Easter eggs get smaller (but don't worry, it's only the boxes)

Children will wake up to smaller Easter eggs tomorrow – because chocolate makers have shrunk the packaging on millions of boxes by half.

Responding to complaints that excessive packaging was creating waste and misleading consumers about the amount of chocolate they were getting, confectioners have been steadily cutting paper and plastic wrapping over the past five years.

Cadbury has ditched plastic wrapping and shrunk boxes, slashing packaging by 16 per cent on large eggs and 13 per cent on medium ones this year. Swiss manufacturer Nestlé has knocked 12 per cent off packaging on medium eggs this year and its wrappings are now 100 per cent recyclable. Mars has removed most plastic inserts.

Overall, chocolate makers say the changes have cut the volume of packaging by half, saving thousands of tons of materials and thousands of lorry journeys.

Cadbury, now owned by Kraft, said: "We have almost halved the weight of our primary and secondary packaging in the past five years, which has not only saved more than 2,000 tons [of materials] but also reduced the number of HGV journeys by around 2,500."

Nestlé said this year's cuts – which have helped slash the weight of its packaging by 30 to 50 per cent since 2006 – had saved 100 tons of card.

Despite these reductions, campaigners say manufacturers must do more to ensure that the 80 million Easter eggs eaten each year are greener. Refuse collectors are expected to collect around 4,500 tons of Easter egg packaging this year, with many materials still not recyclable, according to the Local Government Association.

LGA environment spokesman Clyde Loakes said: "Retailers and manufacturers have listened to the concerns of the public and reduced the amount of unnecessary packaging on Easter eggs.

"However, over the next fortnight the UK's 29,000 refuse collectors will each be hefting an estimated 145kgs of Easter egg packaging into dustcarts, so there is definitely still more to be done."

An annual survey of packaging showed that eggs from Belgian chocolatier Guylian and Swiss manufacturer Lindt were one-third packaging.

Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson checked the volume and weight of packaging and chocolate on 13 eggs. Overall, Sainsbury's £2 egg came out best, with its egg accounting for 60 per cent of the product's volume. At the opposite end of the scale, Guylian's £5.99 product was, by volume, only 9 per cent chocolate egg.

Findings from the survey support the manufacturers' claims that they have all substantially reduced packaging by weight over the past four years.

Since 2008, the weight of Nestlé's egg packaging has halved from 43 to 21 per cent of the total product. Mars has slimmed down from 27 to 15 per cent and Cadbury from 23 to 17 per cent.

Ms Swinson, who backed The Independent's campaign against excessive packaging in 2007, said: "The overall trend is encouraging, with Mars and Cadbury taking steps to reduce the size of their boxes and Guylian introducing a more streamlined box to replace the product in this study."

She added, though, that manufacturers needed to make more packaging recyclable. She said: "Today's Easter egg packaging contains more guidance on recycling and environmental information than in 2007 and companies are working towards ensuring that all materials are recyclable.

"Despite this, Nestlé's packaging remains the only product surveyed where materials are 100 per cent 'widely recycled' and six of the 10 products surveyed, both this year and in 2010, continue to use materials which have to be disposed of in landfill."

Who has the greenest Easter Eggs?


Cost: £2

Weight: 134g

60% Chocolate by volume

Green & Black's

Cost: £5.59

Weight: 229g

41% Chocolate by volume


Cost: £1

Weight: 194g

39% Chocolate by volume

Marks & Spencer

Cost: £5.99

Weight: 248g

34% Chocolate by volume

and the least green


Cost: £5.99

Weight: 417g

9% Chocolate by volume

i100'Geography can be tough'
newsVideo targets undecided voters
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
    Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

    From strung out to playing strings

    Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
    The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    A big fat surprise about nutrition?

    The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
    Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

    Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

    The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
    On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

    On the road to nowhere

    A Routemaster trip to remember
    Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

    Hotel India

    Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
    10 best pencil cases

    Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

    Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
    Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

    Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

    Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
    Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

    Pete Jenson: A Different League

    Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
    This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

    The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

    Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Britain’s superstar ballerina

    Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    Berlin's Furrie invasion

    2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    ‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

    Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis