Every year between January and Easter, the Cadbury Creme Egg is resurrected from its seasonal slumber to be enjoyed by those who look forward to unpeeling its iconic tin foil wrapper, cracking open its chocolate casing and ogling its sweet, gooey insides. But it turns out that there a lot more layers to the Cadbury Creme Egg—that cipher—than perhaps you knew. Like the story of Jesus, there is a fair share of controversy surrounding this seemingly innocuous candy, which is the subject of many a conspiracy theory.
For instance, a photo is now being circulated online showing a man brandishing Halal certification sheets and Cadbury Dairy Milk bars. Of course, that means there must be a Muslim conspiracy swirling, right? Not exactly. As Alex Swerdloff of Vice’s food site Munchies tells it in a handy primer, the photo dates back to 2014, when Cadbury was the subject of another unfounded rumor in Malaysia, as speculation spread that Cadbury’s products contained pig DNA, which would have violated Islamic dietary laws.
Nutty stuff. Most of the falsities revolving around the Cadbury Creme Egg have to do with the idea that the company is anti-Easter. Last year, for example, a slew of UK newspapers reported that Cadbury had removed the word “Easter” from all of its packaging, which wasn’t true.
What is it about the Cadbury Creme Egg that inspires such intrigue and speculation?
Last year, John Oliver, in his weekly HBO show Last Week Tonight, satirized the slew of conspiracy videos that circulate on YouTube with a look at—you guessed it—the Cadbury Creme Egg.
“Open your eyes!” Oliver said. “Open your eyes, America! The Cadbury Creme Egg is a terrible candy that tastes like mermaid placenta covered in candle wax. And yet, and yet, every year these eggs show up in January like newly signed gym memberships or movie theaters full of films that will never win Oscars.”
“But why?” Oliver asks. “But why does this happen? That’s the question, and the reason is simple if you just follow the money.”
Oliver takes us down a circuitous, free-associative rabbit hole that eventually links Cadbury to the Illuminati, because that’s where every conspiracy seems to end. His point, of course, is that conspiracy theories make no sense at all. But whether Cadbury Creme Eggs have the characteristics that inspire conspiracy theories or conspiracy theorists are predisposed to project their dark thoughts onto any random thing is a chicken-or-egg question that we may never able to answer.