Mars UK was the only one of the UK's three major chocolate manufacturers to have increased its market share in the first six months of this year, data shows.

IRI figures show its share of the £1.4bn-a-year chocolate market rose 1.4 percentage points year-on-year in the six months to 16 June to 28%.

Market leader Cadbury, which in July was fined £1m over a case of salmonella contamination, saw its market share slip 2.8 percentage points to 34%, while Nestlé's share fell 0.3 percentage points to 17%.

Mars UK attributed its success to new products such as Mars Planets, which it claimed had generated £7.5m worth of sales since the brand was launched in January. "It has been a fantastic six months for both the chocolate market, which grew 2.6%, and also Mars," said Andrea Taylor, trade relations manager. "We are the only major supplier in growth so are driving the category."

The IRI figures also show the bitesize category was the fastest-growing part of the chocolate market.

Sales in the sector rose by 15.3% in value over the six month period. Bitesize represented 14% of the chocolate market, with Mars holding a 57% share category, up 1.4 percentage points on last year. Nestlé had 23% of the market, up 0.4 percentage points, while Cadbury had 12%, down 1.5 percentage points.

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