Britain is still a nation with a sweet tooth, with chocolate reigning supreme when compared to other European countries. According to a new report from market analysts Datamonitor, the popularity of chocolate and sweets continues unabated with chocolate the leading category in the UK confectionery market making up 30 per cent of the total European market in 2001.
Datamonitor reports that the Brits munched their way through 660.9 million kg of this cocoa temptation in 2001, a massive increase of 55 million kg on the levels consumed in 1996. In addition, the amount spent on chocolate has also increased, from £3.3 billion to £3.7 billion in 2001.
The UK also has the largest sugar confectionery market in Europe, consuming 23 per cent of the total European market value in 2001. Within this sector, gums and jellies form the most popular sweet with the rise of pick and mix shops in leisure complexes such as cinemas, bowling alleys and shopping centres contributing to this. Hard-boiled sweets are the second most popular sugar confectionery product purchased by consumers.
Gum's on the up as well with ever increasing amounts of gum chewed over the last few years. In 1996 the UK mouth masticated its way through 19.6 million kg, in 2001 this figure rose to 22.6 million kg. Health concerns contributed towards strong growth in the sugar free gum sector. This, claims Datamonitor, is mainly due to the promotion of chewing gum as part of the total dental care package. Innovative products such as tooth-whitening chewing gum and products that release menthol vapours have recently been released onto the market.
Moving onto bubble gum, this traditional children's favourite seems to be experiencing a slow decline. It makes up only 2 million kg of the total 19.6 million kg of gum sold in 2001 and is not predicted to experience any increase in the amount sold over the next five years.
Lawrence Gould, Datamonitor consumer markets analyst, said: "Bubble gum has been largely relegated to the novelty products niche. Temporary surges in sales can be attributed to marketing agreements on the back of children's crazes such as the recent Pokémon phenomenon, but these are short-lived.
In the longer term, no significant growth can be expected from this segment."
Recent, and increasing, fanaticism over energy and sport drinks in clearly evident in the UK with the Brits one of the biggest European fans, on a par with the Germans. The UK energy and sports drinks market reached a value of €1.1 billion in 2001 making it one of the largest energy and sports drink markets in Europe.
The UK market reached a value of £770 million in 2001, growing at a strong compound annual growth rate of over 42.4 per cent between 1996-2001. This is by far the highest growth rate in the UK soft drinks market with over one quarter of these drinks are sold on-trade pubs and bars. In 2001 consumers in the UK spent an average of £12.60 per head on 9.7 litres of sports and energy drinks.