Confectionery major Cadbury New Zealand has been slammed by parents, schools and health groups for the high caffeine content in its latest chocolate bar, the Viking.


The “chocolate bar with horns,” which was recently launched in Tasmania, contains the stimulant guarana but consumers are only warned in the small print that: “As guarana is a natural source of caffeine, this product is not recommended for children under 15 years, diabetics, pregnant women, nursing mothers or persons sensitive to caffeine. Should only be used under medical or dietetic supervision.” Many consumers have argued that the warning is in such fine print, that the majority of chocolate lovers would not, or could not, actually read it.


Richard Pickup, president of the Tasmanian Council of State School Parents and Friends Associations, expressed surprise that the product made it onto the market. He told state newspaper The Mercury: “Parents should be wary because it is really a drug, not a food, and I wonder why they sell it.” The bar has been banned in the school canteens of many Tasmanian schools, and Eric Johnson, State Food Officer, was quoted in The Mercury as warning consumers “to be mindful of the side-effects [of guarana] which can include headaches, restless sleep and diarrhoea.”


The Diabetes Tasmania association was similarly shocked by the Viking. President of the group Guy Barnett told The Mercury: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted that this bar is being sold […] to unsuspecting children and diabetics.


“We are extremely concerned and surprised about this new chocolate bar and will pursue the matter.”