Despite the recession sales of chocolate are booming in the UK with ethically traded and luxury brands soaring. According to a new poll commissioned for National Chocolate Week – celebrated from 11-17 October – UK sales of chocolate confectionary have increased by 9.2% over the last two years.
And although a world shortage of cocoa means prices are expected to rise, it appears Britons are not prepared to turn their back on sweet treats.
According to Mintel research commissioned for Chocolate Week, chocolate sales in the UK are expected to reach an estimated £3.6bn a year – with sales expected to grow to £4.1bn by 2015. Around the world new product launches have increased 16% year on year.
The research found 90% of Britons say they regularly eat chocolate and almost half – 49% – say they use it to give themselves a treat. More than nine out of ten women said they were regular chocolate eaters – but so did 87% of men.
The survey showed fashions are switching from milk chocolate to dark, with just 35% saying they preferred milk chocolate in 2009 – compared to 50% in 2008. More than a third of those questioned said they believed dark chocolate was healthier.
Ethical trade continues to be an issue for chocolate lovers – and 36% said they looked for Fairtrade brands. Around 25% of new chocolate products last year had an ethical selling point. Vivianne Ihekweazu, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: "Chocolate performed strongly during the downturn, with consumers turning to it as a low cost comfort food.
"And the good news for National Chocolate Week is that the chocolate confectionery market is continuing to see growth, as UK consumers remain a nation of chocolate lovers. But challenges for the market are on the horizon. Issues such as rising commodity prices and the VAT price rise in 2011 will increase cost across all confectionery products and inevitably pass these onto the consumer."
Source: The Scotsman
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