The sweets and confectionery industry is going through revolutionary changes as consumers look for lower calories, sugar and healthier ingredients in their indulgent break from hectic lives. Sweet snacks, which include cakes, ice cream, cookies and pastries, account for 21% of packaged food sales globally, according to Euromonitor International. This makes it an important part of the industry especially as younger consumers eat more snacks than full meals. A group of leading chocolate and candy makers representing about half of the US market announced that half of their individually wrapped products will have no more than 200 calories by 2022. The companies include Mars Chocolate, Wrigley, Nestlé, Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Ferrero.
The goals: transparency & education
The move follows previous campaigns to remove artificial colors, limit sugar intake, introduce smaller portions and make labels more transparent. Over the past decade we have been laser-focused on continuously pushing ourselves and our peers to offer consumers more choice and transparency while keeping the same great tastes and experiences our fans love, Tracey Massey, president of Mars Chocolate North America said when the company announced the initiative. The next step for the industry will be to educate consumers that sweets are a treat and cannot substitute a meal. In terms of trends, chocolate in bars, boxes and bags continue to represent a larger share of the sweets market compared to non-chocolate chewy candy, according to a research by IRI. But a growing number of products feature now healthier ingredients such as grains, fruits, oats and nuts.
On holiday and beyond
Holiday-themed sweets continue to be very popular. Manufacturers are looking beyond the usual holiday windows to create more opportunities for consumption. And supermarket stores are opening to new ideas including imported sweets like the traditional Italian Panettone, which is very popular at Christmas and is becoming a regular presence on US supermarket shelves 12 months of the year.