Easter bunny has dietitians hopping mad

SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 05:00 20/04/2014
Easter egg
PETER MEECHAM/Fairfax NZ
CHOCOLATE RUSH: Coco-Sabine Meikle, 8, from Titirangi, gets ready to enjoy an Easter egg over the break.

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Whether it was giant hand-crafted chocolate rabbits, generic factory-line eggs or lambs' fry doggy treats for a favourite pooch, this Easter has been a time for indulgence.

But dietitians warn that bigger is not better when it comes to chocolate.

The late positioning of Easter on the calendar has meant more time to save and prepare which has translated into strong chocolate sales.

Some retailers believe more chocolate has been sold than last year, when chocolate consumption in the four weeks leading up to Easter accounted for 13 per cent of the year's total chocolate and seasonal confectionary sales.

Nielsen says almost half the month's sales came in the week before the holiday.

Big sellers include The Warehouse's What a Pig hollow chocolate egg - a $30, 1kg monstrosity which contains 22,400 kilojoules of energy. These eggs contain four times the daily fat and three times the daily energy needs of a typical 10-year-old.

Registered dietitian Hannah Cullinane said treats were an accepted part of Easter but there were creative ways to celebrate that need not include chocolate.

For most people, though, chocolate was the highlight of the holiday weekend, with some boutique chocolate sellers saying they expected to sell out of all stock this Easter.

Schoc Chocolates' owner and chocolatier Murray Langham, of Greytown, said rabbit and egg sales had been up significantly this year, perhaps because of how late Easter falls.

Schoc's Easter crowning achievement is a hand-painted, 62cm tall, 2.5kg hollow rabbit with a basket on its back, selling for $385.

Langham thought this might have been the biggest rabbit for sale in the country but couldn't be sure. "Everyone likes the biggest but the thing with us is it's done with incredibly good-quality chocolate. It's healthier - and some of those others that are around are even hard to melt down."

Auckland's Chocolate Boutique Cafe was also selling more of its unique handmade products and owner Barbara Bicknell said she expected to sell out this year.

The boutique also has 1kg eggs and bunnies for sale.

And the fun this year extends to four-legged friends as well.

National pet store chain Animates has new hazelnut and roasted lambs' fry Easter treats for dogs, which had proven twice as popular as expected.

They come in Easter-themed shapes and marketing manager Jacqui Baigent said about 5000 had been sold nationwide.

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This was about twice what was expected.

- Sunday Star Times

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