Back in 2014, the world was a very different place. But this isn’t one of those articles with a cunning political subtext. Nope, we’re here to talk about chocolate.

However, the news remains gloomy.

It was in December 2014 that I bought a collection of Celebrations chocolate tubs from some fine UK retailers. Batches were mixed, chocolates were emptied, and each tub was duly counted out. Four years on, I repeated the exercise. My dining room table was covered in Celebrations chocolates, as I analysed the contents of ten sample tubs. Then I did a statistical breakdown of what you’re getting for your cash.

If you’re in the mood for some humble festive nostalgia, consider this. In 2014, a standard Celebrations tub weighted in at 750g, included wrappers. For your money, you could expect:

- 15 Mars
- 12.3 Malteasers (sic)
- 12.2 Milky Way
- 12 Bounty
- 11.7 Snickers
- 7 Twix
- 6 Galaxy
- 6 Galaxy Caramel

A quick bit of maths later, and on average, you could expect to get 82.4 chocolates per individual tub.

It’s my sad duty to inform you that, just four years later, the world has dramatically changed.

Whilst the retail price of the average tub has remained constant, what you actually get for your money has diminished significantly. In fact – and how’s this for a headline finding? – you’re getting on average 9.775 fewer chocolates per tub. That’s a decrease of 11.9% in just a four year period. And we’re told that the era of austerity is coming to an end!

What’s more, the make-up of the contents has changed as well. Whilst we still get the core selection of eight different chocolates, it’s very much Galaxy and Galaxy Caramel that now pick up the slack. Conversely, there’s been a significant decrease in Mars rations. I can exclusively-ish reveal that the number of Mars Bars in a Celebrations tub has dropped by an enormous 52.5% in a four year period.

There are other key findings, too:
• 28% of a Celebrations tub is now made up of some flavour of Galaxy, up from just under 15% in 2014.

• The variance was more significant. The number of chocolates in one tub varied from 70 to 75. In each tub, only Malteasers and Snickers were present in the same number across each. We got ten and nine of those in each individual tub respectively.

• Outside of Galaxy variants, the only chocolate to register an increase in quantity was the Twix, up from 7 a tub to 8.5.

• You’re likely to get more Bounty bars than anything else, and the least common chocolate is now the Mars – four years after it topped the chart. It’s legitimately fallen from the top to the bottom in just four years.

• The fewest number of individual chocolates you could expect in any tub is 6, the most is 11.

Here, then, are the numbers. They make grim reading:

Simon Brew

It’s tough times out there this Christmas, folks. Look after each other, and try not to squabble over the reduced number of Mars Bars. The world has suffered enough.

Simon Brew was the founder of Den of Geek and previously served as UK editor for Mental Floss. You can follow him on Twitter.