This article is part of our 2016 Confectionery digital feature 

Brits are becoming nocturnal, when it comes to munching confectionery at least. Forty seven per cent of the UK’s confectionery is scoffed after 6pm - an 11 percentage point increase from 2000 when only a third was consumed after dark [Kantar Worldpanel 52w/e 27 March 2016].

So why is confectionery going nocturnal, and has our growing box set habit got anything to do with it?

The slump in daytime occasions is partly driven by the decline of single chocolate bars. Competition from emerging snacking products, including popcorn, meat snacks and the new breed of health-skewed treats, has contributed to long-term loss of share in daytime consumption.

Netflix can also claim some of the credit. Its UK membership rose to five million in April this year. As it’s grown, so has the percentage, now up to 20.3%, of consumers eating confectionery as part of an evening in front of the telly.

This also chimes with Sky’s success. Its UK and Ireland customer numbers passed the 12 million mark in 2015, when cancelled subscriptions were at their lowest for 11 years. “Despite the economy beginning to bounce back, the big night in is more popular than ever. Modern technology has reshaped entertainment,” says Ross Stanley, head of trade marketing at Big Bear Confectionery. 

There are other factors, too. Our consumer research, carried out by Harris Interactive, shows that 37% of respondents feel that eating chocolate and sweets is more frowned on than it used to be – making private post-6pm nibbling an appealing prospect.

And a decline in homemade desserts may provide further evening opportunities for sweets and chocolate, says Adrian Hipkiss, head of marketing at Tangerine Confectionery. “Recent data shows that homemade ‘sweet finishes’ to evening meals are in decline. Sharing formats offer a more convenient and informal alternative.”

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