According to Statista, revenue in the UK Chocolate Confectionery segment is forecast to be in the region of £4.848,672.00 in 2019 with the market growing annually by 1.5%. The average per capita consumption should stand at 7.0kg in 2019. This is good news for UK confectionery producers and distributors.

As far as consumer behaviour is concerned, Innova’s top 10 trends, as reported in ‘Food’ , includes a reference to the increasingly adventurous consumer, a connected ‘activist’ who is not only more aware of health and environmental concerns but who also seeks to explore new and better experiences – contributing to a 35% growth in discovery claims when comparing previous year’s product launch statistics.  Established brands will continue to do well, particularly through diversification, and new brands who are truly ‘different’ will similarly expect good returns.



Ticking all the above boxes, Harris and James (H & J) are clearly passionate about quality and sustainability – rather than buying bulk processed chocolate they make small batch chocolate with beans sourced directly from farms and co-operatives around the globe, creating the quality single source origin chocolate used in their ranges.

Clearly they successfully combine traditional values with innovation – they create novel and delicious products which will appeal to the adventurous consumer.  We tried their Peanutty and Hazeleta bars – both great but the Hazeleta was especially delicious – the balance of the hazelnut praline was exactly right.                  Highly recommended


DRINKS – non alcoholic



As reported in Marketing week, Alpro are maintaining their place as one of the UK’s fastest growing grocery brands.  One in 5 households now buy Alpro, with a quarter buying into the plant-based category which the brand leads with a 65% share.

We tried their new strawberry deserts (excellent) and the new Caffe range of coffee and flavoured soya drinks.  The coffee and soya caramel drink, which combines Rainforest Alliance coffee beans and the irresistible sweetness of caramel with all the plant-based goodness of soya, was stunning.  Perfect taste balances and reviving as served straight from the chiller as cold caffe latte (although it can be gently warmed too).  We expect this  to seriously challenge the existing traditional players in the coffee based cold drinks to go market.                  Highly recommended



DRINKS – Alcoholic – Gin

As reported last year by H M Revenue and Customs, there are 315 distilleries in Britain and the number of distilleries has more than doubled in the past five years, fuelled by a boom in consumer demand.  However with so much to choose from – traditional brands through to the produce of the new Artisan distilleries across the UK it is increasingly challenging to find originality!


EDINBURGH GIN (Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd)

Rightly placed as the 6th largest gin brand across the on and off trade and the UK’s No 1 super premium gin brand, Edinburgh Gin (Ian Macleod Distillers Ltd) are synonymous with prolonged taste innovation, as demonstrated by the award winning Seaside Edinburgh gin which we sampled.  Inspired by the East Coast shoreline near Edinburgh, this product includes shoreline botanicals such as ground ivy, bladderwrack and scurvygrass which, although they sound alarming, actually produce a spirit with distinctive minerality.                  Highly recommended



SHORTCROSS GIN (Rademon Estate Distillery)

Also representing the premium sector, Northern Ireland’s first award winning craft distillery also produces a stunningly distinctive gin with its Shortcross brand.  Created to be a classical gin with a unique twist it certainly delivers this – described as ‘floral meadows’ it is possibly the only gin in the market that includes wild clover in its composition, meaning it is highly aromatic as well as long and smooth in terms of finish.                  Highly recommended



Dorset’s first distillery, Conkerspirit, have also produced another highly innovative and distinctive product – its Port Barrel Gin.  They have brought together two favourite tipples to create a gin like no other.  By resting their signature Dorset Dry Gin in used port barrels from Portugal they have produced a gin which perfectly combines dry piney juniper and herbaceous brightness with notes of vanilla oak, warm spice and sweet red fruits.  We loved the colour and the truly different flavour.                  Highly recommended




Proving that sometimes the first product created can still maintain a strong position in terms of originality, we discovered the Kendal Mint Cake liqueur – we were pleasantly surprised that this was absolutely delicious without being too sweet and syrupy.  Created in 1990 from an original recipe, Kendal Mint Cake Liqueur was the first brainchild of Mike Pennington who took his inspiration from the legendary Kendal Mint Cake, famous for having been taken to the top of Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary.  Its still the tops as far as we are concerned.  We also liked the Lakeland Moon organic Vodka.                                Highly recommended