Healthier options and plant-based ranges emerge as major 2021 confectionery themes

With the next year set to prove an especially critical one for the sector, research group FMCG Gurus casts a critical eye over the expected trends set to influence confectionery markets. Will Cowling reports.

As the UK-based insights group notes, there are already a number of notable trends forming within the sector, that have placed healthy living, product transparency, and quality of ingredients as being high on the agenda of many consumers.

The following are the top observations by the organisation for key trends:

Proactive Living: Consumers are taking a prevention over cure approach to health. This means that they are actively seeking out ingredients that they associate with offering a health boost. This is something that will create demand for confectionery products that are not just positioned around being free from “bad” ingredients, but also high in functional ingredients.

Safe and Secure: Consumers will want maximum transparency over the ingredients used in confectionery products. This will result in consumers being attentive to the use of local ingredients and recognised ingredients that are known and trusted. Moreover, more importance will be placed on packaging keeping products in optimal condition.

Rediscovering Health: Consumers are more concerned about their immunity than ever before as they question their vulnerability to disease and illness. This will result in consumers seeking out confectionery products that blur the boundaries between food and medicine, wanting products that carry active health claims. When seeking out such products, taste will remain paramount for consumers.

Power of Plants: Demand will continue to grow for confectionery products that carry vegan claims and are plant-based. This is because consumers continue to adjust their dietary plans because of

ongoing concerns about their health and the environment. Whilst plant-based products are associated with being better-for-you, it is crucial that products are deemed to be affordable and indulgent, so that consumers are not trading off on sensory appeal.

Better for You, Not Best for You: It must be remembered that consumers adopt a debit and credit approach to health, seeking out nutritious products on certain occasions to justify moments of uncompromised indulgence on other occasions. This means that snacking occasions within the confectionery market will become increasingly tiered, ranging from being driven purely by health to purely by indulgence.

Natural Blueprint: When seeking out confectionery products, consumers will place a high level of importance on products being natural, containing only ingredients that they deem to be green and clean and real and authentic. This is because consumers want to avoid chemicals that they believe are detrimental to their health in the long-term. As such, natural claims are something that can help make confectionery products appear guilt-free.

Taste First, Think Second: Although consumers are beginning to feel that the worst of the pandemic is over, uncertainty is something that will continue to influence attitudes and behaviours throughout 2021. This is because consumers will be worried about continued waves of the virus. As a result of this, they will turn to confectionery products for moments of escapism, driving demand for experimental and nostalgic flavours.

The Earth is Clear: Consumers believe that the environment is at a tipping point and that levels of damage done may be irreversible. As a result of this, they will continue to adjust their diets in order to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, whilst wanting brands to demonstrate a proactive approach to addressing the environment. This is something that will drive demand for confectionery products positioned around ethical and environmental luxury.

Menu for Me: Personalisation and customisation are seen as the most effective way to maximise health by consumers, who want products that offer maximum efficacy when addressing their specific health needs and goals. Customised confectionery products that are made to order and are promoted around functional ingredients will appeal to these consumers.

Eating Out, Dining In: Consumers are stepping back from daily pressures and are re-evaluating what is important to them. Central to this, consumers are placing greater emphasis on maximising personal relationships with loved ones. This is something that will drive demand for confectionery products that help facilitate such occasions, such as products positioned around sharing.

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