Cadbury plans to look again at changes it made to its Dairy Milk chocolate recipe in New Zealand, after an outcry from consumers, led by social networking site Facebook.

The confectionery giant substituted the cocoa butter in the recipe with vegetable fats including palm oil.

Environmentalists argued that the use of palm oil contributes to the destruction of the rainforest in Malaysia and Indonesia while others said that the new recipe simply did not taste as good.

Cadbury said that it had received "hundreds of letters and emails" from consumers who disapproved of the new recipe.

In a statement, Cadbury said that it was "really sorry" and will revert to a cocoa butter only recipe in "a few weeks". 

"At the time, we genuinely believed we were making the right decision, for the right reasons. But we got it wrong. Now we're putting things right as soon as we possibly can, and hope Kiwis will forgive us," Cadbury New Zealand MD Matthew Oldham said.

"Cadbury Dairy Milk's quality is what's made it one of New Zealand's most trusted brands for many years. Changing the recipe put that trust at risk and I am really sorry," he added.

Cadbury said that the new recipe had been introduced after consumer feedback suggested a demand for softer chocolate. The company emphasised that it had also sourced palm oil sustainably.

The company introduced the new recipe at the same time as it reduced bar sizes and redesigned its Dairy Milk packaging. The company said that these changes would remain.

The wholesale price of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate will not be affected as a result of this decision, the company added.