27 March 2019
If the box supersizing trend continues, we might as well start giving away empty gift boxes. Photo: Internet
If the box supersizing trend continues, we might as well start giving away empty gift boxes. Photo: Internet

Kung Hei Fat Choy: Here’s a big box with small chocolates inside

What do Toblerone, Sugus and Maltesers have in common?

These are favorite candy tray items during Lunar New Year. They are also very un-Hong Kong products.

In a city where space is a luxury, these imported chocolates and candies take up an inordinately big chunk of a gift box.

According to Ming Pao Daily, which has been researching the subject of space in the past three years, 75 per cent of a Toblerone gift box is air. In other words, the “occupancy” of a chocolate in the gift box is only 25 per cent.

In the same way, 70 per cent of Sugus and Maltesers gift boxes is air, the paper said. These two were my childhood favorites, but not anymore.

Chinese gift-giving can be described as “big is beautiful” but what you see is not always what you get.

The big box set worked magic in those days when corruption was common in our neighbors.

In those days, one could theoretically put a couple of new iPhone 6 Plus in a Maltesers box without raising suspicion but I wonder if the Chinese leadership would still prefer these graft-friendly box set.

You might say these candies are evil, so for health sake, small is more desirable, but I guess only if the price is reasonable.

It might interest you to know that Toblerone raised its retail price by an average of 4 per cent while Sugus (despite a nearly 20 per cent surge in the Swiss franc) costs 2 per cent more. Maltesers is 10 percent more expensive.

That would probably upset more people than anything in the financial secretary’s upcoming budget speech, including any surprises on public housing rental.

After all, Hong Kong functions on the rules of economics and finance.

Property developers know they can make more money by making residential units smaller, so do owners of subdivided flats who have found a way to make the best use of a 800 square foot unit in an old district.

But how can one explain that makers of chocolates, candies and cookies have a bigger profit margin than developers?

These gift sets are probably even worse than the fake universal suffrage package.

Imagine being a recipient of these boxes and you have no choice but to take them first.

The inflated box set certainly does not sit well with environmentalists who accuse their manufacturers of being heartless and lacking corporate social responsibility by enlarging the size of the boxes and falsely claiming top dollar for it.

These acts serve no purpose other than waste the earth’s declining resources and line the manufacturers’ pockets.

If this box supersizing trend continues, we might as well start circulating empty boxes during Lunar New Year.

Guess what? You get more 1,000 Indonesian rupiah (60 HK cents) red packets in return.

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EJ Insight writer

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