UK hit by Cadbury 99 Flake shortage

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99 Flake in ice creamImage source, Getty Images

The UK is facing a shortage of Cadbury 99 Flakes after a surge in demand for soft-serve ice creams topped with the crumbly chocolate treat.

The ice cream toppers are half the size of the Flakes sold at newsagents and petrol station counters.

"We are seeing a recent increase in demand for our Cadbury 99 Flake in the UK and Ireland that we had not expected," Cadbury owner Mondelez said.

The news has caused alarm on Twitter with some proposing contingency plans.

Many have suggested alternative chocolate toppings that could be used to substitute the 99 Flake during the shortage.

Only the UK and Ireland are thought to have been affected.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Mondelez did not say how long it expected the shortage to last. However in a statement, the company said: "The product is still available to order and we're continuing to work closely with our customers."

The majority of the 99 Flakes sold in the UK are made in a factory in Egypt, with some also arriving from a facility in Coolock in Ireland.

Why is a 99 ice cream called a 99?

The term 99 Flake is often thought to indicate the price of the ice cream it accompanies but Cadbury says: "The real reason for "99" Flake being so called has been lost in the mists of time."

But it points to one explanation suggesting the name takes its inspiration from the former Italian monarchy after a Cadbury sales manager witnessed ice cream makers - who were originally from Italy, but working in County Durham - cutting flakes in half and adding them to cones.

"In the days of the monarchy in Italy, the King has a specially chosen guard consisting of 99 men, and subsequently anything really special or first-class was known as '99' - and that is how '99' Flake came by its name," Cadbury said.