Britons Take the Biscuit

Economy Slows: Sweet Treats Increase

As Britain’s economy again experiences problems, it seem that the average Brit in the street is dealing with this dilemma through a good old chocolate digestive. Indeed, research has shown that men and women in Britain are boiling the kettle for a nice cup of tea as they sit down to dunk in their biscuit. It’s not just the chocolate digestives though that are teaming up with a brew…custard creams are gaining in popularity also.

Sweet Sales: Bitter Budget

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Indeed, sales of the sweet treats in England have gone up by 22 percent over the last five years (bringing in £2.2b), simultaneous to a worsening of the country’s economy. But there could be another reason for an increase in the divulgence of the sweet treat. Now that consumers are spending less on entertainment due to tightening their budgetary belt (perhaps something they won’t be able to replicate on their jeans belt), they are instead spending some of this cash on comfort foods. It’s not quite the same as a night out on the town, but it’s for sure a lot cheaper. Mintel research found that 54 percent of Britons are often downing a “biscuit or two with a hot drink,” and there is the expectation that biscuit sales will escalate an additional 15 percent by 2015, bringing the figure up to £2.6b. Indeed, according to senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, Amy Lloyd, “the UK biscuit industry has benefited from consumers reaching for the biscuit barrel throughout the recession. The ritualistic nature of eating biscuits with a hot drink appeals to consumers, demonstrating how ingrained this occasion is within British culture.”

Biscuits Move with the Times

There is somewhat of a need for change however. Although people in their 40s and up may be regular tea-dunkers, the younger generation don’t necessarily want a bikkie to put into a hot cup of tea. So now it is important for biscuit makers to come up with something a bit different, that will go nicely with a cold drink. Nonetheless, chocolate digestives (along with biscuits that come wrapped individually) remain in top position as “the nation’s favorite sweet biscuit,” with over 53 percent of the nation having purchased one of these in the last year. Next was chocolate chips which beat custard creams that came in number three along with Bourbons at 39 percent. But the nation is also becoming somewhat nutrition-smart as indicative of lower-fat/calorie biscuits boasting yearly sales of £468million. It’s always nice to have a sweet treat but it’s no good if that renders you gaining so much weight that you have to buy new clothes…especially not in today’s somewhat unstable economy.

Barren Britain?

Many Childless Women hit Menopause

A new report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, has found that a quite substantial percentage of British women are reaching menopause having not had any children. In fact, the figure is 18.9 percent, making the country the fourth ranking in Europe, just behind Italy, Germany and Finland. It has been said that this is probably due to how British women focused so much on their careers, at least until recently. So what would happen was that they would just put off trying to have kids, and then find that it was too late.

Blaming Feminism?

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Others point to what feminism did in the 1970s and 1980s but it’s hard to tell for sure. The report focused on women born in 1965 from 24 countries so they would have had to have lived through the 1970s “heyday of feminism,” and started their careers “during the power-suited 1980s,” when it was quite normal for women to put career priorities ahead of “traditional family values.” The French on the other hand, can now have what to be proud of as their childless figure for women at menopause stands at a mere 10 percent. But there again maternity leave benefits are better for the French which definitely facilitates motherhood. And Portugal must be a really child-friendly place to live.

Barren Britain Boasts More

But, for those British women who are not barren by the time they get to menopause, it seems that on average they go for bigger families. Statistics show that they are on the whole having more children than women from other countries, with more than 30 percent of mothers having three or more kids. Nonetheless, the Brits are still leaving it a bit late. A 2010 OECD report shows that on average, British women are giving birth at 30 for the first time.