Norwegians are now eating an average of 8.7 kilos of chocolate a year, and Norwegian chocolate maker Freia, now part of the Kraft Foods group, wanted to know more.

About half of chocolate consumers buy chocolates to share with a friend or family, and their relationship to chocolate seems linked to where they live.

Norwegian women were twice as likely to share their sweets as men, and also bore out the stereotype of having an emotional tie to the stuff. Women indulged when seeking comfort or cheer, while men bought a bar to stave off hunger, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

The north of the country showed a clear preference for chocolates around filling or biscuit and the eastern part of the country had a bias for pure milk chocolate. Oslo residents were least likely to share their treats.

Norwegians have also dropped the bar in favour of bite-size assortments, so much so that they have become European leaders in consuming these nuggets. Sales have risen 20% and now make up nearly a third of total chocolate turnover.

Statistics Norway carried out the research.