Sweet, chewy, colorful, sour, hard, or gummy – there’s a candy out there for anyone with a sweet tooth! If you’ve seen a seasonal display at a grocery store lately or walked down the regular candy aisle, you know there’s no shortage of options to satisfy a craving for something sweet. In fact, in the past 12 months, retail sales of sugar confection in North America reached $13.2B – which leaves no doubt that consumers love candy (Euromonitor).
What Candies Are Most Popular?
According to Euromonitor’s reporting on brand sales of sugar confection in North America, the top-selling brands of candy are as follows:
- Live Savers
- Sour Patch Kids
- Jelly Belly
- Jolly Rancher
Top Flavors in Newly Launched Candy
Past 3 years, Source: Mintel
Now, these flavors aren’t a surprise to most people. What you should keep an eye out for, are flavors that are more unique, like specific citrus varietals (Meyer Lemon, Alphonso Mango, etc), dessert-inspired like strawberry shortcake or key lime pie, or even alcohol-inspired like margarita or champagne.
Something to consider beyond flavor is texture and mouthfeel. With the increase of gummy-type supplements, it will be no surprise to see more options evolve for gummy and chewy candies. They don’t seem as sickly-sweet as hard candies, which is what consumers are looking for. Sour dusting on candies can also provide another level of experience beyond flavor. It can allow consumers to experience a flavor like cherry or watermelon with a new dimension, to keep familiar flavors fresh.
Seasonality Dominates the Candy Category
Sugar confection is one of those food products that is heavily influenced by the time of year. In North America, six in 10 adults purchase holiday-themed sugar confection products. In the past 3 years in North America, 33% of new sugar confection products are considered seasonal. Consumers are connected to these products because they evoke a sense of nostalgia, as well as the incentive to purchase limited-time products because they aren’t in the market for long. Seasonal sugar confectionery is most popular around Valentine’s Day with 41% of US consumers purchasing these products, followed by Halloween, Christmas, and Easter (Mintel).
A Rainbow of Colors
Who isn’t drawn in by bright colors? Color association helps us with expectations of what we’re about to consume. For example, when you see red candy pieces, you would expect it to taste like strawberry or cherry, but not necessarily banana or grape. While these bright colors are enticing, consumers have begun to question where the colors come from and if there are better alternatives. Givaudan not only has a large range of colors for many applications, but specific color solutions for confectionery items to support clean label initiatives and confectionery technical challenges. To learn more about color solutions for your products, reach out to your Givaudan Account Manager.
We’d love to hear what you think. What is your favorite sugar confection? Is there one you remember from your childhood? Leave us a comment below!