Cost of some festive chocolate boxes soars – Which?on December 23, 2023 at 5:38 am

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The rising prices are blamed mainly on the soaring global cocoa costs, which almost doubled in a year.

A selection of individually wrapped chocolates.Image source, Getty Images

The price of some festive chocolate boxes has risen by at least 50% in a year, according to Which?

While overall inflation for supermarket food and drink eased in November to 8.3%, the rise in the chocolate prices was significantly higher at 15.3%.

This has been blamed mainly on the soaring cost of cocoa, which has near doubled due to poor harvests in Africa.

Which? has urged shoppers to compare prices across retailers to get the best value.

At Asda, the consumer group said the price of Green & Black’s Organic Classic Miniature Chocolate Bar Collection 180g rose by 67.2%, from an average of £3.59 in the three months to the end of last November, to £6 on average in the same period this year.

Over the same period Nestle’s Black Magic 348g and Dairy Box Medium Chocolate Box 326g rose from £3.35 to £5.25 on average – up 56.6% – Which? found.

At Tesco, Cadbury Mini Snowballs Chocolate Bag 80g, Cadbury Mini Snowballs Chocolate Bar 110g and Terry’s Chocolate Orange Minis Bag 125g went from £1 to £1.50 on average this November.

Meanwhile, the cost of Quality Street Matchmakers Zingy Orange Chocolate Box 120g at Sainsbury’s increased by 49.9% from an average of £1.26 to £1.89.

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said it was “committed to offering our customers the best possible value”, adding holders of their Nectar points card can save on products including the Quality Street treats.

Which? said its figures included special offer prices but not multi-buys or loyalty discounts, arguing the latter were only available to customers who were prepared to sign up to loyalty schemes – and not every consumer was able to do so.

Other chocolate products have also been hit by high inflation.

The biggest jump was found at Asda, where its own brand Snack Size Chocolate Caramel Chews (6x38g) more than doubled from an average of 65p in the three months to the end of November 2022 to £1.35 on average this year.

Over the same period Bolands Elite Chocolate Kimberley Teacakes 132g at Morrisons rose from £1.30 to £2.59 on average – up 99.2%.

Discount versions of Mars bars – Aldi’s Dairyfine Titan and Lidl’s Mister Choc Choco & Caramel Bars (both six packs) – went from 62p and 65p respectively to £1.09 and £1.08 – rises of 75.8% and 66.8%.

Despite the higher prices, the owner of Cadbury – Mondelez – and producer of Quality Street – Nestle – have reported an increase in sales as shoppers seek more basic Christmas treats.

Which? Retail editor Ele Clark said: “We’ve seen large price hikes on some festive favourites this year, so to ensure they’re getting the best value for money on their Christmas chocs, shoppers should compare the price per gram across different pack sizes, retailers and brands.”

British Retail Consortium economist Harvir Dhillon noted chocolate has been “hard hit by soaring global cocoa prices, which have almost doubled over the last year, reaching a 46-year high. The cost of cocoa has been badly affected by poor harvests in parts of Africa.”

Supply and production issues were also raised by both Mondelez and Nestle.

A spokesperson for Mondelez said this meant it occasionally has to “make difficult decisions, such as slightly increasing the price of some of our products… to ensure we continue to make the best quality products at the best value prices”.

Nestle said “in order to maintain the highest standards of quality, it is sometimes necessary to make minor adjustments to the weights of our products,” adding: “We also aim to make any long-term changes to prices gradually and responsibly.”

Supermarkets Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl have been approached for comment.

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