Pop act Girls Aloud helped KitKat maker Nestle post a 4.3 per cent rise in confectionery sales as demand remained strong in Britain despite the recession.
The Swiss food giant said total confectionery sales were up 4.3 per cent at £2.87 billion in the first six months of the year amid demand for brands such as Yorkie and Smarties.
It said KitKat, which last year was boosted by an advert campaign featuring pop band Girls Aloud, had continued its “excellent performance” with UK sales up 6.8 per cent.
The comments provide fresh evidence that cash-strapped shoppers are turning to chocolate for a low cost treat as the economic crisis bites.
Midland giant Cadbury last month said a “stay-at-home” culture had led to rising demand for sweets and chocolate, leading to an increase in UK confectionery sales.
Nestle, which has UK operations at sites including Girvan, York and Castleford, said jelly sweets Rowntree Randoms, launched in May, had also proved a hit. Elsewhere in its UK operations, sales of Nescafe instant coffee – the UK’s best selling coffee brand – were up 4.2 per cent.
However sales at Nestle’s water division, which includes the Buxton brand in the UK, weakened with group-wide sales down 2.9 per cent.
Paul Grimwood, chief executive Nestle UK & Ireland, said: “Faced with the challenge of a tough economic climate, Nestle UK & Ireland has performed well in the first half of 2009.”
Nestle, the world’s biggest food producer, said total group-wide sales rose 3.5 per cent on an organic basis to £29.5 billion in the six months to June 30.