Consumers show a growing preference for creative confectionery products featuring unexpected flavors and textures, as well as those that include “better-for-you” ingredients. Developing new and novel ideas is only half the challenge for product developers; the other is sourcing ingredients that will satisfy consumer demand for natural colors and flavors while delivering elevated taste and texture.
We talked with Cecile Gauriau, Global Confectionary EUM Manager at Chaucer Foods, about how product developers can balance demands for both healthy and indulgent attributes in confectionery products.
1. What trends are you observing in the confectionery market today?
Today’s consumers have an appetite for novelty, and are increasingly expecting more from their confectionery products. Confectionery brands are focusing on the visual presentation, adding vibrant colors and indulgent inclusions and toppings, to attract consumer attention and give their products a premium look. Texture and taste remain as important as always, and brands are experimenting with bolder flavor pairings, like sweet and spicy or sweet and sour, to create interest.
2. What kinds of new product innovations are you seeing in the confectionery market?
New cake, muffin and brownie products are getting more and more “gourmand,” adding sweet baked toppings and inclusions to create surprise textures and flavors. Confectionery brands are also showing impressive flavor innovation in chocolate and other candies. Examples include cocktail flavored candy, chili chocolate, and even fruits and vegetables in chocolate to appeal to more health-conscious consumers. Small portion sizes – including bite-size and snack-size formats – are another popular area of innovation, offering both added convenience and a way for consumers to indulge in moderation.
3. How is the demand for better-for-you options influencing the confectionery market?
Consumers still want to indulge, just in healthier ways. Many new products emerging on the confectionery market are tied to well-being, offering nutritional benefits linked to immunity, energy, skin health, and more. Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners are also coming under increased scrutiny, so confectionery brands are innovating with a focus on reducing sugar content, or relying on fruit ingredients for a natural sweetening effect.
Consumers are also looking for simpler ingredient labels. The addition of natural, recognizable ingredients such as freeze-dried fruit can elevate a confectionery product to gourmet status. When compared with traditionally dried fruits, freeze-dried fruits offer superior texture, natural color and real fruit flavor without any artificial preservatives, colors or additives. The natural sweetness of our freeze-dried fruits can even replace highly refined sugar components, contributing to a healthier product.
4. Are you seeing any new flavor or ingredient trends emerge?
New flavors and ingredients linked to the better-for-you trend include citrus, ginger, and even some vegetables that can be blended with other ingredients to create products with a well-rounded flavor profile and added nutrition.
Novel inclusions, such as our sweet baked ingredients, are also helping NPD teams innovate new premium options. Chaucer offers a variety of sweet baked toppings, crumbs and inclusions, which are perfect for adding texture and indulgence to confectionery and chocolate products. Seasonal products, like our gingerbread pieces, can be used to add a sense of occasion to limited editions.
All of our baked selections are made with authentic, traditional ingredients. No artificial preservatives are added during the baking or drying process, so they are aligned with demand for simpler, clean label ingredients. Best of all, our baked selections have a low water content, which means they can be easily added to a variety of product formulations without compromising your current recipe.
5. Are you working on any new confectionery applications for baked or freeze-dried?
Consumers love color, so we are exploring new ways to leverage the natural bright colors of our freeze-dried fruit products in sweet bakery and confectionery items. New applications include colored chocolate, fillings for cakes and bars, and premium fruit jellies.
Whether you’re working on something new, or adjusting to new trends, our R&D team is constantly developing new application ideas and creating ingredient solutions that add real value for our customers. Learn more about how our savory baked and freeze-dried ingredients can a premium flair to sweet applications, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to speak with a member of our team.