Britons facing high unemployment rates and an economic downturn are reaching for chocolate to cheer them up, helping the Cadbury company to triple its net profit and raise its forecast for the year.

Profits at the group, whose products include Halls sweets and Trident gum, jumped from $113 million in the first six months of last year to $517 million on revenues up 4 per cent to $4.6 billion.

The company said that its performance had been boosted by the increased "stay-at-home culture" enforced by the recession.

"People want to indulge and treat themselves. We are an attractive product in a difficult time," said Todd Stitzer, chief executive of Cadbury’s.

The group is now guiding towards a profit margin rise of 80-100 basis points compared to the 70-80 basis points expected by most analysts.

The strong performance in chocolate was offset by weaker sales of gum, a business which it added with the acquisition of Adams in 2003, as well as candy. Sales of both were static while sales of Halls, the world's biggest sweet brand, declined.

Click here for the full report from The London Times.