03 April 2017

How many kilos of chocolate do you eat a year?

Here's a news flash: Brits are in love with chocolate. They have been for over 300 years, ever since the first British chocolate factory opened in 1657. And today, the average Briton eats a whopping 9.5 kilograms of chocolate a year.

The love hits a high point at Easter. 10 per cent of our annual spending on chocolate happens in the Easter holiday period, with nearly 80 million chocolate eggs sold each year in the UK.

That puts us in fourth place in world league tables for per capita chocolate consumption, just behind Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.

The religious origins of the Easter festival seem to have got a bit lost. A survey last year found that 28 per cent of children aged 8-15 think the hare and the tortoise feature in the Easter story.

What came first? The Easter Egg

Today, Easter wouldn't be Easter for most Brits without an egg hunt for kids and a chocolate egg or two. But the tradition of decorated Easter eggs began in the Middle Ages.

In 1290, the household of King Edward I spent a grand total of 18 pennies on 450 colourful eggs adorned with gold leaf, designed to be Easter gifts.

Fast forward to 2007, when an Easter egg swathed in diamonds sold for just under £9 million.

The first chocolate Easter egg was produced in 1873. The most expensive one ever was created by Brighton chocolatiers Choccywoccydoodah in 2016, costing £25,000.

Whichever style you're into, this year the average chocolate egg is likely to be both smaller and more expensive as supermarkets cut back on price promotions, and chocolate manufacturers cut back on product sizes.

Households in the UK spend an average of £75 on Easter goodies alone each year. But the marketing push for Easter 2017 started early, with people seeing Cadburys Creme eggs in supermarkets before the end of December 2016.

The Easter Bank Holiday Getaway

With a four-day weekend to take advantage of, many Brits hop abroad to catch some much-needed spring sunshine and warmth.

In 2014, around 1.6 million Brits headed overseas for the Easter holidays, choosing popular spots like Spain, Florida, Turkey and Tunisia, Paris and Rome. Over 370,000 passengers flew out of Heathrow airport that year during the Easter holiday weekend.

However, the Association of British Travel Agents is seeing a growth in domestic holidays in its Travel Trends report for 2017, due in part to uncertainty around Brexit and the drop in the pound.

71% of all holidays taken last year were domestic, up from 64% in 2015, signalling a return to the numbers seen during the 2012 Olympic Summer.

VisitBritain announced a record-breaking January to April 2016 with 11 million trips taken in England. So perhaps Easter 2017 is more likely to be a staycation weekend. Whether you're planning a relaxing break with the family, an exciting holiday, or just lots of eggs, here's wishing you fabulous Easter!

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