Which? reveals why there always seems to be less of your favourite chocolates in a tub

According to a new Which? analysis, there really are fewer of your favourite chocolates – and more of the least popular ones – in tubs of your Christmas assortments.

A poll by Which? has ranked the chocolate flavours in tubs of Nestle’s Quality Street, Mars’ Celebrations, and Cadbury’s Heroes and Roses according to popularity, to determine what proportion of each should make up the perfect assortment.

The Which? ideal assortment was then compared with the actual contents of the tubs to work out which popular flavours were under-represented and which less-loved ones we get far too many of.

In a tub of Quality Street, the Purple One and the Green Triangle reign supreme as the favourite chocolates in the box – however, there are only five and six in a 720g tub, respectively.

So why are there fewer of the favourites? Nestle told Which? that while it does take consumer preferences into account, they balance out tubs of Quality Street by categorising their chocolates into three types, each of which make up one third of the total.

The types are: fruit cremes, chocolates and caramel/fudge. The formula explains the mystery of why there are relatively few Purple Ones in most boxes, as the flavour falls into a category with many caramel/fudge types: Caramel Swirl, Fudge, Toffee Penny, Coconut Eclair, Toffee Deluxe, Toffee Finger.

Conversely, there are lots of Strawberry Creams, as the fruit cream category comprises just two flavours (Strawberry Delight and Orange Creme).

However when we spoke to Mars and Cadbury’s, they told us they choose a random selection designed to be enjoyed by all.

In a box of Celebrations, fans of the Malteser Teasers – the most popular in the tub according to our poll – will be pleased to know that it is one of the most abundant chocolates, with an average of 10 in each tub. Perhaps surprisingly though, Bountys are the next most popular, and are the favourite Celebrations chocolate for nearly one in three (29%) people.

In a tub of Heroes, Wispas and Twirls were the most highly coveted, but had the fewest chocolates per box – 30 per cent and 29 per cent ranked them as their favourites, but there were only an average of 9 and 6 in a box, respectively.

Harry Rose, Editor of Which? Magazine, said:

“Our analysis shows that it’s not your family’s fault that your favourite flavours disappear from the tub so quickly: there really are too few Purple Ones to meet popular demand.

“Of course, if you’re a fan of Strawberry Delights, Eclairs or Milky Ways, this will be welcome news – you’re more likely to still be eating chocolates into the New Year than your Wispa-loving friends.”

Rights of Reply

A spokesperson for Nestle said:

“The Quality Street assortment is made of up of three different types of sweet; fruit cremes, chocolates and toffees & fudge. Each tub is broadly split into thirds along these lines which is why you will get more sweets like the Strawberry Delight which is one of only two fruit cremes and fewer of The Purple One or Green Triangle which are just two of the five, mainly chocolate based sweets.

“We do take the popularity of individual sweets into account and have increased the number of people’s favourites in this year’s assortment. Our research shows that the Caramel Swirl is the sweet with the broadest appeal but other studies point to The Purple One or the Strawberry Delight as being more popular. Part of the fun of Christmas is the family discussion about each of our favourites and who gets the last sweet.

“Other factors we have to consider during the process are keeping the weight, nutritional value and cost of each tub steady so that the on-pack labelling and RRP is accurate and consistent.

“This year we have partnered with John Lewis to bring Quality Street pick and mix to eleven stores around the country. Individual shoppers can choose their own mix with more of their favourites. We also have a Purely Purple One and Simply Strawberry Delights product with giant versions of each sweet filled with only that variety.”

A spokesperson for Cadbury said:

“The mix for our Roses and Heroes tubs are specifically hand-picked and we review the mix regularly to ensure we are giving our customers an assortment of the best chocolate that they love. However, there can be some minor deviations in the mix due to manufacturing processes. The tubs offer a wide variety of treats that suit all tastes and preferences and when deciding on the mix of our Roses and Heroes tubs, the most important factor is constantly listening to what our customers are asking for.”

A spokesperson for Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK said:

“Every year we enjoy seeing the debates rage about the nation’s favourite Celebrations® and the random mix does make it perfect for sharing! We’ve been doing some of our own polling to find out more about the UK’s favourite Celebrations®, so watch this space…”



Quality Street (720g):

Which?’s perfect assortment: More of the Purple One and fewer Strawberry Delights

Flavour % favourite Normal number Ideal number
Purple One 26 5 11
Green Triangle 22 6 10
Orange Creme (orange) 18 9 8
Fudge (pink) 18 6 8
Caramel Swirl (yellow foil) 15 6 6
Chocolate Toffee Finger (gold) 13 6 6
Strawberry Delight (red) 12 10 5
Milk Choc Block (green) 11 7 4
Toffee Deluxe (brown) 11 6 4
Coconut Eclair (blue) 10 6 4
Toffee Penny (gold and flat) 10 2 4
Orange Crunch (orange foil) 8 5 3


Cadbury’s Roses (660g):

Which? Perfect assortment: More Hazelnut in Caramel, fewer Caramel Bites

Flavour % favourite Normal number Ideal number
Hazel in Caramel 30 5 11
Dairy Milk Chunk 23 7 8
Hazel Whirl 19 6 7
Tangy Orange Creme 19 5 7
Caramel 17 7 6
Country Fudge 15 8 6
Golden Barrel 17 7 6
Coffee Escape 14 3 5
Strawberry Dream 11 5 4
Signature truffle 6 5 2
Caramel Bite 5 6 2


Celebrations (650g):

Which? perfect assortment: More Malteser Teasers, fewer Milky Ways

Flavour % favourite Normal number Ideal number
Malteser Teaser 34 10 13
Bounty 29 10 11
Snickers 27 9 11
Mars 22 7 8
Galaxy 20 10 8
Galaxy Caramel 20 10 8
Twix 20 8 8
Milky way 12 8 5


Cadbury’s Heroes (660g):

Which? perfect assortment: more Wispas, fewer Eclairs

Flavour % favourite Normal number Ideal number
Wispa 30 9 12
Twirl 29 6 12
Dairy Milk 28 11 11
Dairy Milk Caramel 28 10 11
Fudge 26 12 11
Creme egg 20 11 8
Eclair 12 12 5


Notes to Editors:

1) Methodology:

  • Which? surveyed 1,000 members in October 2018 and asked them to select their top three favourite Quality Street, Roses, Heroes and Celebrations chocolates.
  • We then counted how many of each chocolate type are in each tub and calculated the proportion of each per tub. Three tubs of each were counted to calculate the average number of each sweet in a box.
  • We used our favourites research insight to create a Which? perfect assortment to compare with the actual assortment.

2) For the full news story, visit: www.which.co.uk/christmaschocs

Press Release