Money & Work

£500 million Easter indulgence in perspective

By Sarah Graham

A recent episode of the BBC’s Supermarket Secrets saw everyone’s favourite Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace stood in a chocolate factory watching molten Belgian chocolate being sprayed into a plastic owl mould, in what appeared to be an elaborate advert for Waitrose’s brand new Easter range of woodland chocolate animals. You can buy the full set – Spike the hedgehog, Hop the frog, Ollie and Izzy the owls (Izzy comes in pink, of course, for the girls) – for £20.

In good impartial BBC style, we also saw Gregg making hot cross buns in Sainsburys and learning about supermarket psychology in Morrisons – because other supermarkets are available, but only one will provide you with charming chocolate owls and hedgehogs instead of your common or garden Easter bunnies and chicks.

We Brits are expected to spend £500 million on chocolate this Easter and, according to Supermarket Secrets, retailers have seen a 25% increase in sales of chocolatey Easter treats. Basically, we’re all suckers for chocolate moulded into cute animal shapes, and we’re falling for it in our millions – kids, parents and non-parents alike.

Even I, a notorious hater of hollow Easter confectionary, found myself momentarily seduced by Spike the hedgehog, with his cute little chocolate spines and “eat me” eyes. But if we all just stopped scoffing, what else could our £500 million be spent on?

While all the other women’s magazines are full of tips on creating the prettiest yummy mummy Easter egg hunt, we put the cost of Easter indulgence into perspective.

£500 million would pay for…

Mortgage payments for more than 5,000 homes for Maria Miller’s family

Maria Miller


Annual salaries for 500 of Barclays’ highest paid bankers



Nearly 1,000 overpriced garages in South East London



Paying off the debts of almost 10,000 students



More than 16,000 NHS nurses for a year, on an average salary of £30,000pa



A pet hamster for ALL of the 63 million people in the UK – lasts at least a year longer than a chocolate hamster, and much more cuddly


Main photo: Wikimedia Commons

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