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Tangerine says modern additive needs are key to ‘classic’ candy push

By Neil Merrett , 04-Jun-2009

In its strategy to revamp ‘cult’ sweet brands thought lost to bygone eras, UK-based confectioner Tangerine says it continues to focus on products that are seemingly classic, yet innovative in their formulation.

The manufacturer, which produces various popcorn, sugar candy and chocolate brands, has made a play in recent years to re-establish so called ‘Iconic’ UK brands to tap into nostalgic consumer trends in the country.

Most recently, the company has been generating headlines by pushing products like the Sherbet Fountain brand and Anglo Bubbly bubblegum, while also adapting the formulations to modern tastes amidst concerns over additives and flavourings.

Functional demand

Despite UK interest in traditional brands, on a global basis, consumers are increasingly looking to confectionery with reduced levels of sugar and possible functional benefits that may be more beneficial to health.

According to findings from analyst Business Insights, European countries in particular are showing strong growth rates in the functional and healthy confectionery sector and are expected continue to do so.

While non-chocolate sugar confectionery brands are seen at the forefront of products meeting functional demand, similar data by AC Nielsen/Euromonitor suggests its position seems to be weakening. In 2007, these product accounted for 39.5 per cent of sales in the segment, a decrease of over 6 per cent from three years previously, states the research.

Tangerine targets

In adapting to this market place, Tangerine claims that it has moved to balance providing seemingly traditional brands with updated formulations to bridge the gap between new and classic products.

“Consumers are always interested in trying new products, but they also feel a great deal of nostalgia for classic confectionery,” claims the company. “We are reflecting these consumer preferences by updating many of our confectionery classics to ensure they are made with natural colours and flavours so that they continue to satisfy consumer nostalgia but also reflect the high quality production values that they expect.”

In taking heed of consumer feedback, the company claims to have also obtained Halal approval for the majority of its products alongside a policy of using no-added salt in its goods to better meet wider needs.

Nostalgic needs

It is not just Tangerine that claims to be reaping the rewards of looking to older and even discontinued brands to boost their fortunes in the UK confectionery market though.

Last year, Cadbury announced it was bringing its 1980s bubble-filled chocolate bar Wispa back onto confectionery shelves on a permanent basis.

On the market for 20 years, production of Wispa bars ceased in 2003 due to poor sales. But pleas by thousands of fans on social networking sites, such as Facebook, inspired Cadbury to bring a trial batch of the bars to market.

The firm said at that 20 million Wispa bars were sold in a matter of weeks in 2007, shooting the product to the top of the chocolate charts.

Nostalgia-driven consumer demand may continue to hold some sway over the confectionery behemoths.

In a online survey conducted in the UK back in 2008, a YouGov poll of 2,200 consumers for the Superbrands group revealed consumers placed the rebranding of the Mars' Snickers bar back to the original Marathon brand in second place, in addition, they are keen to see Starburst sweets returned to the previous brand of Opal Fruits.

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