Confectioners respond to consumer health trip: ‘It’s not like in the past’, says ISM organizer

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

ISM organizer sees more sugar free and natural products at Europe's premier sweets fair. Pallas' Zero Candies Pictured.
ISM organizer sees more sugar free and natural products at Europe's premier sweets fair. Pallas' Zero Candies Pictured.

Related tags: Confectionery

ISM show organizer Koelnmesse says confectioners are responding to growing consumer concerns on health, noting a surge in free-from and sugar free products.

The International Sweets and Biscuits Fair (ISM) - the world’s largest confectionery trade fair - was held in Cologne, Germany from 1-4 February and attracted 37,000 visitors and 1,513 exhibitors.

The venue, Koelnmesse, welcomed 37 more exhibitors and around 2,000 more visitors than in 2014.

Trend to healthy or wellbeing products

“This time we can see a trend towards healthy or wellbeing products. For instance, products free from sugar or free from whatever or vegan products are really a trend,”​ Dietmar Eiden, vice president of Koelnmesse, told ConfectioneryNews.

“Consumers are on a healthy trip. It’s not like in the past. It’s not just to get sweets that are delicious – they have another thinking today. They want products that are delicious and are also healthy.

He said families were increasingly focused on what confectionery products they gave their kids. "It’s important to give them products where you don’t need to go to the dentist three weeks afterwards.”

Sugar free offerings

In ISM’s exhibitor search database, 265 exhibitors or 18% reported that they offered ‘sugar free’ products. There were also 209 companies that said they were exhibiting ‘natural’ products.

A recent study commissioned by the GNT Group found that around a third of people pay attention to whether there are artificial ingredients in their confectionery.

Clean label and natural

Sophie De Lathouwer, general manager of Barry Callebaut’s decoration business IBC Belgium, said retailers were increasingly looking for e-number free products, colors from natural origins and wanted manufacturers to move away from colors in the Southampton study that were linked to hyperactivity in children.

“Clean label is already a trend that has been going on for a long time,“ ​she said. “You see it in every aspect of the food industry. Nowadays you see more retailers who give the support to consumers to scan the products to see the full list and what’s in it.

“You don’t need to scare consumers – if it’s an e-number, it’s an e-number, you just declare it, but also give it a name. Don’t give it only the e-number.”

She said manufacturers needed to work more closely with retailers to explain that not all e-numbers were damaging to health.

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1 comment

How "sweet"

Posted by Samuel,

How "sweet," I love the fact that they're going for more sugar free snacks!

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