Bertie Beetle

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A Bertie Beetle is an Australian chocolate bar manufactured by Nestlé. It consists of chocolate shaped like an anthropomorphised beetle with small pieces of honeycomb throughout. It was created as a way to use up pieces of coconut, and honeycomb left over from the production of Violet Crumble bars .[1]

First production[edit]

The Bertie Beetle was first produced in 1963 by Hoadley's Chocolates who were later taken over by the Rowntree Company and became Rowntree Hoadley Ltd.,[2] when it was launched by VFL footballer Ron Barassi,[3] and was sold in shops until 1970, when manufacturer Nestlé entered an exclusive agreement with 'Showbag Marketing' to only sell the chocolate at shows and exhibitions in showbags.[4]

Showbag-only era[edit]

A Bertie Beetle Showbag.

Bertie Beetles are most well known for their inclusion in the reliably cheap Bertie Beetle showbag, available around Australia at various Shows. The 'Bertie Beetle Showbag' is one of the most popular showbags ever made.[5] When the bag was withdrawn from sale at Royal Shows, Nestlé bowed to the resultant community pressure and recommenced sale of the bag.[6]

The bag traditionally cost $2 and came with a few Bertie Beetles and some * Allens lollipops. Until 12pm on the first day of a royal show there is often an early bird special with some Bertie Beetle bags discounted to $1.

The 'Bertie Beetle Bonanza' was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bertie Beetle in 2003, which came with many Bertie Beetles as well as some other products. In 2006, there were four variations in existence: a small red bag, a medium sized blue bag, a large gold bag and the '1-2-3' bag, which contains the three bags as well as some extras. The price for the classic blue 'Bertie Beetle' showbag was increased in 2006 to $3. For the 2007 Royal Shows however, the price has returned to its traditional price of $2.

In the 2009 Royal Easter Show, there were a number of bags, including a Bertie Beetle Blue, Gold, Red and Green, along with a Bertie Beetle Bonanza Bag and a Bertie Beetle Black- Triple Deal.

Despite the reputation of the Beetle showbag for ubiquity, comedian Rove McManus famously failed to find one when he visited the Royal Adelaide Show in 2001.[7]

The product comes in the regular packaging as well as a red and white Christmas edition. The standard sizing for both versions is 10 grams. Bertie Beetles contain gelatine so are not suitable for vegetarians.[citation needed]

In 2013 a 50th Anniversary special edition of the Bertie Beetle showbag was made available, consisting of 50 Bertie Beetle chocolates and a mask.

Other varieties[edit]

No longer available is Lady Beetle, Bertie's white chocolate equivalent, which had its own, slightly more expensive showbag.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cockington, J. 'It's in the bag', The Age, 7 March 2006.
  2. ^ Violet Crumble, Violet Crumble manufacture.
  3. ^ Edmonds, M et al. 'Watch this space', The Herald Sun, 13 September 2005.
  4. ^ 'Mr Beetle brings smiles', Northern News, 7 August 2003.
  5. ^ 'Bertie Beetles a hit with nation's chocolate lovers', The Advertiser, 15 November 2006.
  6. ^ Dyer, B. 'The big loot is in the bag', Gold Coast Bulletin, 15 February 2003.
  7. ^ Smith, M. 'Remember when', The Advertiser, 6 September 2006.