UK has been through its fair share of crises over the past year. But just as Brits were emerging blinking into the tepid sunlight after an extended lockdown, another body blow has hit. And it could ruin summer.

Britain, and Ireland too, has run out of Cadbury Flakes. “Panic” – no really, “panic” – is setting in.

Not just any Flakes mind you. A very specific kind of Flake that is burned into the British summer psyche – the half size bars stuck into the whipped vanilla ice cream in cones known as “99” Flakes.

Indeed, the addition of a stumpy Flake is what elevates your standard ice cream cone to the dizzying heights of a “99”.

The chocolate shortage threatens to ruin sales from ice cream vans where many of the 99s are dispensed from.

There are worries the lack of the snack could reach a similar crisis level to New Zealand when Marmite vanished leading to the national disaster still referred to as “Marmageddon”.

But many have been puzzled to learn the quintessential British seaside treat is at least partly suffering shortages because of a lack of supply from not England or Ireland, but North Africa.

RELATED: Cadbury reveals century old confectionary treat Aussies have rediscovered

Flake fiasco leads to “panic”

Irish ice cream parlours have been vocal about the Flake fiasco.

Declan O’Conner, who sells ice creams from the Beach World shop in Tramore, Country Waterford, told the Irish Examiner he had been “tipped off” that 99 Flakes were vanishing in England.

“There was a big scramble to see if we could get as many as we could to try and keep us going until they’re available again.

“Potentially there isn’t going to be any 99s and a 99 is the Flake – other than that it’s just a plain old cone”.

Importer Andrew Hepburn of DG Foods said ice cream sellers were desperate to get their hands on their remaining Flakes.

“There is a panic, and people are buying more stock than they normally would – they want to make sure they’re the one that doesn’t run out of a Flake.”

Flakes coming all the way from Egypt

Cadbury’s owner, US firm Mondelez, told the BBC that a post-lockdown surge in ice cream sales had wiped out the supply of 99 Flakes.

“We are seeing a recent increase in demand for our Cadbury 99 Flake.

The product is still available to order and we’re continuing to work closely with our customers,” the company said in a statement.

However, the shortage has also highlighted the long distance Flakes have to travel these days.

Previously Flakes for Britain and Ireland were produced at a Cadbury factory in suburban Dublin.

However, now only a few Flakes come from Dublin with most produced far more than 99 kilometres away – in Egypt.

Despite the summer time heat in Cairo, where days of 30C plus are standard, Egypt is one of Cadbury’s most important markets where local can’t get enough of Dairy Milk bars and presumably Flakes.

Thankfully, Australia will not face this chocolate crisis. Cadbury has confirmed all our Flakes are produced within Australia.

Ice cream sellers are having to make do as best they can in difficult times. One person online suggested substituting a 99 Flake with a Kinder Bueno. Which might be delicious but is clearly sacrilegious.

Another answer was to simply get a normal Flake, break it in two and, hey presto, it’s a 99. But that depends on there being any Flakes to break in two. And they’re lacking too.

Luckily, someone very sensible intervened on social media to put the panic in perspective: “This time last year it was shortage of ventilators and PPE.”

Now it’s a stubby crumbly chocolate confection.

In 2011, jars of the yeast extract Marmite vanished from New Zealand supermarket shelves after an earthquake in Christchurch damaged the one factory it was produced in.

Marmite, which outsells Vegemite on the other side of the ditch, wouldn’t be produced again for two years. The disappearance became known as Marmageddon with Marmite hoarders selling their jars online for inflated prices.

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