Iconic Dad's chocolate chip cookies discontinued, customers bitter
Fans of the cookie search in vain as brand owner insists they're still available
For months, some Canadians have been searching in vain for their beloved Dad's chocolate chip cookies.
A current Facebook thread on the topic is full of tales about quests for the item.
"So annoyed, I've looked everywhere for these as they are my absolute favourite," wrote Karen Strom from Edmonton.
"This is so upsetting," posted Sara Ortega from Vancouver. "Can't find them nowhere as well … anyone been lucky?"
Despite coming up short, people persevered because the company that owns Dad's brand kept insisting that its elusive chocolate chip cookies were still available.
Turns out, that was a mistake.
U.S.-based Mondelez International told CBC News that it stopped making Dad's chocolate chip cookies late last year and that the product dwindled from store shelves over the following few months.
Other varieties, including the oatmeal chocolate chip version, are still available in Canada — the only country where the Dad's brand is sold.
Mondelez says it dropped the plain chocolate chip cookie due to poor sales.
"Nobody wants to see a brand go, but sometimes we have to make decisions," says Stephanie Cass, corporate affairs spokesperson for Mondelez Canada.
It's not where you say it is
The news didn't go over well with Susan Armstrong from Langley, B.C. who was a huge fan of the Dad's chocolate chip version.
"I think it's the shortbreadish taste. They were a good tasting cookie."
Following her own unsuccessful quest for the cookie, Armstrong contacted Mondelez earlier this week on Facebook, looking for answers.
On Tuesday, the company messaged her back, insisting the cookies were still available and even offered her a list of stores in her area carrying the product.
Armstrong had just searched one of the stores — Save on Foods — to no avail. So she called the supermarket's head office and discovered that Mondelez had discontinued the cookie.
"I was so angry with them," says Armstrong. "Why wouldn't you just say to the consumer, right off the bat, 'This particular brand of cookie, we're not selling anymore,' instead of prolonging this nonsense about, 'OK, well, you can get the cookie but you just can't find it.'"
Other customers have also expressed frustration with similar messaging from Mondelez which told people the cookies were still available and to use the company's online locator to find a store carrying them in their area.
"The product locator is not accurate," posted Ariana Boire on Facebook earlier this month. "It says the chocolate chip cookies are sold at Walmart and Save on Foods and I've been to both and neither sell it. Where are my favourite cookies!!"
Mondelez spokesperson Cass told CBC News that its customer relations team had mistakenly misled people because it didn't have full information about the discontinuation.
She offered an apology to customers for any inconvenience.
"Since this was brought to our attention, we have been working to get information updated as quickly as possible," said Cass.
The whole ordeal has left a bad taste in Armstrong's mouth. "That's a pretty lame excuse," she claims about customer service not knowing about the fate of Dad's chocolate chip cookies.
Dad's has deep roots
The Dad's brand dates back to 1929 when the Sturges family in Los Angeles came up with a winning formula for an oatmeal cookie. It took off in both Canada and the U.S.
The U.S. franchises eventually went out of business and, in 1972, the three Canadian franchises joined forces to create the Dad's Cookie Company.
It introduced the chocolate chip version in the early 1980s. In 1986, Dad's became part of U.S.-based Nabisco.
In 2012, Mondelez — one of the world's largest snacks companies — took control of the Dad's brand.
Cass says the company hopes that customers mourning the loss of their favourite Dad's cookie will check out the brand's other offerings.
"We're actually hoping that the diehard Dad's chocolate chip fans will try oatmeal chip and see if they can get their chocolate chip in a different way."
I only want chocolate chip
Armstrong says her heart remains with the plain chocolate chip version.
Sara Ortega agrees. She liked its homemade taste and how it softened when dipped in milk.
"I've had them since I was little, so I just really like them."
A couple of months ago, Ortega also launched a search for the cookie. It involved soliciting her dad and friends for help and even looking outside Vancouver.
"I had a craving for them one day and I went on this whole investigation thing," she says. "I'm like, 'Why aren't they there?'"
Of course, Ortega never found her cookies and, now that she knows they've been discontinued, she's trying to come to terms with it.
"I've just been living without it and trying to forget about it. But it keeps popping up."
Both Ortega and Armstrong say their last hope is to find the Dad's chocolate chip version in the United States.
But according to Mondelez, the cookie has never been sold in the U.S. and, of course, there's no hope now of it ever showing up there.