1924 Cherry Ripe Bar

The Cherry Ripe bar was introduced in 1924 by MacRobertson Chocolates (later to be taken over by Cadbury in 1967) and is uniquely Australian. It’s a chewy combination of cherries, coconut and dark chocolate and is Australia’s oldest chocolate bar. The packaging continued to carry the MacRobertson brand until 2002 when it was changed to display the Cadbury logo.

The name was probably suggested by the title of a traditional song.  The song, with words that date back to the 17th century,  was a recurring theme in John Buchan’s World War I spy novel Mr Standfast (1919). Or it may have been inspired by a movie. A British silent romance film called Cherry Ripe was released in 1921, based on an 1878 novel of the same title, written by Helen Mathers.

In 2013 Roy Morgan Research found the Cherry Ripe to be our most popular chocolate bar with 10% of Aussies indulging in one (up from 9% in the year to March 2009); ahead of Cadbury Dairy Milk 50g blocks (9%, up from 8%). While the Cherry Ripe bar was the most popular overall, chocolate eaters under the age of 25 tended to prefer Cadbury Boost bars (14%), and those aged between 25 and 34 preferred Mars Bars  (11%).

Commenting on the 2013 survey, Roy Morgan’s Industry Communications Director Norman Morris, said:

“Over the last five years, there has been a small decrease in the proportion of Australians consuming chocolate bars in any given four-week period. During this time, Cherry Ripe and Cadbury Dairy Milk 50g bars gained popularity while Mars and Kit Kat declined. It’s interesting to note how taste varies by age, with those aged over 35 showing a clear preference for Cherry Ripe, and those under 35 more likely to consume other chocolate bar brands.”

The bar’s status as Australia’s most popular didn’t last – maybe its most devoted fans are oldies who are…errm… no longer dropping by their local candy counter. By 2016, Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate Bar had taken first place followed by Kit Kat, with Cherry Ripe coming in third. Mars and Snickers completed the top five. Since then, surveys and straw polls have shown varying results. It seems that chocolate bars are a very personal thing and each brand has its staunch advocates.

Nonetheless, a chocolate bar that can remain in the top three…or five…or even ten after being on the market for 100 years certainly qualifies as an Australian icon, up there with Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly and the Lamington.

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