Britons are Europe's biggest chocolate-lovers

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The Independent Online

Britons are the biggest chocoholics in Europe, munching through an average 10kg (22lb) per year, figures show.

The national sweet tooth cost an average £72 per person last year, compared to the Italians, who spent £18, the market analysts Datamonitor said.

Belgians came second in the chocoholics league, eating their way through an average 8.7kg each in 2005. Germans ranked third at 8.1kg on average per person.

The study includes EU countries only and excludes Switzerland.

In 2005, the UK accounted for one quarter of the total European spend on chocolate. Across the continent, dark chocolate is enjoying a popularity boost as shoppers grow more aware of health and well-being. Chocolate high in cocoa solids is set to enjoy a 48 per cent sales growth between 2005 and 2010, Datamonitor predicts.

John Band, an analyst, said the UK had repeatedly topped theleague. "We will stuff ourselves with cheap chocolate, whereas consumers in France may be keener to have a smaller quantity of better quality chocolate," he said. "Milk chocolate with low cocoa solids - a cheaper variety - has a much higher market share in the UK."

British Retail Consortium figures released today, show an average of 80 million Easter eggs will be sold this year at a value of £520m.

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