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The ‘Healthification’ of Confectionery

As the world become ever more health conscious, food brands are racing to fulfil consumers’ new demands. In 2016 we believe the trend towards the “healthification” of confectionery, snacks and sweet treats will really take off – but while they are demanding healthier substitutes, consumers will still expect the same taste and satisfaction.

In the past, few consumers questioned the contents of these items they ate as they simply wanted a moment of indulgence or a sugar hit. Yet, as consumers have become more aware of the negative costs of eating badly (i.e weight gain, diabetes, cholesterol), and as healthy lifestyle choices are becoming more and more fashionable, producers have begun to introduce new options to make their foods healthier, at least in appearance.

Recent statistics from Nielsen that show a huge growth in more “health-conscious” candies in the past few years. Nielsen data shows ‘reduced calorie, calorie free and low calorie’ candy sales have grown 23 times bigger since 2011. Interestingly candies that are focused on beings ‘fat free’ and ‘sugar conscious’ saw much less marked growth.

What this seems to indicate is that consumers while consumers want healthy treats, with less of the negatives, they don’t want ‘diet’ treats – which remove the sense of enjoyment.

As always change happens at the edges and a new wave of small, entrepreneurial brands have led the way. These include:

  • The Marshmallowist which uses natural ingredients to create ‘decadent marshmallows in grown-up flavours’, such as ‘Raspberry and Champagne’ and ‘Passion Fruit and Ginger’
  • Unreal Candy which uses real, sustainably sourced ingredients and less sugar in all its products – prompted by a child asking ‘Why do the foods we love the most have to be so bad for us?’ – they’re on a mission to ‘unjunk’ the world
  • Candy Kittens – well known to any fans of “Made in Chelsea” – this brand makes gourmet gummy candy, using all natural ingredients and real fruit juices whilst also being gluten free

As they see the shift in zeitgeist the big brands are waking up to the need to reimagine what was previously labelled ‘junk’ with a focus on better, more natural ingredients. PepsiCo has announced the launch of Stubborn, a naturally flavored line of sodas, and Hershey announced its milk chocolate bars and Kisses would be GMO-free by the end of 2015.

But this is just the start and we expect this trend to catch fire in 2016… watch this space.

Chiara Rampulla

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