With consumers becoming more health conscious, many foods and beverages popular in the past are now vilified for their lack of nutrition, overly processed formulations and questionable additives. The high sugar content of candy would seemingly make these products inherently maligned, but many candy manufacturers have acknowledged the shift in consumer attitudes about production processes and candy ingredients, and thus are evolving to ensure that products are in tune with consumer preferences, according to research from Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.
In the past few years, large candy companies have made promises to clean up their products. Nestlé, for example, has committed to removing artificial flavors and certified colors from chocolate candy products; Hershey’s website provides details on all of its ingredients, offering consumers full transparency and responsible sourcing details; and Mars has mapped out a plan to source natural flavors that meet safety and taste criteria as it commits to removing artificial flavors from its products.
All this effort to satisfy consumer demands will help the U.S. confectionery market rebound after slightly sluggish sales in 2016. By 2020, Packaged Facts expects sales of confectionery products in the U.S. to exceed $41 billion for the first time. Chocolate candy is forecast to account for 60 percent of the confectionery market’s sales in 2020. Packaged Facts also points out that the U.S. confectionery market is quite dynamic with a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers.
Products to Watch
The Jelly Belly Candy Co., well known for an unmatched range of jelly bean flavors, now offers Jelly Belly Candy Cones, a line of ice cream-flavored treats. The assortment features miniature replicas of ice cream cones in five classic ice cream flavors: chocolate, mint chip, orange sherbet, strawberry and vanilla. Each candy cone piece has a waffle cone flavor at the bottom with one of the five ice cream flavors on top. They have a smooth texture much like candy corn, never coarse, always creamy.
Lovely Candy Co. -- known for its line of consciously crafted sweet treats featuring premium ingredients free of high fructose corn syrup, gluten, GMOs and artificial ingredients and flavors -- has expanded its portfolio with new organic offerings. The multi-category products include lollipops, fruit chews, hard candies and mints. In addition, Lovely is launching OnOs -- a first-to-market organic product featuring smooth chocolate pieces in a candy-coated shell, which are available in milk chocolate, dark chocolate and almond dark chocolate flavors.
Gummies are big these days. Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Co. Inc., brings innovation to the gummy category with the unveiling of Ring Pop Gummy Gems. Bringing the Ring Pop-inspired shape to gummy form, each gem offers a sweet gummy outside filled with a splash of sour, juicy gel on the inside. Consumers can experience all four two-in-one flavor combinations in each package. They are: blue raspberry watermelon, cherry apple, lime blue raspberry and tropical pineapple orange.