The nation’s ‘SWEET’ heart: Chocolate sales soar by a fifth across the UK in the last 12 months

Chocolate is experiencing a surge in popularity with sales soaring by almost a fifth over the past year, according to new data from Tesco. As a result of this, Tesco is celebrating World Chocolate Day on 7th July with a delicious, chocolate infused menu to create at home.

Although chocolate is adored throughout the UK, central Scotland has seen the biggest shift in behaviour, with a 25 per cent rise in the sales of chocolate within the last year. This is followed by the North West and the North East (23 per cent). Meanwhile, South East sales of chocolate increased by 15 percent, followed by London at 12 per cent.

Product Development Manager at Tesco, Aine Lynch comments: “There is a lot on the horizon in terms of exciting, new chocolate trends. I think plant based and wellbeing are on the top of the agenda. Free from chocolate has been on the rise, with customers looking for more dairy free and vegan options. Linked to this, we know our customers want to explore healthier options at the moment, and while we still want our chocolate confections to be treats, but we’re looking at how we can bring healthier options to our repertoire.

Tesco supports the Rainforest Alliance, as Aine Lynch explains: “Tesco and the Rainforest Alliance have been working together for many years. We share commitments to support farming communities globally, increase farmer and workers incomes, and preserve wildlife. Our experienced Chocolatiers, source rich cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified Farms and then perfectly blend this with high quality ingredients to create smooth, decadent bars. It’s what makes our Tesco Dark Chocolate flavours so special. We work hard to ensure we develop high quality, sustainable and innovative chocolate treats’’.

As demand for chocolate grows, Tesco Executive Chef Jamie Robinson has created an exciting chocolate-infused menu, showing how to enjoy chocolate in new and exciting ways, along with his top tips for putting a chocolatey twist on both sweet and savoury dishes:

“Chocolate is such a great and versatile ingredient. The flavours available from different types mean it can be used in a whole host of different dishes, whether that’s starter, main or dessert.

Bitter dark chocolate added to meaty, tomato dishes can add that extra layer of indulgence, and I often add it along with port to my slow cooked venison ragu. Dark chocolate works really well with slow cooked tomatoes, so it pairs perfectly with this ragu- the bitter smoky notes really compliment the rich venison and the port pulls it all together.

White chocolate and flax seed crackers make for an amazing combination, especially with crumbly sharp cheddar. In one bite you have sweet and creamy flavours, with a nutty finish. It can be also be used to add texture too- by baking white chocolate at 160 degrees for around 10 minutes you get a lovely caramelised crumb, perfect for that extra finishing touch on a dessert!

One of the weirdest and most wonderful ways of using white chocolate I’ve ever tried involves chicken. The roasted chicken skin is dipped in white chocolate and then dusted in mushroom powder. It’s an absolutely crazy combination but tastes surprisingly good!”

The ultimate chocolate menu recipes can be accessed via the Tesco Real Food website:

Chocolate-dipped watermelon with crushed pistachios
This sweet yet refreshing canape or entrée is so simple to make, all you have to do is dip frozen cubes of watermelon in dark chocolate then sprinkle with pistachios and leave to set.

Cauliflower and Bean Chilli
This recipe is the ultimate crowd-pleaser and a great way to use store cupboard ingredients. Dark chocolate adds a richness to the chilli which makes it a firm favourite.

Mexican Chicken Mole
This succulent traditional Mexican dish combines heady spices, fiery chipotle, fresh chillies and Mexican dark chocolate.

Five Minute Chocolate and Pear Mug Cakes
These quick and simple mug cakes are made all the more special by sweet and fragrant Conference pairs.

Smoked Salt Chocolate Fondant
This indulgent dark chocolate dessert is the perfect sweet treat to share. A sprinkle of flavoured salt adds a hint of smoke to this decadent pudding.[Text Wrapping Break]
Tesco offers a range of delicious chocolate treats including:

Tesco Raspberry & Hazelnut Dark Chocolate £1
A new flavours in the core 100g Chocolate tablet range which is simply delicious and perfect as an everyday treat and on-the go snack for those who like the fine things in life.

Tesco Zesty Orange Dark Chocolate £1
A rich blend of dark chocolate with zesty orange, for those looking to take their taste buds on a real sweet and sour tour.

Tesco Intense Dark Chocolate Bar £1
This flavoursome dark chocolate, has been skilfully blended with 85% cocoa, for those looking for a more intense taste.

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