16 Nov
What Really Happened to Cadbury's Aztec?

Cadbury's Aztec, a chocolate bar that debuted in 1967, featured a delectable combination of nougat and caramel enveloped in milk chocolate, presented in a deep purple wrapper with a distinctive Mesoamerican logo. 

Anyone who lived through the 1960s and 70s will certainly remember when it graced the shelves of sweet shops and supermarkets across the UK. But whatever happened to it?

Crafted as Cadbury's response to the Mars Bar, Aztec aimed to capture the sweet tooth of chocolate enthusiasts. However, despite its initial foray into the chocolate market, the Aztec was eventually discontinued in 1978, after nine years of production.

The reason for Aztec being discontinued was a slump in sales. It simply couldn't compete with its main rival, the Mars bar, which already held a dominant position in the marketplace. Cadbury's even attempted to gain sales by setting the Recommended Retail Price (RRP) at half a penny lower than Mars, but to no avail.

Cadbury's Aztec chocolate bar wrapper from the 1970s. Purple with white and gold text logo.

Revival

In the year 2000, Cadbury launched its Aztec 2000 Limited Edition chocolate bar, which was based on the original recipe. This resurrection was designed to be short-lived, leading to the discontinuation of the Aztec once again. 

In contrast, the Moro, another Cadbury creation introduced in the 1960s in New Zealand, emerged as a more triumphant rival to the Mars Bar, achieving lasting success in the chocolate market.

Why was it called Aztec?

The name pays homage to the Aztec empire of ancient Mesoamerica. According to Cadbury's 1967 TV advert shown on ITV in the United Kingdom; "In Mexico, the Aztecs discovered a rich, sweet delicacy. We know it as chocolate. Now Cadbury's commemorate its discoverers in the name of their new bar". 

However, the latest research suggests that the history of chocolate dates back to 4000 years ago in Latin America. It is now believed that it was the Olmec who first turned the cacao plant into chocolate. The Olmec predate the Aztecs by around 2000 years.

Nonetheless, it is well known that the Aztecs were chocolate lovers, although they preferred their chocolate served as a cold, frothy drink, albeit a pretty crude one! This indulgent beverage had diverse applications, serving as both an aphrodisiac and a post-banquet delight for men. Additionally, it found a place in the rations of Aztec soldiers.

In instances where sacrifice victims chose not to partake in ritual dancing before their impending demise, they were often presented with a serving of chocolate as a source of solace and comfort.

Wrapper designs

The wrapper of the standard size Aztec featured a simple design, being all purple with a distinguished white logo with gold surround.

Confusingly, another king-sized chocolate bar by Cadbury called Aztec with Dairy Milk chocolate and a dark chocolate centre featured a white and purple with gold-coloured text. The logo was red with a gold surround, and a photo of two chunks of Aztec chocolate featured on the front against a gold background featuring ancient Aztec art.

Quite why there are two very different chocolate bars bearing the same Aztec name is rather confusing, but I believe this second Aztec bar came out sometime around the late 1980s.

Cadbury Aztec first wrapper design, purple and white with gold text
Cadbury's Aztec chocolate bar in purple wrapper
Cadbury's Aztec 2000 Limited Edition wrapper

We hope you enjoyed reading our article about what really happened to Cadbury's Aztec chocolate bar. You may also like our post Cadbury's Chocolate Machine - can you still buy them?


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