The UK Is Drowning in Fake Wonka Bars

The bootleg bars might be a golden ticket to the emergency room.

A special Wonka bar in 2011.
A special Wonka bar in 2011. / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

Big movies usually bring big merchandising opportunities. With the release of Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet coming December 15, fans might expect to see Wonka chocolate bars lining shelves. But in the UK, consumers may not be getting the real thing.

As The Guardian reports, the Food Standards Agency is warning consumers that phony Wonka bars are in circulation. These foil-wrapped chocolates are not officially licensed nor are they made by any known candy companies. Instead, the agency believes they might be the work of illicit chocolatiers who are repackaging existing chocolate. As a result, manufacturing and hygiene standards are not being followed.

Because the labels aren’t observing any guidelines, it’s also possible that the bars could contain unlisted allergens, putting consumers with food allergies at risk.

The counterfeit Wonka bars have been a problem in the UK for some time. Back in 2013, phony bars circulated with a promise of a “golden ticket” hidden inside select wrappers, though no such contest was taking place.

The FSA alerted consumers to the latest batch in May 2022. “The counterfeit bars may be unsafe to eat, as there is a possibility that they are being produced or repackaged by unregistered businesses and by individuals who could be contravening food hygiene, labelling, and traceability laws,” the agency said.

Spotting a fake Wonka is rather simple: No legitimate Wonka chocolate bars are currently in production. The FSA added that any official Wonka bar should carry the logo or trademark notice of Ferrero or Ferrera Candy Company, the rights holder to the Wonka name for candy. (It’s certainly possible, however, for a candy bootlegger to replicate that, too.)

The FSA also noted that some bars are carrying a Prime label, a line of popular energy drinks. Prime doesn’t make chocolate bars.

Wonka serves as a prequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the 1971 film starring Gene Wilder, which was based on the 1964 Roald Dahl book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl has said he was inspired to write the story of a maverick chocolate business on his experiences working as a teenaged taste tester for Cadbury.