The health of the planet is the top concern for confectionery consumers around the world, delegates at ConTech2022 heard this week.
While shoppers are desperate for new and exciting food and beverage experiences following two years of Covid-19-related lockdowns, sustainability is at the forefront of their spending decisions.
The trend is fueling rapid innovation among manufacturers, who are rising to the challenge to create treats that are healthier — for people and the planet, said Irene Kersbergen, Senior Insights & Innovation Manager APAC, Innova Market Insights.
Here are the Top 10 Trends in Confectionery for 2022.
Trend 1: Shared planet
The health of the planet is now the top global issue for shoppers. Trust and transparency are key to helping consumers make responsible choices. Globally, there has been a 19% increase in the number of environmental messages on packaging in new confectionery launches and an 81% growth of on-pack carbon emission communication from 2020 to 2021.
Trend 2: Plant-based
Nutrition and sustainability are playing a bigger role as brands refine the next generation of plant-based foods. Consumers are looking for quality alternatives in sweets and snacks. There is still a way to go, however, with a third of consumers around the world saying they would not consider buying 100% plant-based alternatives because of poor taste and texture.
Trend 3: Tech to table
Technological advances are creating innovation opportunities for the food and beverage industry. Two in five consumers say they are more open to new technologies after seeing the development of plant-based innovation.
Trend 4: Shifting occasions
The pandemic reshaped existing eating occasions and helped form new ones, Ms Kersbergen says.
Seeking new and exciting eating experiences is top of mind for consumers, with 60% saying they expect companies/brands/restaurants to expand on services that enhance social interactions.
Touchless menu technology is an example of how out-of-home eating environments have become safer while manufacturers are enhancing at-home experiences with restaurant-branded products. Half the consumers surveyed want to try new delivery concepts such as drone delivery.
Trend 5: Voice of the consumer
Consumers are calling the shots and expecting more engagement from brands. This comes as a quarter of shoppers say their trust in large/global brands/companies has decreased in the past 12 months.
Trend 6: Gut glory
Two-thirds of consumers say gut health is key to achieving holistic wellbeing, pushing prebiotics even further into the spotlight.
Trend 7: Back to roots
Consumers increasingly value the functionality, freshness and authenticity of local food, with botanicals providing new flavours. In 2021, 43% of consumers said flavour had become more important to them over the past 12 months, compared to 36% the year before.
Trend 8: Amplified experiences
In a trend accelerated by the pandemic, consumers are hungry for new food and beverage experiences. More than half say that post-pandemic, they want to be more adventurous with their food and beverage choices. When asked how working from home had affected their eating habits, nearly a third said they had become more open to trying new products.
Trend 9: Upcycling redefined
Ingredients once considered waste are being given a new lease of life in the circular economy.
More than a third of consumers globally (35%) say “a product that contains upcycled ingredients is more appealing to me than other products”.
There has been a 36% annual average growth in sweet and snack launches with a food waste/upcycling claim.
Sustainability is the top reason consumers give for preferring upcycled ingredients.
Trend 10: My food, my brand
Now more than ever, food choices reflect lifestyles, as personal values intertwine with purchasing decisions.
Personal and social values are becoming increasingly important in assessing the value of food and beverages.
Jennifer Thompson, Ai Group’s Technical & Regulatory Manager Confectionery, said Innova’s findings provide valuable insight for manufacturers within the industry.
Innova operates the biggest food and drink data product database in the world, collecting data from more than 90 countries.
Ai Group was delighted to welcome Irene Kersbergen to ConTech2022, the Australasian confectionery sector’s premier networking event.
Proudly presented by The Australian Industry Group with support from our valued sponsors including our principal sponsor, Manildra Group, ConTech brings together confectionery manufacturers and suppliers of ingredients, packaging and equipment.
Wendy Larter is Ai Group's Communications Manager. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.