CENTRE OF DEBATE: Nutella has 'the nutritional properties of a chocolate bar'.

London - It has been a breakfast staple for generations.

But marmalade is gradually losing favour as more decadent options grow in popularity.

UK sales of chocolate spreads such as Nutella have soared by 39 percent since 2009, reaching £43 million (R550m) a year. At the same time, sales of marmalade have fallen by seven percent to £57m, say industry analysts Mintel.

Although jam still dominates the market, accounting for a third of all sales, these have remained static at £117 million a year.

Sales of peanut butter have risen 16.3 percent to £50 million while honey has jumped 7.3 percent to £103 million.

The prospects are also better for Nutella. While most people who would buy jam already do so, there are plenty of consumers who have not yet tried chocolate spreads, leaving these products with potential to add to sales, a spokesman for Mintel added.

The researchers said the trend could be partly explained by more people missing breakfast because of increasingly busy lifestyles.

At the same time, chocolate spreads are often given to children as a midday or evening snack, while marmalade is traditionally seen as being eaten only at breakfast time. – Daily Mail