Arnott’s Pizza Shapes backflip: why its strategy still makes no sense

Angus Kidman 8 September 2016


Original Pizza Shapes are returning, and the evidence suggests the new flavours are a flop.

When Arnott's decided to ditch many of its original Shapes biscuit flavours back in April in favour of "improved" new versions, there was a huge outcry from consumers. I pointed out at the time that savoury biscuit sales overall were in decline and that it wasn't the first time a Shapes flavour had been dumped, but no amount of data could persuade many Arnott's loyalists that this was anything other than a stupid move.

Now Arnott's appears to be backpedalling. The company announced today that it will be reintroducing the original Pizza Shapes recipe, giving consumers the choice of buying either the "improved" new version, or the original. Like Barbecue Shapes, the original will have a black stripe on the packaging to identify it. Arnott's will also be making original Barbecue and Pizza Shapes available in multipacks, which will be a blessed relief to parents packing lunchboxes anywhere.

Some of my colleagues think that the whole "Shapes controversy" was a deliberate marketing ploy, and that Arnott's always intended to reintroduce the original flavours. I'm not sure that all the negative publicity would have been worth it in that case, but it is very clear that Australians prefer original Shapes to the newer flavours.

According to Arnott's, the most popular Shapes flavours are Barbecue, Chicken Crimpy and Pizza. Barbecue is available in both original and improved editions, and Chicken Crimpy wasn't changed. If improved Pizza was selling in decent numbers, I really doubt we'd be seeing this switch.

Original Pizza Shapes will go back on sale "in the coming weeks", Arnott's said. As any dedicated Shapes lover knows, it's always a lottery when you hit the supermarket to see which flavours are in stock. If you do spot the originals, I'd buy up big when you get the chance.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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