/ Food & Drink

Chocolate tops our treat-o-meter

Yumm, it’s time to indulge in some sweet stuff and celebrate National Chocolate Week. After all, latest figures show that chocolate sales are on the rise – and in most of our shopping trolleys.

Do we really need a whole week dedicated to chocolate? Some might argue that it has no place on our nation’s calendar, but I beg to differ.

Here at Which? HQ we’ve been celebrating with chocolate biscuits and cake baking. Ok, it may seem trivial, but there’s something about a humble choccie biscuit or box of Celebrations that can lift the whole mood of an office.

Researchers at Mintel marked this week with some research into the nation’s relationship with chocolate, and I’m pleased to say I’m not alone in my love affair.

In the past couple of years of economic gloom, chocolate lovers have remained loyal and sales are soaring. UK sales increased by 9.2% between 2007 and 2009 to reach an estimated £3.6bn, and nine in ten of us say we ‘regularly’ eat it.

Go on, treat yourself…

It seems chocolate is the one thing we don’t want to ditch from our shopping list, so what’s driving our desire? The report suggests it’s down to a ‘treating’ culture with 49% saying that they use chocolate to treat themselves.

Yep, I can tick that box, too. I know, healthy eating comes first, but that’s exactly the appeal of chocolate – it’s best enjoyed when we have it as a treat.

We’re pretty responsible when it comes to our treats too – 36% look for fair trade labels when we’re choosing our choccie. That’s a pretty impressive stat given that many people are cutting back on ethical shopping to save money.

It also tallies with a separate poll asking people to name the coolest food brand. Ethical chocolate brand Green & Blacks came out top, beating big names like Jack Daniel’s and Aston Martin.

So there you have it, chocolate is the nation’s main treat of choice – but does it have a place in your heart?

Sophie Gilbert says:
14 October 2010

I could gobble 200g of milk chocolate right now if I let myself! I don’t have a sweet tooth, but for some reason (no doubt explainable scientifically) I find it really difficult to resist milk chocolate.

I also appreciate dark chocolate and my husband and I have fun ordering different types of dark chocolate on the internet and then try 2 or 3 in succession to see the difference in texture, colour, smell, taste. We also bring some to work to share with others and they do the same. My husband even organised a chocolate tasting competition at work once where you had to guess the cocoa percentage! I don’t have to tell you it was a popular event… and that the prize was chocolate.

Whether we need a week dedicated to chocolate is another story. Does anything need a week dedicated to it? What does it achieve? Is there really any more awareness raised, more chocolate sold, and so on?