Easter eggs were identified as one of the likely top food and drink exports by the government department UK Trade and Investment (UKTI). “International sales of chocolate eggs and fresh cut flowers are set to put a spring in the stop of UK businesses this Easter,” said the department.
While this year’s sales figures are unavailable, the department said 2013 first quarter sales (January to March) revealed the growing popularity of Easter egg exports. “Exports of chocolate products unfilled, which includes Easter eggs, increased by more than £5M (108%) in the run up to Easter,” said UKTI. “The top three countries to receive exports were Ireland, Australia and the United Arab Emirates.”
‘Increased by more than £5M’
Other top Easter items exported in the first quarter of last year were bread, pastry and cakes – valued at £90.1M – sweet biscuits, with a value of £63.7M and lamb at £47.2M.
Crispin Simon, UKTI chief executive, said: “The Made in Britain brand is sought after across the world. This year, like last, people will be marking Easter and the arrival of spring with Easter eggs, gardening equipment and flowers grown, made or designed by UK businesses.”
UKTI said it helped 31,880 businesses to export in 2012/13, resulting in extra sales of £50bn.
Meanwhile, at home Britons’ love affair with chocolate shows no sign of slowing down, according to new research from Mintel. Nearly one-in-six Britons – or about 8M people – eat chocolate every day, while a similar proportion (17%) enjoyed the sweet four to six times a week. Only 5% claim to never eat chocolate.
The nation’s favourite
Plain milk remains the nation’s favourite block chocolate, eaten by 73% of UK chocolate eaters. Filled chocolate – such as caramel – is enjoyed by about (49%), while flavoured – such as orange-flavoured or nuts or raisins is eaten by 47%. Women were more likely to prefer flavoured block chocolate, while men were more likely to have eaten plain while block chocolate.
Dark chocolate is a niche choice, eaten by about 37% chocolate users, with plain white enjoyed by 30%.
Daily chocolate consumption seemed to be particularly popular among young consumers. Nearly a quarter (22%) of those aged 25–34 ate chocolate daily, compared with 16% on average.
Mintel’s research also revealed a 120% growth in the number of new chocolate products launched carrying an ethical claim – such as Fairtrade certification – between 2012 and 2013. The share of new products carrying ethical claims soared to 17% of total launches last year from just 4% in 2010.
Richard Ford, Mintel’s senior food and drink analyst, said 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.”