Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Jingle bell choc!

New survey from Nestlé reveals how the nation eats its festive treats 

Back to Press releases
Dec 18, 2019
Quality Street Christmassy tin
  • One fifth (20%) of UK adults (aged 16-75) typically start eating chocolate before or at breakfast time on Christmas Day – with almost half (48%) tucking in by lunchtime, according to new online research by Nestlé. 
  • More than 2 in 5 (43%) Brits say they’ve eaten chocolate or sweets they were going to give as a gift to someone else.
  • 73% of adults most associate Quality Street with Christmas.    
  • More than 2 in 5 (44%) usually include chocolate (e.g. seasonal novelty chocolate gifts, chocolate coins, etc.) in their children’s or grandchildren’s Christmas stockings2.
  • When it comes to sharing a box of chocolates with family, friends or colleagues at Christmas, only one in three (35%) Britons usually let others pick before they do.  
  • We’re more patient when it comes to advent calendars – only 19% of Brits say they would open their advent calendar earlier than they’re supposed to (although this varies depending on age). 

Wake me up for some cocoa
One in five Britons typically start eating chocolate before or at breakfast time on Christmas Day – and women are the most likely to do so. Almost a quarter (24%) of women have typically started to eat chocolate at breakfast or earlier, compared to only 16% of men. Generation Y’s are twice as likely (30%) to have started munching on chocolate at breakfast or earlier compared to other generations3 (14%). 

Nestlé Brit chocolate stocking infographic

We’re sweet on Quality Street
The survey found that when it comes to festive tins of sweets and chocolates, 73% of adults most associate Quality Street with Christmas1.

Ellie Worley, Senior Brand Manager for Quality Street said: “Quality Street has been a part of British Christmases for more than 80 years and the brand continues to combine tradition with innovation. Whether you love the Green Triangle, Toffee Penny or any of the other chocolates in the selection, we think there really is something for everyone, and that’s why the purple tin has become so symbolic with the festive season.”

Jonathan Smith, Senior Brand Manager for Christmas confectionery added:  “We’re delighted that three quarters of people associate Quality Street with Christmas. It’s a much-loved part of Nestlé’s festive range, which also includes Milkybar, Smarties, After Eights, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles and Randoms - all of which come in tins, tubs and tubes that are made for sharing at Christmas!”

Choc stuff
Chocolate remains a popular stocking stuffer, with 44% of Britons adding chocolate to their children’s or grandchildren’s Christmas stockings4. It’s a particularly popular choice among women, with 49% opting to include chocolate compared with 39% of men. 

Sharing the foils
Only 35% of Britons said they would usually let others pick first when sharing a box of chocolates with family, friends or colleagues at Christmas. 12% went further – saying they would pick out all their favourites before they get chosen by others.
A big no-no when it comes to sweet-sharing etiquette is putting the wrappers back in the box– one in three (32%) said they hate it when others do this. However, only 5% of respondents admitted to popping the wrappers back in themselves.  

Christmas come early?
Among those who have an advent calendar, Generation Y are more than twice as likely (41%) to open it early compared to other generations (18%).  

And while seven in ten people (70%) usually buy chocolates or sweets for immediate family5 at Christmas, a significant number of treats may not reach their intended recipient – 43% of Brits admitted to eating chocolate or sweets they were supposed to gift to someone else. 

Regional differences
There are some clear regional divides when it comes to sharing Christmas chocs:

  • Only 28% of those living in Yorkshire and the Humber would let others pick chocolates first, compared with 35% overall.
  • Seventeen per cent of those in the West Midlands would pick all their favourite chocolates before they get picked by others, compared with only 9% in the East Midlands and Scotland.
  • One in ten (10%) in Greater London say they usually tell people how many chocolates they can take from a sharing box. Only 2% of adults in Wales said the same. 


1 Respondents were asked which types of tins and tubs of chocolate or sweets, if any, they most associated with Christmas. The list of options included: Quality Street, Celebrations, Roses, Heroes, Toblerone Tinys/Minis, Chocolate Orange Segsations, Swizzels Sweet Shop Favourites, Rowntrees Tub and Haribo Share the Fun Sweets. They also had the option to specify other types of chocolate or sweets.
2 This could be for children who are now grown up. 
Generation X, Baby Boomers, Pre-war.
This could be for children who are now grown up.
5 Immediate family includes myself, my spouse/partner, my children 

Technical notes:

  • This research was carried out online by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Nestle. 
  • A nationally representative quota sample of 2,254 adults aged 16-75 in the United Kingdom was interviewed online (I:Omnibus) between 21 and 25 November 2019.
  • The data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions of this audience by age within gender, region and working status.
  • Other sub-bases: Males (1,114), Females (1,140), those in the West Midlands (199), East Midlands (163), Scotland (191), Greater London (308), Wales (90), Yorkshire and The Humber (188), those who have an advent calendar (1,430).
Article Type