Sweets & Snacks Expo

How are gummy brands setting themselves apart in a saturated category?

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: D. Ataman
Source: D. Ataman

Related tags Sweets & Snacks Expo Gummy better for you

While intense sour and bold fruity flavors have helped brands carve out a space in the crowded gummy category, brands look towards variety mixes and cross-brand partnerships to attract ongoing retailer and consumer attention, according to several segment stakeholders showcasing at the Sweets & Snacks Expo last week.

Within the $1.7bn market​, gummies are driven by brands’ flavor innovation, better-for-you offerings, creative marketing and a flexibility around consumers’ shifting preferences. As part of the $19.2bn non-chocolate candy segment, which saw a 12.1% year-over-year sales growth from 2023, the gummy market needs more diversified strategies to build its momentum.

Peelerz invites an interactive gummy experience

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Source: D. Ataman

Popularized on TikTok Shop, which provides users with samples, Amos' Peelerz provides consumers with two textures in its peelable gummy 'snacktivity​' candy. Made with real fruit juice, the outside 'shell' of the candy can be pulled off to reveal a softer gel layer inside in mango, banana, orange and peach flavors. 

Peelerz received the Most Innovative Product Award at this year's show for its "playful twist on enjoying the beloved fruit," according to the company.

Made from juice concentrates and artificial flavors, Peelerz's comes in 2.19 ounce bags and the candies contain 16 grams of added sugars and 100 calories per serving (six pieces).

Albanese, Vegobears recreate the fruit experience using better-for-you ingredients

Albanese featured its True to Fruit gummy bear line during the show, which is “like eating the fruit,” the company’s Co-President Bethany Shelhart told FoodNavigator-USA.

Made with natural flavors, the True to Fruit mix features “American favorite fruits” in Bing cherry, white peach, strawberry, watermelon and Honeycrisp apple, among others, Shelhart explained.

The brand featured its Lower Sugar line of gummy bears and worms, which are sweetened with allulose and contain 2 grams of sugar. Considered gentler on the stomach, allulose provides consumers with a better-for-you option “but not compromising on the flavor,” Shelhart said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Swedish brand Vegobears offered its gummies in bulk and private label before pivoting into the CPG space in 2021, the brand’s Vice President of Sales Garret Zaro told FoodNavigator-USA.

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Source: D. Ataman

Vegobears expanded beyond its roots as a “European gummy” characterized by “no high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, [or] GMO,” by sourcing organic ingredients for its vegan gummies made with pectin and starch, Zaro said.

The brand offers three flavors in its 3.5 ounce bags of gummies that are inspired by California Beaches, with a 1.7 ounce bag launched later this year, Zaro added.

For its flavors, Santa Monica Sweet’s traditional gummy bear format features banana, pineapple and strawberry flavors; Malibu Foam features cherry and raspberry flavors, and Venice Beach Sour features lemon, apple and pineapple flavors.

Haribo, Vegobears rely on partnerships for flavor, packaging

To develop flavors for the American consumer, Vegobears relies on recommendations from its third-party manufacturing partner, Zaro explained.

“We try them, we sample them, we pick what we like, and we ask them to develop [it] … if something is new and trending in the US,” he added.

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Source: D. Ataman

Driven by consumer preferences for more product variety in their candy, Haribo’s partnership with Hershey offers a “blend of product in one bag” with a gummy and chocolate mix for Halloween and Easter, Haribo’s Head of Communications Lauren Triffler explained to FoodNavigator-USA.

“Consumers can find their favorite gummy and favorite chocolate all in one bag. We have partnered on Halloween, we partnered on Easter. That is really the theme that we are seeing when consumers are in aisle and they are looking for all their favorites in one bag or in a few bags,” she said.

Triffler continued, “We try to deliver on that and then deliver on different pack types. So whether it is a lay down bag [or] stand up [bag], [it] includes variety within our own bags [around] flavor [and] texture.”

Hi-Chew, Haribo create a different spin on classic products

Known for its sweet, soft and chewy individually wrapped candies, Hi-Chew debuted its gummy line during the show, a move that aligned with the company’s “future growth plans,” Teruhiro Kawabe, President and CEO, Morinaga America, Inc., explained to FoodNavigator-USA. The gummies are expected to launch on Hi-Chew’s website in July and later in retailers.

Inspired by the unwrapped Hi-Chew Bites, which launched last year, the gummies aligned with the same format, Kawabe said.

By highlighting the brand’s existing portfolio of soft candy textures with two layers of flavor, Hi-Chew’s gummy is a softer version of its sister products with the same layered concept.

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Source: D. Ataman

For its first launch of mixed gummy flavors, Hi-Chew opted for “basic fruit flavors” including peach, mango and strawberry, in addition to sour flavors in green apple, pineapple and watermelon that also complement the overall portfolio, he added.

Haribo’s line extension of its classic Goldbears in Wild Berry flavors is the brand’s “biggest launch in our history,” and the first time the brand expanded the Goldbears line, Triffler explained.

The company leaned heavily on berry as the “number two flavor profile in the confectionery category,” as well as consumer feedback on the pilot launch of Wild Berry last year, she said.

“Nowhere in the world has different flavors of Goldbears. It is [now] a permanent item … consumers loved it so much … we saw comments all over social and directly to us, ‘Please bring this back. I love it,’ … and it is just a different spin on a classic,” she added.

                                                                                                                                          

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