Datagraphics

Sugar scare fails to sweeten US sugar-free candy sales

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

America's sugarless confectionery sales decline in H1. Photo: CN, Data: IRI
America's sugarless confectionery sales decline in H1. Photo: CN, Data: IRI
Sugar-free chocolate and candy sales in the US have declined in the first half of 2017 despite consumers aiming to limit sugar in their diets.

This comes even as the overall US chocolate and sugar confectionery markets are growing.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll​ of 1,883 adult Americans, conducted between 15-21 of January 2016, found 58% of people tried to limit sugar intake in the past 30 days.

Russell-Stover-launches-first-sugar-free-chocolate-line_strict_xxl
Russell Stover is the leader in US sugar-free chocolate with a 73% value share in H1 2017. It recently expanded its range to add products sweetened with stevia (pictured). Photo: RS

But IRI data shows in the first half of the year (26 weeks ending 26 June 2017) dollar sales for sugar-free chocolate was down -1.93% and unit sales were down -5.9% compared to the same period last year.

The overall chocolate market was up +2.5% in value and +1.6% in volume over this time.

Sugar-free chocolate

The top three companies in sugar-free chocolate – Russell Stover, Hershey and Whitman’s - all recorded sales declines for operations in this sub-segment.

Russell Stover’s sugar-free chocolate – the leading US brand in sugar-free chocolate by some distance – recorded a -3.35% decline in dollars sales and lost market share.

The Lindt-owned brand earlier this year introduced its first sugar-free chocolates sweetened with stevia extract​. Its existing range uses sweeteners such as malitol and sucralose.

Top US sugar-free chocolate brands

sugar free top seven chocolate us

[Source: IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm (@iriworldwide​), H1 2017, Total U.S. Multi-Outlet w/ C-Store (Supermarkets, Drugstores, Mass Market Retailers, Gas/C-Stores, Military Commissaries and Select Club & Dollar Retail Chains)].

However, Lily Sweets experienced strong growth (+96% in dollar sales) for its sugar-free chocolate brand in H1, taking sales over the period to $2m.

Sugar-free chocolate’s share of the overall US chocolate dollar sales in H1 fell to just 0.86%.

Average prices for sugar free chocolate in H1 were static at $2.52 per unit, compared to $1.99 for the overall chocolate segment.

us sugar free chocolate

Sugar-free candy

Non-chocolate sugar-free diet candy also experienced declines in the US.

Segment dollar sales declined -5.65 and unit sales dropped -9.74% for the 26 weeks ending 26 June 2017.

The overall non-chocolate segment increased dollar sales by +4.47% and +3.68% over the same period.

sugar free candy iri

The leader US sugar free candy - Storck USA’s sugar-free Werther’s Original – posted flat dollar sales after raising prices, but volume sales for its brand were down -9%.

Number two brand in the segment, Wrigley’s sugar-free Lifesavers, also recorded a -7% decline in both volume and value sales.

Private label sugar-free candy registered the biggest drop, falling -15% in dollar sales and -16% in unit sales.

Sugar-free diet candy lost share in the non-chocolate market to make up just 1.24% of dollar sales.

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2 comments

Here is the ANSWER!

Posted by Gerry Morrison Founder,

AlluLite Chocolate, Allulose based Chocolate see www.allulite.com

Coming in October..Game Changer!

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Sugar Free Chocolate

Posted by Phillip Gelman,

As a vendor of sugar free chocolates, I can understand the decline of the category: it is not shown as a category in drug & C-stores. It is a self-perpetuating cycle: No show, no sell
With all the diabetics and morbidly obese people, a good showing of sugar free candy in its own section, should generate sales

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