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Flavour complexity and artisanship driving US confectionery market

By Jane Byrne , 15-Mar-2010
Last updated the 17-Mar-2010 at 09:07 GMT

Flavour complexity, artisanship and nostalgia are the overarching consumer trends driving innovation shifts in the US confectionery market, claims an industry overview.

A report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts notes that America’s love of sweets is coming of age with consumers increasingly more sophisticated and demanding when it comes to confectionery purchases.

According to “Confections and Dessert: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” while US consumers seek comfort in the sweets of childhood, they still want treats that reflect current interest in bold flavour profiles and higher-quality ingredients.

Exotic flavours

Consumers in both the Generation Y and boomer categories are seeking excitement from sweets that reflect a global palate of exotic and varietal fruits, with Japanese imports performing well, as well as a savoury and sweet combination flavour profiles, states the report.

And salty sweets such as salted caramel and chocolate bacon sweets, notes the report, are making their way into the American mainstream, as consumers embrace innovative tastes.

Artisan products

Moreover, found the market analysts, sweets that are handmade with well-chosen ingredients and reflecting current values in local and sustainable production are winning over more and more consumers in the US, but affordability is still a requisite.

Micro-batch chocolate is becoming a feature stateside, they note, with small, artisan manufacturers turning chocolate-making into an art form, report the researchers, with an emphasis on socially conscious, environmentally friendly means of production.

Confectionerynews.com recently reported on how flavour innovation has been driving new product development in a relatively mature European chocolate, chewing gum and sugar confectionery market with antioxdant-rich fruits coming to the fore.

Natural

And across the region the trend for natural and additive free has taken hold, with companies phasing out new ingredients or launching new lines on an all natural platform, reported Leatherhead Food Research analysts in the publication Food and Beverage Trends in Western Europe.

In terms of sugar confectionery, the market analysts note that the fruit flavours appearing more frequently in sweets are blueberry and cranberry boosted by their antioxidant-rich reputation, while a growth in medicated confectionery is spurring the emergences of honey and lemon infused flavours.

And they also report a rising number of new product launches containing liquorice, with the UK based researchers noting increased consumer interest in the ingredient as a result of its healthy image.

Shift to sour

According to the data, there has been a notable shift to sour flavours also in the European sugar confectionery market, and this is being felt most strongly in the children’s sector.

“Sour flavours hold a particular appeal for children, many of which are seeking a more intense taste experience,” report the analysts.

Some global confectionery brands, they add, have been adapting their products to local fruit varieties, with a seabuckthron flavoured filled sweet launched in Germany by Kaiser in 2008.

Some of the more recent trends in chocolate confectionery flavours include spices such as cardamom and ginger, particularly in Germany and France. Raspberry and cranberry flavours having also been coming to the fore in this segment, said the researchers.

And tropical flavours such as mango and passion fruit, they continue, have maintained a good presence in recent years in both the chocolate and sugar confectionery categories.

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