Britain spent a record pounds 3.2bn on chocolate last year - an average pounds 1.06 each week for every man woman and child in the country. The latest chocolate survey by Cadbury also shows that the rival manufacturer Nestle tops the league with Kit Kat, on which the nation spent pounds 200m in 1995. Mars bars, the second favourite, accounted for pounds 150m of sales.
A report in June by analyst Datamonitor said Kit Kat's share of the chocolate snack market had stayed at around 17.4 per cent between 1990 and 1994 but the Mars bar's share dropped from 16 per cent to 11.7 per cent.
The Cadbury review shows that Cadbury's Dairy Milk, which last year celebrated its 90th anniversary, has reinforced its position as Britain's third-favourite chocolate brand, with sales jumping by 22 per cent to around pounds 115m last year. Maltesers are the top bagged chocolate, Smarties the favourite children's brand, and Roses the number one boxed chocolate.
The survey showed that the volume of chocolate sold was down slightly because of the hot summer but that damage was limited by a boom over the Christmas period, when sales hit pounds 680m. The most avid consumers are those in Scotland and the South-west, who spend typically pounds 1.25 a week, while those in the South-east spend only 96p. The survey also showed that although women buy two-thirds of all chocolate they eat only 42 per cent.
Outside the chocolate industry a separate survey showed that Wrigley's Extra, a sugar-free chewing gum, has become the number one sweet. The gum has overtaken old favourites such as Liquorice Allsorts as confectionery lovers become more and more health-conscious.
According to Trebor Bassett's review of the 1995 sweet market, the gum, which costs about 20p a pack, tops the best-seller list ahead of Polos and Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles. Another sugar-free gum, Wrigley's Orbit, is fourth in the league - well in front of Wrigley's Spearmint gum, which comes in at number 17. Opal Fruits are eighth, Liquorice Allsorts 11th and Jelly Babies, loved by children for the best part of 80 years, 16th.