Figures published by research group Mintel show that 17% of UK consumers eat chocolate four to six times a week, with only 5% saying they never eat the sweet stuff. Almost a quarter of consumers aged 25-34 eat chocolate daily.
Plain milk chocolate is the nation’s favourite block chocolate, eaten by three quarters (73%) of chocolate eaters in the UK. Filled chocolate, for example including caramel, is also popular, eaten by around half (49%) of users.
Dark chocolate remains a relatively niche choice, according to Mintel, eaten by fewer than two in five (37%), as is plain white with 30%. Flavours like orange, ginger or containing nuts or raisins, are consumed by 47%.
In terms of overall frequency of chocolate consumption, there is little difference between men and women (16% of men vs 15% of women). However, when it comes to block chocolate, preferences are clearly different. Women are more likely (50% of women vs 44% of men) to have eaten flavoured block chocolate, while men are more likely to have eaten plain white block chocolate (32% of men vs 27% of women).
The group has also revealed that Londoners are significantly more likely to consume chocolate every day, with up to 26% of consumers living in the city doing so. This is compared to 12% of those living in the south east and east Anglia, 16% in the south west and Wales, 15% in the east and west Midlands, 15% in the north west, 11% in Yorkshire and the Humberside and 17% in the north and Scotland.
Richard Ford, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said: “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. That’s no less so today - demonstrated by the fact that just a small minority of Brits say they never eat chocolate.
“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.”
Furthermore, research from Mintel shows a 120% 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 grew to 17% in 2013 from just 4% in 2010.