Cadbury confirms a shortage of 99 Flakes for ice creams after increase in demand this spring
The wet weather is doing nothing to dampen the appetites of ice cream fans, with Cadbury's Flakes for 99 cones now in short supply.
Despite the country heading for one of the wettest Mays on record, Cadbury has confirmed it is working to resolve a shortage of the crumbly chocolate sticks, which are pushed into the top of one of the nation's most popular and iconic summer treats.
The ice cream topper, which is half the size of a wrapped Cadbury Flake bar, is the perfect accompaniment to a serving of soft scoop Mr Whippy-style ice cream and is essential to the look and taste of a traditional 99.
But alongside everything else the pandemic has thrown at us, shops and ice creams vans are now said to be struggling to get hold of 99 Flakes in adequate numbers after an unexpected spring surge.
The increase in demand is thought to have partly been generated by more and more people spending time outside in parks and at the coast during the last few months of lockdown and since restrictions were eased enabling larger numbers of friends and family to meet outside.
Mondelēz, which now owns Cadbury, said it was aware of the supply and demand issue and was working hard to resolve the problem and increase stocks but didn't confirm how long this might take.
A spokesman for the company, which also owns Bassett’s and Oreo, said the increase was something it hadn't anticipated.
She said: "We are seeing a recent increase in demand for our Cadbury 99 Flake in the UK and Ireland that we had not expected. The product is still available to order and we're continuing to work closely with our customers."
Social media has been awash with people suggesting an alternative topping for 99s. Twitter and Facebook posts - which also questioning whether society hasn't 'suffered enough' during the last 15 months of the pandemic without adding to it a summer shortage of Flakes - suggest cutting in half a Cadbury Twirl, using a Galaxy Ripple bar or as one Tweet suggested 'Just stick a Freddo in it instead and call it a day'.
The origin of the name 99 is also prompting a similar level of debate.
Many believe the treat first took its name because it used to cost 99p from ice cream vendors. But Cadbury says the exact origins of the 99 have been somewhat lost over time.
It points to a reference connected to the Italian monarchy, where native Italian ice cream sellers named the ice cream style after a guard of 99 men that would protect royalty and subsequently anything decadent was nicknamed 'a 99'.
Other theories involve a suggestion that it dates back to Scotland in 1922 when an ice cream shop opened at 99 Portobello High Street and the cone took its name from the shop's address. While others believe the name honours Italian First World War conscripts, born in 1899, who had long feathers in their hats which resembled chocolate flakes.