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The UK is the most loyal consumer of chocolate, but sales are dropping

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

Credit: Getty/Oliver Rossi
Credit: Getty/Oliver Rossi

Related tags Regulation reformulation Trends

As many as 95% of Brits eat chocolate, making them the most consistent consumer of this sweet treat, despite sales dipping in 2023, says Mintel.

Mintel research​ has revealed that the UK is the world’s most faithful chocolate consumer, with the US not far behind. Comparatively, the figures show that Germany and Canada eat much less.

Whilst still chocolate fans, Britain is seeing a slight decline in chocolate-snacking, with 2022 the beginning of a change in habits. Previously, four in five Brits ate it at least once a week, this has now shifted to once every fortnight or less regularly than previously.

One reason behind the fall in our sweet tooth might be a result of the HFSS restrictions which came into force in October 2022, making confectionery, including chocolate, less visible in store. Mintel cements this thought with data that shows that almost 7 in 10 British consumers report that they impulsively buy chocolate on promotion deals. In 2023, however, only a third of British consumers said that they bought chocolate for themselves because it was on special offer.

The BOGOF restrictions​ (which have been postponed until 2025) could therefore see Brits further turning their nose up at this firm favourite.

MixCollage-03-Jan-2024-05-11-PM-1382
The UK's frequency of eating chocolate between 2020 and 2023. Credit: Mintel

Commenting on the decline, Richard Caines, senior food & drink analyst at Mintel, said there is now “a need to make supermarket chocolate aisles more enticing, to increase both impulse buying and gifting sales".

American consumption of chocolate confectionery falls slightly behind that of British consumers, as 3% fewer Americans have purchased chocolate of any kind in the last three months. However, Mintel’s research shows that more than four out of five American consumers are eating the same amount or more chocolate than last year.

While a big nation of chocolate consumers, Germany is comparatively eating less, Mintel found. In 2023, the insights company reported that three-quarters of German consumers ate chocolate at least once a week.

More than half of German consumers agree that eating chocolate is an affordable way to improve their mood, and most appear to prefer chocolate blocks that can be eaten across multiple occasions. According to Mintel, this demonstrates that chocolate consumption is much more of a regular routine rather than an occasional, impulse buy.

In Canada, just one in five consumers are eating either more or less chocolate than last year, which Mintel says has caused overall chocolate consumption to balance out. While 9 in 10 Canadians eating chocolate regularly might seem like a large portion of the population, it is comparatively one of the world’s smaller chocolate consumers.

Overall, Mintel’s data found that in countries where chocolate is a daily indulgence for most, and equally in places where it’s enjoyed occasionally, the levels and frequency of consumption has remained steady.

This shows that there is a certain consistency in chocolate consumption, with countries unlikely to drastically change in their habits. Even in cases where some individuals may consume more or less chocolate than in previous years, the changes are balanced on both sides.

Related topics Retail & Shopper Insights Chocolate

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