Forty days of chocolatey temptation that leads to Easter

Supermarket aisles are laden with Easter eggs at this time of year
Supermarket aisles are laden with Easter eggs at this time of year

There is more than a fortnight to go before Easter but I would put a family pack of hot cross buns on the fact that many of you have already scoffed at least one chocolate egg this year.

We are a land of Easter Egg lovers, so much so that entire supermarket aisles are dedicated to the sweet treats but are we overdoing it?

That is the fear of health experts who believe the obsession with stuffing our faces with brittle cocoa-based products is turning us into a nation of fatties.

The National Obesity Forum has warned that some of the best known brands of eggs contain as much as 17 times the recommended daily amount of sugar for young children. You may or may not know that it is advised that youngsters aged between four and six consume no more than 19g of sugar while one giant egg is full of 330g of sugar. It doesn’t matter how sweet your tooth is, that is one hell of a lot of the white stuff - enough even to give Willy Wonka a headache.

Manufacturers argue that the eggs they churn out by their millions are meant to be savoured over time and not to be consumed in one go. To many that well rehearsed line sounds like a textbook example of corporate info-waffle, spouted by people who either don’t have children or, if they do, have hired help to manage their daily calorie intake.

Nearly every parent I know attempts to adhere to the policy of moderation when it comes to food that isn’t fruit or broccoli but, in reality, this isn’t always an option. There can’t be many parents who could honestly tell you that their little darlings never consume more than the recommended amount of sugar, simply because the stuff seems to be everywhere.

Yes, parents have the ultimate responsibility when it comes to what our children put in their mouths but we all need help from big business.

The argument against the early availability of Easter eggs is an old one but one that has a lot of merit. I don’t know about you, but I have never really considered buying eggs in February or early March as I am still recovering from the relentless onslaught that is Christmas but it is clear that many people do, otherwise they would stay in the warehouses and stockrooms of the UK until a week before Easter.

While I am all for forward planning, there really is no point in buying Easter eggs any earlier than the days before the longest weekend of the year, simply because there is no human being that I know who is capable of ignoring any form of confectionery in their cupboards or, if you are really old, your pantry.

There is plenty of chocolate already available to the public, without adding an endless array of eggs and giant foil wrapped bunnies to the mix. I tend to agree with the experts at the Royal Society for Public Health who argue that the grand displays that have loomed large in nearly every supermarket for the past month are causing unnecessary temptation.

Mrs Tapp and I have promised each other that we will monitor our household chocolate consumption more than ever before this Easter.

If we do succeed, it will really will be the sweetest of victories.