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Area Ice Cream Man Snaps Regular Flake in Half to Solve U.K. 99 Shortage

“I just looked at that one gossamer rod of chocolate layers and thought — ‘why not two?’”

The Duchess Of Cornwall Visits The Hampton Court Flower Show
Not an area ice cream man
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

A noble, enterprising, and definitely real ice cream man has come up with a solution to the Great 99 Flake Shortage in England: buying a regular flake and snapping it in two. The anonymous Mr Whippy — who wished to remain so to avoid being barracked by Mondelez, Cadbury’s (and Flake’s) parent company — said that the idea came to him in a moment of frozen reverie. “I just looked at that one gossamer rod of chocolate layers — in my mind’s eye, of course, because as we know, there’s a shortage — and thought — ‘why not two?’”

Hastily purchasing a regular Flake, and breaking its chocolate spine, he found the truth to be self-evident: when in need of a Flake half the size of a regular one, take a regular one, and break it in two.

The simplicity and elegance of his solution will be cold comfort to those in his trade so reliant on warmer weather — and currently, so bereft. The shortage, which Mondelez says it had “not expected,” has taken less nifty soft servers by surprise, leaving them forced to choose from the “other chocolate bars are available” pool to top their 99s.

When asked why he wouldn’t want to suggest his keen solution to Cadbury, he was unequivocal: “I just think it would be deeply embarrassing for a multinational corporate worth billions of pounds to have not foreseen a shortage of a very popular seasonal product, not least when its supply is almost entirely reliant on one factory supply line, from Cairo, I believe? If I were them, and ice cream van drivers everywhere were simply going “what if a regular flake, but halved, to make a half-sized flake,” I don’t know what I’d do. It must be mortifying, really. I think it was Jay-Z that said, I’ve got 99 problems, but maintaining my 100 percent predictable seasonal product line ain’t one.”

Strong words, indeed. In the meantime, Londoners can take solace in the city’s outstanding ice cream options — with the knowledge that if caught short on the Flake front, it’s as simple as buying a regular one, and breaking it in two.