Sugar Confectionery and Gum Trends in US and Canada

Explore the latest sugar confectionery and gum trends, including consumer drivers and the impact of macro trends

February 29, 2024 – The sugar confectionery and gum landscape in the US and Canada appears ripe with promising opportunities for future growth

Consumer Insights 

Sugar confectionery trends show that Canada has the highest level of sugar confectionery penetration in North America, while global levels vary.  The most widely consumed sugar confectionery is medicated confectionery, consumed on average four to six times a week or more by nearly one-third of consumers. In general, 13% of consumers say they have increased their sugar confectionery intake, while 71% have maintained their intake.

Consumers are influenced by a variety of sugar confectionery claims, all of which vary in importance. The most popular retail outlet for consumers in the US and Canada for their sugar confectionery fix is dollar stores, a result that differs from other global markets.

Market Size and Trends 

It’s a close call for North American sugar confectionery trends in consumption per capita, with the US standing at 10.4 lbs (4.7kg) and Canada at 9.5lbs (4.3kg). Consumption per capita in gum trends put the US at 0.88lbs (0.4kg) and Canada at 1.76lbs (0.8kg), indicating distinct regional preferences.

The regional market value of sugar confectionery is in the billions, with North America accounting for 17% of sales, followed by Asia with 34% and Western Europe with 25%. The USA is the second largest single market.

Gum sales are also in the billions, with North America accounting for 14% of sales, followed by Western Europe at 24%, Asia at 23% and Latin America at 19%. The USA is also the largest single market value for chewing gum.

Sugar Confectionery and Gum Trends in US and Canada

What’s Shaping the Category? 

Overall, North American sugar confectionery trends and NPD in gum trends show a negative growth rate of -3.1% (CAGR five years ending Q3 2023), with varying individual performances.

North America accounted for 10% of total NPD in the 12 months to Q3 2023, behind Asia with 31%, Western Europe with 25% and LATAM with 16%. However, Africa is the region with the fastest growth in NPD activity. Sugar confectionery trends show that gums and jellies account for the largest share of NPD at 28%. Seasonal and free-from claims are driving NPD.

The leading confectionery flavors in NPD are popular fruit flavors, strawberry and cherry, while gum trends show spearmint and strawberry as the top gum flavors.

Macro Trends Impact 

Healthier Living and Simple Pleasures are two of Innova’s macro trends that influence North American confectionery and gum trends.

Healthier Living – which describes meeting consumers’ needs to live and feel well – has implications for the sugar confectionery and gum markets. Sugar confectionery is generally considered a treat. For consumers looking to adopt a healthier diet, whether for themselves or their children, the availability of more nutritious choices without sacrificing taste and indulgence is ideal. Sugar reduction has been a key objective for innovators, who are also using sugar confectionery as a vehicle for added nutrition, such as vitamin and mineral fortification, prebiotics and probiotics.

Simple Pleasures – described as targeting the evolving nature of enjoyment and reward – also includes the sugar confectionery and gum segment. Sugar confectionery is an affordable, sweet treat that can be used as a reward or a quick indulgence. Sharing formats allow products to participate in social occasions where novel NPD can bring happiness and fun, and premium ingredients can give consumers a moment of indulgence.

Top Ten Trends Impact 

A number of Innova Market Insights’ Top 10 Trend continue to influence sugar confectionery and gum trends:

Unpuzzle Health – simple communication backed by trusted certification that reinforces health messages, especially when it comes to consumer experience – is a major influence. Sugar reduction is a key focus, as is vitamin and mineral fortification. In North America, the use of functional ingredients is gaining attention.

Redefining Value – which fights instability and requires a deep understanding of where consumers draw the line at compromise – shows that local sourcing of ingredients is important, but so is environmental certification as consumers look for added sustainability.

Revenge Spending – small pleasures have a bigger impact than before as luxury spending comes under pressure, offers opportunities to improve brand perception – and sees innovators creating more indulgent experiences: experimental flavors and limited-edition products.

Plant-based: Unlocking a New Narrative – Underutilized ingredients and technology-enabled formats open up more opportunities for standalone plant-based innovation – sees the use of alternative ingredients such as plant-based gelatins and sweeteners.

What’s Next? 

Sustainability trends: Palm oil used in sugar confectionery and gum is under scrutiny as sustainability is a key focus across the food and beverage industry. “Palm oil free” claims are experiencing dynamic growth, albeit from a small base, which can be expected to increase in tandem with increased messaging reaffirming sustainable sourcing where palm oil is used.

Flavor trends: Flavor innovation is another area of NPD that will continue to attract attention. While popular, mainstream flavors will remain at the core of activity, manufacturers will look to excite and innovate in the category with fusion blends, global tastes and unexpected flavors, depending on the target audience.


This article is based on our insider report, “Sweet Trends: Unveiling Tomorrow’s Sugar Confectionery & Gum Landscape in US & Canada.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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