We asked several industry voices if functional confectionery has the potential to go mainstream or if healthy chocolate, gum and candy is a misnomer reserved for niche health stores.
Henri Kamphuis, quality and technology director of Cargill Cocoa and Chocolate
“For us chocolate is an indulgence. It’s really about taste. If you look to the health potential, there are some minor components in cocoa which might have a health potential - there has been a lot of literature around it - but for us it’s really about the indulgence and the taste of the final chocolate.”
Rinus Heemskerk, global director of innovation at ADM Cocoa:
“Consumers buy our products because they like them, not because they want to be healthier. It’s very much a niche area and it’s very much outside Europe than inside Europe because of legislation. You can say things a lot easier in other countries than you can in Europe, where the legislative environment is more restrictive.”
Thomas Jahn marketing manager for private label gum firm Fertin Pharma
“I think functional gum definitely has the potential to go mainstream, but one of the key success criteria is that consumers slowly build this idea that you can get active ingredients out of chewing gum. It’s easy to believe in drinks, but [with gum] you still have this residue of chewing gum in your mouth. Although our tests show all active ingredients get out, we still think consumers are the key to the next step. Wrigley launching an energy gum to the market is a big step in the right direction.”
Adrian Sagman, vice president of international sales and marketing at Carmit Candy
“We’ve seen that niche markets like gluten free has moved onto every shelf in every supermarket across the globe and we really see that functional confectionery is moving that way as well. People are looking for novel way to take different supplements. There is a lot of tablet tiredness. The number one health claim that we see is weight management. But then as a diversified it can go into children looking for calcium and bone health to adults that are looking for high antioxidants.”
Aurélie De Schuyteneer, marketing manager of protein chocolate maker PYC Laboratoire
“I would like it to move into mainstream markets, but like all the protein products it’s better to use them with doctors and advice so in specialized stores – this is what I recommend”.
Scott Bush of DuPont Nutrition & Health, supplier of probiotics to confectioners
“Obviously it’s going to carry a higher price to put the probiotics in than the bar next to it without. So the person who is going to pay for this is probably middle-class, educated, goes on the internet to understand what they can do to improve their health in the products their consuming. If a wife and mother is going to deliver a dessert to their child that’s going to be sweet, she might decide that ‘Hey, I want to give my child something that’s going to satisfy their sweet tooth, but at the same time give them something that’s good for them.”
Sofie De Lathouwer, marketing director, Food Manufacturers Western Europe for Barry Callebaut
"We see an increased demand with our customers in the field of chocolate with functional or health benefits. However, this is rather a new market which needs to develop further. Nevertheless, the obesity concern is on the rise and we get more questions than ever on how to tackle this in confectionery - among other segments such as biscuits and cereals."