Sugar reduction, vegan products or value-added ingredients: the gummy market is growing, and ingredients and equipment are becoming savvier, says Assistant Editor Joseph Clarke
In the non-chocolate confectionery category, gummies and jellies lead the way – and it’s no wonder why. Staples such as gummy bears and jelly babies have been fan favourites for decades now, as producers continue to experiment. Today, consumers want more from their candy. As demands for confectionery that is healthy, value-added, functional or compatible with alternative diets grow, the landscape of candy continues to evolve. Besides candy that can boast reduced sugar or vitamins and minerals that enrich offerings, the rule for candy remains unchanged: it has to look and taste good.
The State of the Industry 2023 report from the National Confectioners Association reported a total of $15.4 billion sales in the non-chocolate category alone, a 13.8% increase in sales. This is in spite of ‘economic pressures’ valued in the report, pertaining to consumers’ perception of candy being an affordable, beloved treat that is permissible. In short? Candy sales are growing and will continue to grow. 78% of consumers surveyed in the report said that eating chocolate and candy makes them happy.
A number of key drivers have contributed to the growth of these markets. Their role as an on-the-go snack and popularity as a sugar-free sweet have meant a growing number of US consumers are reaching for these candies. Experimentation in this segment has included different combinations of flavours and colours, as the growth in this area has led producers to look at expanding their product portfolios and being able to better, flexibly respond to demands such as sugar reduction or sugar free, vegan products and better-for-you candy. New and novel flavours such as cola, peach and more have their place beside the more familiar flavours.
The gummy market
Delving into the non-chocolate category further, gummies and jellies dominate. And it’s a market that is experiencing a lot of change – sugar reduction and healthy candy are growing in this category, but more specifically to gummies, nutraceutical gummies and value-added ingredients are becoming more popular, too. The world of gummies span a wide range of products – from centre filled gummies to aerated gummies with a signature light and fluffy texture – and this sheer variety of products appeals to consumers all the while allowing producers to experiment.
Gummies have had a long and established love affair with consumers. “First popularised 100 years ago in Europe, today gummies are a staple of candy aisles around the world,” explained Edith Bijman, Product Application Development Expert at dsm-firmenich. Part of why gummies remain so popular is their versatility, she explained. “Endlessly versatile and customisable, gummies can take on virtually any flavour, colour, or shape, helping keep consumers young and old delighted year after year.”
What does that versatility look like? It depends on who you ask. Machinery manufacturers chase reduced changeover time…
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