Exclusive: Innova Market Insights reveals World Confectionery Conference trends on health and indulgence

Innova Market Insights keynote presentation at the World Confectionery Conference has unveiled major trends of health and indulgence influencing the global confectionery sector in 2021, reports Neill Barston.

As the research group’s analyst Myrthe de Beukelaar noted, the coronavirus pandemic has brought about two conflicting trends of a focus on wellbeing and a rise in luxury treats, which has delivered opportunities for the industry.

Among the organisation’s key findings from the past year has been a study revealing that a total of 54% of consumers are seeking confectionery that is considered as a healthier option. To view Innova’s full presentation, you can register here.

“Our health and nutrition study carried out in 2020 reveals, more than half consumers say they want to choose a healthier alternative whenever they have a treat. So this brings challenges in new product formulation, so it’s interesting to explore how this is tackled in new product innovation.

“Sugar reduction continues to be one of the most sought after in healthier purchasing decisions, making this a significant focus for better-for-you development,” explained de Beukelaar, noting that products such as Simply smoothie bites in the US, were increasingly turning to natural fruit-based sweetness, using strawberries and bananas.

She added that consumers expectations are expanding in terms of the quality of product ranges, and what is possible in terms of delivering natural flavours and tastes.

Moreover, consumer trends appear to be moving towards not just healthier indulgence, but the delivery of product ranges that are better for all in terms of being better for the environment.

As reported last week by Confectionery Production, Innova has named transparency in delivering clean label products and clear business operating standards has emerged as a clear winner in its Top Trends for 2021, with customers more keen than ever to track precisely where their produce and ingredients come from.

This was followed closely by a growing movement of creating plant-based product ranges, including for confectionery, with the third biggest trend being a desire for personalised nutrition. After that, the fourth largest trend growth was in ‘omni channel’ eating habits, as consumers want to eat what they want wherever they want. In fifth spot stood the development of series that offer immune system boosting probiotics – which we have previously highlighted.

As regards product development, the analyst highlighted several notable areas including chocolate bars created with high levels of protein, such as Germany’s Lovechock Organic raw bars, ‘Keto diet’ speciality chocolate, such as that offered by The Good Chocolate with its latest mini bar series, and Woolworths Plantitude, meringue nests made from chickpeas.

On sustainable ranges, de Beukelaar added: “Positive emotions can be a marketing strategy for consumers – with 38% of people globally would consider a sustainable or more ethical product because it makes them feel good. So for example, consumers can feel happier about a ‘This Saves Lives’ chocolate bar, where the purchase of a bar results in one packet of life-saving being donated to a child in need,” notes the analyst, who adds that other environmental measures, such as Lindt among the first confectionery groups to use dried cocoa pulp, teaming up with the Koa venture to make full use of the cacao fruit, which until recently, had not been tackled at scale.

Furthermore, in terms of wider product trends, she added that around three in five consumers would consider purchasing product ranges that benefit the immune system in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, which has placed wellbeing on an elevated position as consumers look to especially protect their health as much as possible.

Beyond health considerations, the Innova analyst added that three in five consumers are also looking to try some innovative confectionery ranges offering new sensory experiences and flavours, which has seen an emerging trend for imaginative flavour series begin to emerge as companies gradually emerge from the pandemic.





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