Although health is normally not a key driver in confectionery purchasing and consumption, the rising level of interest in naturalness has been making an impact on the confectionery sector and driving the move to “clean labeling.” Nearly 9.5% of all confectionery launches recorded by Innova Market Insights in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2012, used natural or additive-/preservative-free claims or both. This made it the most popular health claim overall for confectionery.
Sugar-free/low-sugar/no-added-sugar claims were featured on just fewer than 9% of introductions, organic on 3.3%, and low fat on just fewer than 2%. Levels of interest in natural and additive-/preservative-free claims are higher in the more developed markets, particularly in the United States and Western Europe where they accounted for 16% and 15% of total confectionery introductions, respectively.
Sugar confectionery and chocolate both featured a similar number of launches using natural and additive- or preservative-free claims, but their influence was far more significant for sugar confectionery, as they accounted for over 15% of total launches, compared with 9% for chocolate.
A recent development that could also help in the drive for clean-label confectionery has been the growing use of the natural sweetener stevia, which gained approval in the United States and Australasia in 2008, and in the EU in 2011. Confectionery launches featuring stevia have risen sharply, more than quadrupling over a 1-year period.
Lu Ann Williams, Research Manager at Innova Market Insights, confirms that interest in naturalness, all-natural ingredients, and the elimination of artificial additives has continued to be an area of considerable interest in the food and drinks market. “Looking at levels of new product activity, this trend seems set to continue, not only in the introduction of new clean-label lines, but perhaps more significantly in the reformulation of existing market-leading brands to meet clean-label criteria,” said Williams.
Press release (pdf)