Aussies like to keep it sweet with treats

7/29/2011 1:04:07 AM

HOW sweet it is to love chocolate. Aussies are lusting after the "sinful" treat more than they crave sex, a survey suggests.

The research finds one in four consumers has indulged in a chocolate-only breakfast, lunch or dinner, and one in three has drowned their sorrows by eating an entire block.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers desire chocolate more than any other profession, the poll, commissioned by retailer Max Brenner, finds.

The unemployed and tradies are least interested.

Business commentators said chocolate and confectionery sales had been resilient in the face of other consumer spending reductions.

IBISWorld senior analyst Ed Butler said Australians spent about $4 billion a year on chocolate.

He said the sector had recorded modest growth in recent years compared with many other industries suffering from sharp sales declines.

"It's an extension of the lipstick index during the global financial crisis," Mr Butler said. "People cut down on clothes and handbags and shift to cheaper luxuries like cosmetics and chocolate."

IBISWorld predicted increased popularity of ethically produced "fair trade" lines and organic chocolate in future.

The PureProfile chocolate survey reveals 15 per cent crave the confectionery every day, compared with 8 per cent who admit a constant urge for sex.

Almost one in five say they devour chocolate four to five times a week, putting their passion well ahead of Vegemite or a cold beer.

Dark chocolate is more popular with men than women, the survey of 1000 consumers finds.

Most say they spend $10-$30 on chocolate for loved ones on special occasions. Emergency services workers lavish most money on their nearest and dearest, while retail staff shell out the least.

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