Chocolate is big business. In the UK, Dairy Milk grew 11.7% from £374m to £418m last year, while Milka's sales went up from £8.7m to £21.3m. From these market-leading brands to small independent chocolatiers, hundreds of thousands of jobs rely on the magic mix of cocoa, milk and sugar.
Even hedge funds have broken off a piece of the action. Last year Anthony Ward, a cocoa trader at hedge fund manager Armajaro, bought 7% of the world's cocoa stocks, speculating that the market price would increase. He was right. The price of white sugar is up 51% compared to 2010, dairy is up 20% and cocoa prices are on course to hit a 38-year high next month.
Here in the UK, we are a nation of chocaholics; the average Briton consumes around 10.2kg of chocolate per annum. And this figure is growing every year. According to market research firm Nielson, chocolate sales are up 36% compared to 12 months ago.
Chocolate is the biggest player in the confectionary industry, accounting for over £3.5bn of sweet sales a year in the UK alone. It is also the bread and butter of other sectors: chocolate is the biggest selling Fairtrade product in the UK. Sales topped £342m last year, up from £84m in 2009.
With that in mind, and the UK's biggest chocolate binge season on the horizon, here are a few chocolate facts to keep in mind when you crack open your Easter egg:
Hungry for more chocolate data? Check out this infographic to see the relative market share of all the brand leaders in the chocolate industry.