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, according to a new report from Leatherhead Food Research.
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, report the analysts in the new publication Food and Beverage Trends in Western Europe.
Snacks, bakery and confectionery account for a third of flavours consumption worldwide, while ready meals represent the largest segment for flavourings with a share of around 28 per cent. Global usage of flavourings by the food and drink industry was worth between $6.5bn and $7bn in 2008, having risen by around 2 per cent per annum in recent years, states the report.
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.
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.
Delivering sensory experiences through gum is high on the agenda for chewing gum manufacturers by way of flavour flecks and liquid filling. Intense flavours and mint-fruit combinations are dominating but raspberry, mango, lime, papaya, peach, apricot and melon are some of the flavours coming to the fore in this sector.
“Innovation in chewing gum across Europe tends to spread quality and evenly across the markets as the result of a handful of companies dominating the category,” said the analysts.