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Chocolate sales jump by £50m as shoppers comfort eat at home

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Dark and milk chocolate bar whole and chopped with cocoa beans and cocoa powder.
Large chocolate block sales soared 46% in supermarkets as people turned to comfort eating at home. Photo: Natasha Breen/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

People stuck indoors this year, due to lockdown measures across the country, have bought £50m ($65m) more chocolate than they did the year before.

The increase in the annual spend was driven by the purchase of multipacks and sharing bars at supermarkets, as Britain stayed at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. This offset a decline in the purchase of single bars from newsagents and other outlets, the Guardian first reported.

According to analysts at research group Kantar, sales of multipacks of chocolate bars in supermarkets has risen by more than a fifth, as impulse buying slumped due to government measures.

Large chocolate block sales soared 46% in supermarkets as consumers turned to comfort eating during the lockdown period.

Jane Goodson, a confectionery buyer at Waitrose, told the Guardian: “We’ve seen a notable increase across premium chocolate and multipack chocolates. Little treats can help lift our spirits and clearly chocolate has been a popular remedy for some during this difficult year.”

The grocer revealed that demand for popular brand sharing bars rose 37% while sales for its own-label bars also jumped by a fifth.

READ MORE: £30bn lockdown supermarket surge drives fastest growth on record

Jackson Woods, a consumer specialist at Kantar, said: “Shoppers have spent an extra £260m on chocolate to enjoy at home in the past six months. The pandemic has changed our priorities, and for much of it we have been less focused on counting calories, and more on treating ourselves during a difficult time. Chocolate is a relatively cheap and easy way to do that, and people have found comfort in their favourite brands.”

It comes as grocery sales in the UK accelerated last month. Kantar said that sales rose 10.6% year-on-year in the month to 4 October as the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme came to an end.

The seven days to 27 September were the country’s busiest since March, with 107 million trips to supermarkets recorded.

Morrisons (MRW.L) was the best “big four” performer, with sales up 11.5% over the 12 weeks to the beginning of October, while sales climbed 9.2% at Tesco (TSCO.L), 6.8% at Sainsbury's (SBRY.L) and 5.4% at Asda.

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