Easter is a traditional treat time with chocolate eggs topping the list for children and adults alike.
But in the midst of an economic downturn it is an anxious period for chocolate makers as they worry that austerity hit shoppers will spurn their more expensive offerings or even not buy at all.
Adding to the industry’s problems have been volatile raw material costs following a prolonged four-month drought in the Ivory Coast, a major supplier of cocoa beans.
For chocolate makers like Diana Short, of the British firm ‘Lick the Spoon’, this is a crunch time: “Easter is absolutely crucial to our business; obviously it’s the one time of year everybody buys a chocolate product and we cannot afford to miss out on a single sale. Easter carries us through the rest of the year, without it we’d never get through to December.”
In fact, industry watchers say that sales of Easter confectionery over the past three years have not been affected by the economic downturn and have grown steadily year on year.
One theory is that even if people cannot afford a new car or to go on an expensive holiday, they do indulge in the sweet treat of chocolate as an affordable luxury, with Easter as a great excuse.