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Toblerone’s Tussle With “Twin Peaks” Chocolate Comes to a Bittersweet End

The grocery chain Poundland is now able to sell its Toblerone copycat, but it had to change the packaging

(Ashley Pomeroy/Wikimedia Commons)
smithsonian.com

Back in June, the British grocery chain Poundland announced that it had created a long chocolate bar made up of several triangular peaks with slim gaps between them. The bar’s wrapper was gold with red lettering. If that sounds mighty similar to a Toblerone, the iconic Swiss chocolate treat—well, it is. And as Greg Morabito reports for Eater, Toblerone was not happy about the copycat, leading to a protracted legal battle that stalled the launch of Poundland’s chocolate bars until this week.

Twin Peaks, as Poundland called their version of the tasty snack, is in many ways similar to its Swiss predecessor. But there is a key difference: Twin Peaks’ chocolate triangles have two summits, in contrast to Toblerone’s one. Toblerone’s shape was reportedly inspired by the Matterhorn mountain in the Alps; Twin Peaks was modeled after the Ercall and the Wrekin, two hills on the English-Welsh border, according to Alan Cowell of the New York Times.

With Twin Peaks, Poundland was attempting to seize upon an opportunity created by Toblerone’s recent redesign. Last year, Mondelez International, which owns Toblerone, removed 10 percent of chocolate from candy bars sold in the UK, in an effort to cut costs. The reduction led to wider gaps between Toblerone’s triangular ridges and caused chocolate fans to go into meltdown. So Poundland created Twin Peaks, which offers “30g more chocolate” than the slimmed down Toblerone, a company press release duly notes.

“In the last 12 months we believe our customers alone have missed out on 250 tonnes of chocolate after the size of their favorite item was chopped,” Poundland trading controller Chris Burns said in the statement.

When Mondelez International took Poundland to court in an attempt to thwart the launch of Twin Peaks, the British retailer argued that the company had lost its claim to a valid trademark because Toblerones no longer retained their signature shape.

The companies wrangled over this chocolate conundrum for three months before reaching a compromise in October. Poundland, they agreed, would be able to sell the 500,000 Twin Peaks bars that were already in production, but it would have to change the background of the bars’ wrappers from gold to blue, and the lettering from red to gold.

“After this Poundland will revise the shape so it better represents the outline of the Wrekin and Ercall hills,” according to the company’s press release.

Twin Peaks bars went on sale at Poundland stores across the UK on December 4. One can only hope, for Poundland’s sake, that the creators of the 1990s mystery series Twin Peaks have not been feeling litigious of late.

About Brigit Katz

Brigit Katz is a freelance writer is based in Toronto. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including NYmag.com, Flavorwire and Tina Brown Media's Women in the World.

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