Where are all the chocolate bilbies this year?

By Australian Geographic 15 April 2019
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Cadbury will not be reintroducing its chocolate bilby, despite public outcry.

WONDERING WHERE all the chocolate bilbies are? In 2018, Cadbury made the decision to stop producing their Easter bilbies.

The Save the Bilby Fund, a charity launched in 1999 by legendary ‘Bilby brothers’ Frank Manthey and Peter McRae, argues that the decision significantly lowers the profile of bilbies at Easter time.

The Fund’s official chocolate Easter bilby, manufactured by Pink Lady (pictured above), is one of the most recognisable chocolate bilbies sold every Easter, with donations going towards conservation efforts for the endangered mammal.

However, stocks of the iconic bilby become more sparse year on year.

“Their distribution in the recent past was Target, Myer, David Jones and various speciality stores including IGA, but they have become rare or extinct in many locations,” the Fund wrote on its official Facebook page.

This year, the Fund is once again encouraging followers to report where they see the signature chocolate bilbies in stock to help others locate them.

Despite the fact that the Save the Bilby Fund has its own bilby chocolate, it lost an informal $10,000 contribution Cadbury made annually to the fund through its sales of chocolate bilbies.

In response to Cadbury’s decision to discontinue the bilby, last year the Fund started a petition, which garnered over 10,000 signatures, demanding that Cadbury and the supermarkets get chocolate bilbies back on shelves at Easter.

“We wanted to show Cadbury just how wrong it was in saying there is no demand for their chocolate bilbies. And boy, have we done that,” the Fund wrote on its official Facebook page.

“We believe that if Cadbury produce a sustainably manufactured chocolate bilby with a percentage of sales going to Save The Bilby Fund, we can preserve this species and save it from extinction.”

“Our wonderful partner, Pink Lady, already do this. But they are a small, Australian family-owned company. They do not have the heft, distribution networks and economies of scale that Cadbury do.”

Cadbury’s decision to discontinue their chocolate bilby means that major supermarkets Woolworths and Coles have no way to support or boost the native animal’s profile throughout the Easter period.

According to Kevin Bradley, the CEO of the Save the Bilby Fund, Pink Lady has recorded sale increases of 25 per cent year on year. The market for bilby chocolate is there, he said, but it’s up to Australians to demand the choice to buy bilbies over bunnies.

“It’s going to take millions of dollars to recover our native bilbies. We need to boost their profile as much as possible and make sure that the product is actually available.”

According to Cadbury, the decision was made to discontinue the chocolate bilby due to low demand.

“Given the number of chocolate bilby products already on the market and low demand from consumers for our Easter Bilby product, we had to make the decision a couple of years ago to no longer include it as part of the Easter range,” they said in a statement.

They added that they are now focussed on supporting the Good Friday Appeal and Stawell Gift.

To donate to the Save the Bilby Fund click here.