Spanish confectioners to get promotional boost

Related tags Confectionery Lollipop Oral hygiene

The Spanish government is to provide funding for confectionery
producers wishing to promote their products this year. But the cash
is reserved for companies and organisations seeking to improve the
image of sugar confectionery products, a clear indication of the
shift towards 'healthier' eating there, writes Chris Jones.

According to the Spanish Confectionery Producers' Association (CAYCHI), the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has set aside some €23,000 for the promotion of the benefits of confectionery - a product widely considered as unhealthy.

"Numerous studies show that this is simply not true,"​ said CAYCHI. "For example, the onset of tooth decay is more closely linked to poor dental hygiene than the consumption of sweets. As a result, in Nordic countries such as Sweden, Finland or Denmark, where annual confectionery consumption is around 10kg per person, the levels of tooth decay are much lower than those in Spain, where consumption is nearer 3kg per person."

The organisation has run a number of events designed to dispel the 'myth' that confectionery products have little or no nutritional value and simply lead to tooth decay and weight gain.

In 2004 CAYCHI organised the first award ceremony for individuals and companies involved in "making life sweeter"​, with the non-governmental organisation Payasos sin Fronteras (Clowns without Frontiers) emerging as the winner of 600,000 sweets and a €6,000 prize for its work with homeless and refugees.

The NGO, which aims to make life less miserable for the hundreds of thousands of political refugees, homeless and displaced people around the world, distributed sweets to children at all the missions it carried out in 2004 as part of its campaign.

CAYCHI also took part in Spain's National Heart Week, promoting the moderate consumption of confectionery as helping to reduce stress levels, and thus keep blood pressure under control.

CAYCHI's promotional efforts are not limited solely to 'better-for-you' confectionery products, but the growing popularity of sugar-free and functional products (which freshen breath, clear blocked noses and whiten teeth, among other things) means that these are inevitably taking an ever larger share of companies' marketing budgets.

Confectionery is a big part of Spanish consumers' lives, with over 50 per cent of adults eating sugar confectionery on a regular basis according to CAYCHI, and it is this large proportion of adult consumers which is motivating the move towards ever healthier products.

"This segment of the population is increasingly concerned about health and calorie intake, and sugar-free references are ideal for them,"​ said market analysts Euromonitor​. Sugar-free products are moving beyond medicated products and mints and are now to be found among boiled sweets, toffees and lollipops as well.

This has helped revitalise the somewhat old-fashioned image of products such as toffees at the same time, as well as giving new impetus to sectors in long-term decline such as boiled sweets, where sugar-free coffee-flavoured products in particular have proven popular with adults.

Sugar-free lollipops such as Cremosa from Chupa Chups have also brought older consumers into sectors traditionally dominated by younger people.

In the gum market, where the majority of consumers are also children, functional products have led the way in attracting adults. Sugar-free gum sales reached €195 million in 2004, according to Euromonitor, up more than 7 per cent on the pervious year, while functional gums saw sales reach €37.55 million, up by more than 10 per cent.

Related topics Ingredients

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