05 February 2016
Easter facts and statistics
- Britons love chocolate. In world league tables of per capita consumption the UK comes joint 4th behind Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
- On average, each person in Britain eats approx. 9.5 kg of chocolate per year.
- The first chocolate factory in Britain opened in 1657.
- J.S. Fry and Sons developed the first solid chocolate bar and it went on sale in 1847. Cadbury Brothers produced their first bar of chocolate in 1849. Both bars would have been made from dark chocolate as milk chocolate was not available until after 1875 when Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter developed the process for making the sweeter lighter version of chocolate.
- The Ivory Coast in West Africa is the world's leading producer of cocoa - supplying 43 per cent.
- Make Chocolate Fair estimates there are 2 million children working on cocoa plantations in Ghana and Ivory Coast, 500,000 of them in exploitative conditions.
- Fairtrade Chocolate sales now make up almost 12 per cent of UK chocolate confectionary sales and is worth £542m
- Thorntons made the world’s largest chocolate bar to celebrate their 100th birthday. It weighed 6 tonnes and was equivalent to 75,000 of their standard size bars.
- Eggs were traditionally used in pre-Christian festivals as the symbol of new life, purity or fertility. Later customs concerning eggs were linked with Easter because the egg provided a fresh and powerful symbol of the Resurrection and the transformation of death into life.
- The tradition of wearing Easter bonnets is also related to the celebration of new life and the coming of spring. The first bonnets were actually circles or wreaths of leaves and spring flowers but the tradition eventually developed into the wearing of extravagant hats often decorated with spring flowers.
- The Real Easter Egg, a Fair Trade Easter egg that explains the Christian meaning of Easter is on sale again for Easter 2016. There a 4 eggs in the range this year and three of them come with a newly designed cross shaped easter story booklet. The premium egg is supplied with a an olive wood key ring made in the Holy Land.
- Decorating and colouring Hen, Duck or Goose eggs for Easter was the custom in England during the Middle Ages. The household accounts of Edward I, for the year 1290, recorded an expenditure of eighteen pennies for four hundred and fifty eggs to be gold-leafed and coloured for Easter gifts.
- Papier-mache Easter eggs started being produced in England in the 18th century and then the first chocolate eggs appeared in the 19th century with the earliest ones being completely solid
- The first chocolate Easter egg was produced in 1873 by Fry's.
- The most famous decorated Easter eggs are those designed by Peter Carl Faberge. In 1885 the Russian Tsar, Alexander III, commissioned Faberge to make a special Easter gift for his wife, the Empress Marie. This first Faberge egg was an egg within an egg. It had an outside shell of gold and white enamel which opened to reveal a smaller gold egg. The smaller egg, in turn, opened to display a golden chicken and a jewelled replica of the Imperial Crown. The Tsar and Tsarina were so impressed with their gold that they ordered the Faberge firm to design further eggs to be delivered every Easter. In later years Nicholas II, Alexander's son, continued the custom.
- A previously unaccounted for Faberge egg was found by an American scrap metal dealer in 2013. It sold for £20 million. He had bought it for its scrap metal value of $13,000 and had been trying to sell it for a while before he realised it may be a Faberge egg.
- Approximately 80 million chocolate eggs are sold annually in the UK.
- In 2015 Easter confectionary sales were up 8.6 per cent on the 2014 figure in the 5 week run up to Easter,
- The record for the largest Easter egg tree was set by Zoo Rostock GmbH, Rostock, Germany who decorated a tree with 76,596 painted hens’ eggs on 8 April 2007.
- The most popular chocolate egg worldwide is Cadbury's Creme Egg, they first went on sale in 1971. The Bourneville factory can make 1.5 million Creme Eggs every day, 500 million are made each year with one third being exported overseas.
- Easter chocolate sales make up 10 per cent of Britain's annual spending on chocolate.
- The 2012 survey Easter Egg Packaging by Jo Swinson MP found that only 38 per cent of the average Easter egg box is actually Easter egg. The rest is paper and plastic. Commercial Easter eggs are responsible for up to 3,000 tonnes of waste. Nestle however announced in 2012 that they have become the first major confectioner to achieve 100 per cent recyclability in its entire Easter egg packaging range across the UK and Ireland.
- Dietitians have warned that eating five Easter eggs (the average given to most children) plus the bars included with them, could see youngsters doubling their recommended calorie intake for a week, risking becoming hooked on chocolate, plus seeing their weight increase by several pounds within days. The recommended daily amounts are around 2,000 calories a day for an average 11-year-old boy and 1,500 for a girl, but many could be eating up to 10,000 calories over the Easter period.
- The world's biggest handmade Easter egg was unveiled in Argentina in April 2015. It was made using 8,000kg of chocolate.
- One of the most expensive eggs on offer in 2006 was the unique Diamond Stella Egg - a chocolate egg laden with diamonds - which came with a £50,000 price tag.
- Easter eggs for Easter 2016 were on sale in Tesco and Sanisbury's stores on January 1 2016.
All the above statistics from a variety of sources including dailytelegraph.co.ukguardian.co.ukfoodproductiondaily.comchocolateexpert.co.uk thecalendercompany.org, guinnessworldrecords.com, talkingretail.com, realeasteregg.co.uk, makechocolatefair.org, worldvision.com.au, http://eauk.co/1Cvkbee, fairtrade.org.uk, cadburyworld.co.uk, confectionery news,com, mirror.co.uk
Declining religious importance of Easter
A ComRes cpanel survey carried out in 2012 found that the majority of Christians feel there is a disassociation between the religious traditions of festivals and the way they are perceived today.
Some other findings from the survey were:
- 90 per cent of Christians think Children today know less about the crucifixion and resurrection than they did 30 years ago.
- 95 per cent of Christians believe that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
- 77 per cent of practising Christians believe Easter is a more important festival than Christmas.
- 63 per cent of Christians think that Easter egg hunts or egg painting and similar activities are a good way of engaging children with the Easter story.
- Only 43% of people believe in the Resurrection
Children’s Knowledge of the Easter story
A survey conducted amongst children aged 8 to 15 in 2014 on behalf of Bible Society found that:
- 28 per cent think the hare and the tortoise feature in the Easter story
- 29 per cent did not know that God raises Jesus from the dead
- 90 per cent knew that Jesus was nailed to a cross
- 80 per cent knew that it was Judas who betrayed Jesus
Church going at Easter
The most recent statistics, published in 2016, from the Church of England gives the attendance figure of 1,300,000 for Easter services in 2014.
Cathedral attendance on Easter Sunday in 2014 was 53,000 and Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Good Friday) attendances went up dramatically from 68,800 in 2013 to 89,300 in 2014.
Top Easter Hymns 2015
Do you have a favourite Easter Hymn? Here are the top 10 from Praisecharts.com top 40.
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Chris Tomlin)
- Jesus Paid It All (Kristian Stanfill/Passion Band)
- In Christ Alone (with The Solid Rock) (Travis Cottrell)
- The Wonderful Cross (Chris Tomlin)
- Blessed Assurance (Third Day)
- In Christ Alone (Geoff Moore)
- When I Survey (The Wondrous Cross) (Kathryn Scott)
- My Savior My God (Aaron Shust)
- Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Michael W. Smith)
- The Old Rugged Cross (David Shipps)