Nestlé, Hershey, Mars’ shift to clean snacking fuels US candy market rebound: Packaged Facts

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Pledges for natural colors & flavors and simple formulations to have long-term sales benefits, says Packaged Facts. ©Getty Images/Tammy Jones
Pledges for natural colors & flavors and simple formulations to have long-term sales benefits, says Packaged Facts. ©Getty Images/Tammy Jones

Related tags Flavor Food Taste

Packaged Facts predicts major candy makers’ efforts to satisfy clean-snacking consumers will help the US confectionery market rebound after slightly sluggish sales in 2016.

“Over the past two years, we’ve seen Nestlé commit to removing artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors​ from its chocolate candy products,”​ Packaged Facts said.

“Hershey announced a new commitment to simple ingredients​, transparency, and responsible ingredient sourcing; and Mars mapping out a five-year plan to find natural flavors that meet safety and taste criteria as it commits to removing artificial colors from the human food products in the company’s extensive product portfolio.”

The market research firm expects sales of confectionery products in the US will exceed $41bn for the first time by 2020, while chocolate candy is forecasted to account for 60% of the confectionery market’s sales.

Packaged Facts added the US confectionery market is also dynamic with “a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers.

“There remains consumer devotion to confectionery products and the growing perception of the products as an accessible luxury creates many opportunities to trade the consumer up to premium products.”

“These factors are positives to future sales growth,”​ it said.

What is clean snacking?

Clean snacking is a “balanced approach to nutrition that explores realistic options rather than a more dogmatic philosophy that forbids snacks or sweets altogether,”​ Packaged Facts said in its recent chocolate candy in the US 11th​ edition report.

Many burgeoning areas in the candy industry show the effect of the clean snacking philosophy, including bite-size snacking chocolate in thins and barks, fruit and chocolate snacks, high cacao dark chocolate, and the many new clean label products, Packaged Facts said.

David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, said: “The clean snacking consumer will eat sweet snacks but looks carefully at the type of sweetener, origin of ingredients, and presence of additives, and then optimizes among the available choices.”

“Ongoing research on the many health benefits of dark chocolate opened the floodgates of clean snackers who can enjoy dark chocolate as a health food,”​ he added.

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