Having come through pandemic-induced restrictions where treats were so important, many consumers are still keen to enjoy indulgences. Placed in the context of global economic pressures, the size, frequency and nature of these treats may change but, for many, those bigger concerns make small pleasures even more vital.
Macro realities are having a direct effect on trends in confectionery. As highlighted in “Revenge Spending” – Innova’s number 8 Top Ten Trend for 2023 – little treats have a heightened effect when luxury spending comes under pressure. The Innova Trends Survey for 2023 revealed that individual financial health is not necessarily a deal-breaker with impulse purchasing, especially on products with innovative flavor profiles. People want to try something new, whether they believe themselves to be economically poorer or not. For confectionery brands, this opens up opportunities to use favorite flavors more associated with other categories, experiment with cross-product mashups, or create a buzz around limited-edition varieties.
Good for all
Tapping into dietary preferences and health trends can also create interest. Vegan and plant-based claims are growing in the confectionery category. Several companies have now introduced non-dairy chocolate bars made with ingredients like oats. Other plant-based confectionery offerings appeal to those seeking fruit flavors. Meanwhile health concerns remain a major factor, heightened as a result of the pandemic. Innova’s analysis has spotted a growing number of confectionery products promoting reduced amounts of added sugar.
Some brands have sought to add extra experiences to the basic joy of eating candy, such as customizable kits. Equally, fun shapes and packages can elevate the level of indulgence. There is also scope to expand the shareability of treats, especially with the welcome return of socializing. And environmental concerns remain a big issue for some consumers. Products that can show they are beneficial to people and the planet in general can stand out from the crowd, making the good feeling associated with confectionery stretch further and for longer.