UK a ‘nation of chocoholics’, Mintel finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 22nd April 2014
The UK is a 'nation of chocoholics', according to Mintel

Nearly one in six (16 per cent) UK consumers, or around eight million people, eat chocolate every day, and a similar number (17 per cent) do so four to six times a week, according to new findings from global market research organisation Mintel.

Mintel’s findings showed that only a tiny minority (5 per cent) of UK consumers said they never ate chocolate, meaning chocolate remains one of Britain’s favourite treats.

“From the Aztecs to Willie Wonka, in both fact and fiction, cocoa and chocolate have held a special place in people’s hearts throughout the centuries,” said Richard Ford, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. “That’s no less so today — demonstrated by the fact that just a small minority of Brits say they never eat chocolate,” he said.

“Its status as a personal treat remains an ingrained part of consumers’ diets, despite the recent focus on the role of foods high in fat and sugar in the nation’s weight gain,” Mr Ford said.

Chocolate preferences

Plain milk chocolate was the UK’s favourite block chocolate by far, and was eaten by three quarters (73 per cent) of chocolate eaters in the UK. Filled chocolate (for example, with caramel) was also very popular, and was eaten by around half (49 per cent) of chocolate eaters, while flavoured (for example, chocolate flavoured with orange, ginger, nuts or raisins) by 47 per cent.

Meanwhile, dark chocolate remained a relatively niche choice, eaten by fewer than two in five (37 per cent) chocolate consumers in the UK. Plain white chocolate was also a smaller segment, eaten by 30 per cent of UK consumers.

In terms of overall frequency of chocolate consumption, there was little difference between men and women (16 per cent of men compared to 15 per cent of women). However, when it came to block chocolate, preferences were clearly different. For example, women were more likely than men the have eaten flavoured block chocolate (50 per cent of women compared to 44 per cent of men), while men were more likely to have eaten plain white block chocolate (32 per cent of men compared to 27 per cent of women).

Younger consumers more likely to be daily consumers

A daily chocolate fix seemed to be particularly popular among young consumers aged between 25 and 34 years, with almost a quarter (22 per cent) of them eating chocolate daily, compared to the 16 per cent overall average.

Londoners eat more chocolate

Additionally, Mintel found that Londoners were significantly more likely to consume chocolate every day, with up to 26 per cent of consumers living in London doing so, compared with 12 per cent of those living in the South East and East Anglia, 16 per cent in the South West and Wales, 15 per cent in the East and West Midlands, 15 per cent in the North West, 11 per cent in Yorkshire and the Humberside, and 17 per cent in the North and in Scotland.

Ethical claims on the rise

It also seems that there is one more good reason for consumers to indulge in chocolate this year. Mintel found there had been 120 per cent growth in the number of new chocolate products launched carrying an ethical claim, such as Fairtrade certification, between 2012 and 2013.

Overall, out of all new chocolate products launched, the share of launches carrying ethical claims rocketed to 17 per cent in 2013 from just 4 per cent in 2010.

Chocolate as a gift

Meanwhile, among UK consumers buying chocolate as a gift, Mintel found that the recipient’s tastes and preferences guided the decisions of 54 per cent of consumers. However, figures differed between the sexes, with women (58 per cent) more likely to buy a brand keeping in mind the recipient’s tastes, compared to 49 per cent of men.