Everyday Meals

Quality Street worker shares how they pick which chocolates to axe

Nestle employee shares how to make Quality Street sweets

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Many households up and down the country will be tucking into Quality Street tubs during the Christmas holidays.

The iconic Nestlé sweets, which date back to 1936, are a festive staple.

The tins and tubs are made up of 11 different sweets, which fall into three different categories: toffees, chocolates, and creams.

Quality Street’s current mix features the four “core” sweets, which are the Purple One, the Green Triangle, the Caramel Swirl, and the Toffee Finger, but there is also an Orange Crunch, Strawberry Delight, Orange Creme, Fudge, Milk Chocolate Block, Toffee Penny, and Coconut Eclair.

Over the years, sweets have come and gone, but how do they decide which ones to axe? The Mirror spoke to a Nestlé employee to find out.

Emily Grimbley has been working on the Quality Street brand team at Nestlé in York since 2020 and is currently a brand manager.

She explained that deciding what goes into the Quality Street mix all comes down to one simple thing: the consumers and what we make clear to Nestlé that we want.

She said: “So we do a lot of research and speak to a lot of consumers, but everyone’s got different favourites and a different opinion, so we’re trying to please everyone.

“We categorise it into toffees, creams and chocolate sweets and try and do a fair mix of them so that there’s something for everyone in there.

“We’ve also got our sweets that have been in there from the start – the Purple One, the Green Triangle, Caramel Swirl and Toffee Finger.

“They are the iconic sweets that have to stay within the brand as they have that heritage and then the others fall in the bucket to create a perfect mix.

“Although there’s a lot of debate on what the perfect mix is…”

When it comes to deciding which sweets get taken out of the box, the company tries to avoid axing products as much as possible as it causes “outrage”.

Emily says: “People love Quality Street and they don’t like us to mess with it too much so we know that all of the sweets in there are really loved by our consumers and they’re really passionate about them, so I don’t feel like there’s too much need to mix it up.

“We don’t axe sweets from the tubs very often because it causes outrage, but when we do, it all comes down to consumer research, speaking to customers and then trying to see whether we can optimise the mix to give people a better experience.

“So one of the big ones we took out was the Toffee Deluxe, as we know that consumers really like chocolate sweets, so then we only had two toffee ones in the tub and more chocolate.

“It’s just trying to get that balance right.”

The Toffee Deluxe was first axed in 2016 but was resurrected after people petitioned to bring it back.

It then got the boot again in 2019, leaving the tins for good.

Despite this, Emily says it is important that the remaining toffee sweets are “well represented” in the tubs, as Quality Street is known for its toffees as that is one of the products that helped launch the brand.

She continues to say there is an “average” amount of sweets in each tub, but not a set amount of each individual sweet.

For those that want new flavours added to the mix, Nestlé has been offering different flavours in John Lewis via their Pick & Mix stalls where shoppers can personalise their own tubs.

But it turns out it is not so easy to whip up a new Quality Street sweet, with Emily sharing how the team works on new flavours for between three and five years before they hit the shops, as they have to go through numerous rounds of research and testing before they are released.

As part of this Emily and other members of the team will work with Nestlé’s Lead Confectioner, Vikki Geall, in the chocolate kitchen onsite to brainstorm flavour ideas and conduct consumer research before they narrow down the potential options and Vikki gets started making prototypes.

Emily added: “We’ve done limited edition sweets in the past.

“We work a few years ahead so if we’re going to introduce a new flavour, it will be planned three to five years in advance.

“We have John Lewis [where] people can personalise their sweet mix and that’s where we introduce new sweets for customers to try, while we keep the favourites elsewhere.”

Last year Quality Street fans were able to get their hands on the first-ever white chocolate sweet, the Creme Caramel Crisp chocolate, which had a white chocolate tip.

This was available exclusively in John Lewis stores and Emily claims consumers “went nuts” over the white chocolate sweet.

And for this Christmas, the confectioners are bringing back a beloved Quality Street flavour that was axed in 2018 – the Honeycomb Crunch.

The sweet is not being sold in tubs but can be found at John Lewis Quality Street Pick & Mix stands.

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