Britons turn to comfort food classics, says survey

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Britons are comfort-eating in the face of economic uncertainty and fears over terrorism by turning to trusted favourites, researchers claim.

A study of food products launched last year found the most well-received tended to be new twists on classics, with a brownie variety of Wall's Viennetta at the top of the list. It was followed by McVitie's Penguin Chukka, a white chocolate bite-sized version of the biscuit bar.

Researchers said that many consumers seemed to have gone "back to basics" for a taste of security in the troubled times of 2004 as war raged in Iraq and the threat of international terrorism loomed.

"Perhaps it is a reflection of the [product] development cycle, or of the economic and political uncertainties of the year but our respondents seemed more at home with traditional, comfort food in 2003," said Paul Beresford, the managing director of Cambridge Market Research, which conducted the poll.

"The top 10 illustrates this. Wall's Viennetta has been a freezer stand-by for more than 20 years, whereas Penguin is a stalwart for the biscuit market," he added.

Consumers tested more than 3,000 new products in 89 different categories for the survey, published in The Grocer.

The rest of the top 10 consisted mainly of child favourites such as cakes and ice-cream.