Confectionery category growing in innovation

by Staff
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WASHINGTON — Experimenting with flavors, flexibility and variety are ways different confectionery makers are driving innovation in the market, according to the National Confectioners Association’s latest Confectionery Industry Trend Report.

"Insight from the confectionery industry’s leading influentials provides an appetizing future for consumers and the industry alike," said Larry Graham, president of the N.C.A. "Chocolate and confections are treats consumers can count on to be affordable luxuries. Our industry provides people with new choices, new experiences and old favorites that provide moments of happiness to be enjoyed any time."

According to the N.C.A., the next big trend in confections will be healthier confectionery options as there is a growing demand for health benefits and better-for-you ingredients. Portion-controlled treats and the potential heart-health benefits of higher cacao content in chocolate already have become popular with consumers. In fact 35% of industry leaders said portion control was a leading category influencer and 25% said fortified products with added vitamins, minerals or protein were a top influence. In addition, 45% of industry experts said there is an emerging trend toward healthier chocolate options.

Chocolate also will be one of the largest drivers of growth in the category, and it will appear more frequently as a key ingredient in main courses such as salmon, chicken and steak. The emphasis on versatility also will mean more of an emphasis on global influences and flavor pairings.

"From its potential health benefits to its organic roots and inclusion as an ingredient in many types of sweet and savory foods, we have only begun to experience the versatility of chocolate," said Susan Smith, senior vice-president of N.C.A.’s chocolate council.

In addition, consumers will become more knowledgeable about the origin of their chocolate. Most in the industry believe Europe will be the origin for international confectionery trends now and in the coming years with Japan set to be an emerging influence as well.

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