Will Candy Sales Be Impacted by the Growing Health Trend?
The candy industry seems to be completely immune to the effects of the growth in consumers who are interested in making healthier eating choices. Despite the consumer demand for better-for-you options, the candy industry saw a 2.7% growth in 2015, especially in convenience stores where impulse purchases are usually made. But, although these numbers may seem to prove that the health trend has had no impact on the candy industry, that’s not the case, as shown by these candy trends driving growth:
Candies that feature reusable packaging have seen an annual growth rate of around 10% over the last few years. Why? As consumers begin to eat healthier, they still want to have the option to indulge, but with controlled portions. Having a reusable package allows consumers to take a few nibbles, seal up the bag, and eat more later so they don’t overindulge. This also appeals to the consumers who are constantly on-the-go and want to snack in their cars, at work or as they multitask at home.
A survey done by the National Confectioners Association found that 70% of consumers occasionally switch from milk to dark chocolate when purchasing candy. In fact, 57% of consumers say they switch to a higher cocoa percentage (thus, a darker chocolate) when they are trying to make healthy choices. This shows that although consumers do give into temptation and purchase sweets, they still do so with a healthy mindset. If this trend continues, food distributors may notice that the chocolate marketplace, which is typically dominated by milk chocolate, could start to swing more towards dark chocolate offerings.
What else do consumers look for when they’re trying to make a healthy chocolate choice? Dried fruits and nuts. This same survey showed that 41% of consumers scan chocolate bars for added fruits and nuts so that they feel they have made the healthiest choice available to them. This allows consumers to indulge without feeling too guilty, since there is some nutritional content in the product. Food distributors may have noticed that in other industries, consumers have been attracted to new and exotic flavors, and this trend is slowly making its way into the candy industry as well. Expect to see chocolates with unusual additions such as hot red peppers, ginger or lavender to tap into the healthier, adventurous eater market.
The gourmet chocolate market has seen consistent double-digit growth over the last several years. One segment that has recently taken off is the premium chocolate products that are organic, GMO-free or fair trade. This shows that customers are willing to spend more on chocolate products that are considered to be healthier or more eco-friendly options.
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