ISM offers a worldwide showcase of sweets and snacking. Here, we can see all of the consumer trends and innovations emerging in this sector, with sharp differences depending on the region of sale. There is still a lot of room for traditional sweets and snacks, such as candies, caramels, chocolates, lollipops, toffees and more, with real know-how and long histories, but there are a lot of other things happening as well.
Products that consumers are already familiar with are being reformulated and reworked in order to be more natural and less sugary. Innovation is also a hot topic, with new types of snacking (such as cereals and fruits: say “goodbye” to chips and chocolate bars) and lifestyle trends with, for example, Spritz or Piña Colada sweets to go along with a cocktail.
In terms of innovation, big groups are indeed at the forefront but many smaller companies are very creative and original. As well, new flavours, such as spicy sweets and ruby chocolate, are emerging as a treat for both the taste buds and the eyes.
Bérengère Noël, Northern Europe Business Development Director at Sopexa
Sopexa chose 8 trends that may shape your communication strategies
Western Europe is the largest market today, but what about tomorrow?
The global confectionery sector, including chocolate, sweets, and gum, is valued at $156.4 billion in 2016 with a CAGR of 4.6% from 2016 to 2021. Western Europe represents the largest confectionery market with 29.6% of value share but Asia Pacific should record the fastest growth with a CAGR 2016 – 2021 of 7.2%, to become by 2021 the second largest market, ahead of North America.
Source: GlobalData, May 2017
Sugar remains the no.1 public enemy…
In 2017, 32% of American consumers expressed a more negative opinion towards added sugars than in 2016. News articles and headlines, in particular, drive this change in opinion. Between October 2017 and January 2018, the number of articles dedicated to the health impact of sugar is three times higher than the one mentioning the health impact of salt.
Sources: The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2017 Food & Health Survey and Sopexa survey on LexisNexis Online News.
…but sugar becomes a friend when natural AND unrefined
35% of US consumers agree artificial sweeteners are bad for health.
Unlike white sugar, honey, maple syrup or brown sugar are perceived as healthy by consumers in France.
Source: Mintel – US, 2016, France 2015
Art and design is no longer restricted to pastry chefs
With 15.7 million pictures posted on Instagram tagged with #cupcake, 1.3 million with #cakeart and 1.9 million with #cakedesign, everyone can find inspiration, best practices, and tutorials to create its own cake.
Source: Instagram, January 2018
«Crunch ethic» in Western Europe
Consumers are highly attentive to social and ecological concerns, with 50% of Spanish and 43% of German people interested in having a wider variety of ethical sweets. That is the reason why some key players like Ferrero, or smaller ones such as Zotter Blattsalat, have planned to or already use mainly Fairtrade-certified cocoa. The rising demand for ethically produced chocolate is also confirmed by the new report published by ISEAL Alliance, which finds strong business benefits from certification. The claim « Ethical – Fairtade» represents 17% of global launches in chocolate confectionery in 2016.
Sources: GlobalData, May 2017, Lightspeed/Mintel Survey 2016, Mintel GNPD, 2017, ISEAL Alliance
Sweets as a way to relax and share nice moments, even at the office
Candies are integrating workplaces with around 4 000 posts/month associating sweet treats with the workplace on social media. An opportunity already caught by brands like Rolo or Haribo to target indulgence at the office.
Source: E-reputation survey based on English and French social media, Sopexa – Linkfluence
More natural ingredients still expected
More natural ingredients is also expected by Western consumers, such as in Germany where 31% gum chewers would like to see more products without artificial ingredients, with agreement highest amongst young consumers.
Source: Mintel Trend Artificial
100 or 200 Calories, where is the responsible limit?
Leading global chocolate and candy companies announced in May 2017 their commitment to transparency, portion guidance, and consumer education. This commitment states that by 2022 half of the individually wrapped products made by the participating companies will be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. Few months later in January 2018, Public Health England and Change4Life launched a new campaign to get parents feeding their children snacks that come in at under 100 calories – and no more than twice a day.
Sources: National Confectioners Association, Public Health England
Heat and spicy among other exciting flavours expected in China
Exciting flavours as well as new textures are praised in China. 53% of Chinese consumers would like to experience new flavours, and this number increases to 63% amongst young consumers between 25 and 34 years. In this context, last September Mars and JD.com launched sweet and spicy M&M’s in China.
Sources: GlobalData, May 2017, FoodBev.com