'Looks like I'm switching to Whittakers': Cadbury brand sours on social media

Just two days after Kiwis romantically shared chocolates for Valentine's Day, one brand appears to have lost its sweetness.

Politicians and social media pundits have begun laying the boot into Cadbury after its announced on Thursday it was closing its Dunedin chocolate factory at a cost of 350 jobs.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters called owner Mondelez International's move to shut the factory's doors after nearly 150 years in favour of manufacturing in Australia a kick in the teeth.

Winston Peters. Credit: Getty Images

"Some big corporates have no concern for people, history or what country they operate in - all they want is profit and Cadbury's closure is just another example of this," he said.

"Many New Zealanders will now feel more inclined to buy Whittaker's chocolate and other Kiwi produced chocolate knowing they are eating a product that is keeping New Zealanders in jobs."

Winston Peters Facebook post.

It was a sentiment picked up by The Hobbit and Spartacus actor Dallas Barnett on his Twitter account.

"looks like im going to have to switch to @WhittakersNZ for my holiday treats now that #Cadbury is closing the Dunedin factory," he tweeted.

"Sad about the #Cadbury chocolate factory closing in #Dunedin - it's such a drawcard and large employer," fellow Twitter user Dr Vic said.

However, Auckland University of Technology marketing expert Professor Roger Marshall said while Dunedin people would be heavily impacted, he doubted the blowback would greatly affect the giant chocolate maker's brand.

"Consumers have a pretty short memory on these things, and it won't be long before chocolate lovers don't really care very much," he said.

He said the decision to move manufacturing jobs out of New Zealand had become a common story.

"Cadbury's is a massive company and we are a very small market so in a commercial sense it is a bit of a no-brainer," he said

"Seventy per cent of the output from that factory was being exported and that costs money."