WE?RE CHOCA BLOCK
By ED SOUTHORN
TWEED folk are doing their bit this weekend to ensure Australians remain world leaders in Easter egg eating.
Sales of Easter chocolate and confectionery have exceeded $230 million nationally this year.
Most Aussies average about 20 Easter eggs each, the highest per capita consumption in the world, according to confectionery industry estimates.
For those who don't eat more than a couple of Easter eggs, that means there are a lot of people for whom too much chocolate is never enough.
The Confectionery Manufacturers of Australasia estimates combined retail value of Easter sales this year is about $231 million, up from about $220 million last year.
CMA chief executive David Greenwood said Australians are spending up big on Easter eggs because we recognise Easter as a family time as much as a religious event.
"It's a Christian festival but it's also about family and sharing, so it's a premium gift-giving occasion," Mr Greenwood said.
Tweed Centro chocolate seller Karen Hare, who owns the Darrell Lea Chocolates store, is surviving her annual bout of "chocolate fatigue", with thousands of customers queuing at her Easter egg counter for the past week.
Mrs Hare has been almost as busy as the Easter Bunny. Despite her surname, she is not related to him.
"Thursday and Saturday (today) are our busiest days of the year," Mrs Hare said.
"People always love chocolate and Easter is the time to indulge."
Cadbury Schweppes national marketing manager for seasonal confectionery Rodney Heath said the premium-end casket business - where Easter eggs and bunnies are paired up in gift boxes - remains very popular.
Mr Heath said an increasing number of time-poor but reasonably financially well-off parents made sure they really enjoyed the Easter break with their children.
"They will do a bit more spending because they're not having as much time with their kids as they would have liked," he said.
Mr Heath said Australians were also buying more small Easter eggs, with the traditional Sunday egg hunt alive and well.