Sweet Confectionery Still Driven by Indulgence

Global sales of confectionery products were worth USD85.8bn in 2017 and expected to reach around USD100bn by 2022, according to Innova Market Insights.

Across the 10 highest consuming nations for both sugar confectionery and gum, consumption is increasing, with CAGRs ranging from 0.5% to 3.0% over the 2010-2022 forecasted period. “While concerns about the unhealthiness of sugar confectionery are apparent when consumers are questioned, this does not necessarily relate to their actual purchasing or consumption habits,” reported Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

The three leading drivers of choice are flavor, cost, and indulgence. Indulgence is the key factor that Italian, French and Russian consumers pay importance to when buying sugar confectionery. In other countries, flavor and cost are more important considerations.

Beyond these three factors when buying sugar confectionery, certain health aspects may have an influence on the choice of one product over another. While sugar-free gum has been around for many years, sugar-free confectionery as a whole has yet to become such an established sector. According to Innova Market Insights data, just 6% of sugar confectionery launches in the 12 months to the end of June 2018, used a sugar-free positioning, compared with over two-thirds of gum introductions.

Across the 19 countries surveyed by Innova Market Insights, an average 24% of respondents claimed to be influenced by a sugar confectionery product’s sugar content and a similar amount by whether the product is natural or not. This means that around three-quarters of respondents across the 19 countries were not influenced by sugar content, therefore there are still a minority of people who look for these products.

With a greater focus on sugar intake, however, companies are making concerted efforts to reduce sugar in their products. According to Innova, sugar reduction is a bigger trend than sugar-free as it offers more scope for manufacturers and is less impactful on the taste of the finished product.

“Given the growing momentum behind reducing sugar intake, some may argue that sugar confectionery and to a lesser extent gum is on shaky ground,” noted Williams.

“However, these products are enjoyed the world over and there are plenty of ways in which companies can head off any future downturn in consumption and sales,” she added.

Key will be the creation of interest and excitement in the category and giving consumers a reason to purchase their products over other snack foods perhaps perceived to be healthier. “The use of flavor will continue to be important to achieve this, but there is also a need to switch to natural flavors following the move to natural colors. Companies can also look to use more indulgent premium flavors, targeting the adult market with more value-added premium-style offerings,” Williams concluded.

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