Happy Easter!

It’s April already – Q1 seems to have flown by doesn’t it? – and many are currently enjoying the Easter break; as such, I thought I would make this week’s blog entry a seasonal one.

Easter means big business; new research from Mintel has revealed that almost seven in ten (68 per cent) UK consumers spent money on goods or services for Easter in 2014 – that’s more than consumers spent on Mother’s Day (64 per cent), Valentine’s Day (55 per cent) and Halloween 2013 (43 per cent). Of course, that figure covers more than just chocolate eggs, with the likes of in-home food and drink, gifts and greetings cards factored for too. However, it’s still music to chocolate manufacturers’ ears, as more than half (53 per cent) of all Brits will be splashing out on chocolate gifts such as Easter eggs and chocolate boxes this year.

With big business tends to come big controversy at some point, and this year we’ve seen outrage following a change in the recipe for Cadbury Creme Eggs. Having previously been made using Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, it was revealed this year that the shell of the egg is being made with a standard cocoa mix – cue angry consumers complaining that the taste is now inferior. And that’s on top of the fact that the previously six-egg multipacks have become five-egg ones. I wonder if sales will be down this year…

I had a read around for some other Easter talking points and here’s what I found:

  • Unilever and confectionery firm Kinnerton joined forces to create Marmite and Pot Noodle eggs this year. Whilst the Marmite version was confirmed to be chocolate flavoured with a hint of the brown, beefy food paste, confusion surrounded the Pot Noodle variety – noodle flavoured chocolate, anyone? Turns out the Pot Noodle element is just for branding purposes, with consumers enjoying a chocolate egg and a Pot Noodle branded mug.
  • Harrogate-based bakery Bettys of Yorkshire received coverage for its giant Imperial Egg. Weighing 12lb (5.4kg), the £250 egg is 50cm high and takes up to two days to make – and for health reasons, hopefully more than two days to eat!
  • Pizza Hut had everyone fooled for a while when it posted an image of a pizza with a Creme Egg stuffed crust. Given that the pizza firm has previously sold cheeseburger and hot dog stuffed crusts, it didn’t seem that much of a leap… but it was just a bit of fun on this occasion
  • There was talk last year of a ‘cheese-ter’ egg produced by cheese maker Pilgrims Choice. I didn’t see it on sale and I’m still not sure if it was myth, but apparently the 1kg treat was just cheddar and some chocolate chips mixed in. There’s no sign of it this year, so the jury is out on that one.

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