Global Trends in Sugar Confectionery & Gum

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

February 29, 2024 – Sugar confectionery trends and gum trends display vibrant activity across all global regions.

Consumer Insights 

There are global variations in sugar confectionery trends and market penetration. The highest rates are found in Finland and Sweden. Chewing gum is the most widely consumed confectionery, with a quarter of consumers claiming to consume gum four to six times a week or more. Overall, 15% of global sugar confectionery consumers have increased their consumption and 65% have maintained their consumption. More than half of sugar confectionery consumers say they eat it because it tastes good (52%) and to make themselves happy (37%). Consumers are influenced by traceability and sugar claims, the importance of which varies from market to market.

Market Size and Trends 

Global sugar confectionery trends expressed as consumption per capita ranges from 0.01 kg in Pakistan to a whopping 20.4 kg in Romania. Gum consumption trends range from 0.01 kg in Pakistan to 1.8 kg in Slovenia.
The global retail value of sugar confectionery is worth billions in 2022, with Asia accounting for 34%, Western Europe 25% and North America 17%. Asia is the fastest growing of these regions, with China the largest single market and Argentina the fastest growing.
Gum trends show the chewing gum market is also in the billions, with Western Europe accounting for 24%, Asia for 23% and Latin America for 19%. The Middle East is the fastest growing region, with the U.S.

Global Trends in Sugar Confectionery & Gum

 What’s Shaping the Category? 

Global sugar confectionery trends and gum trends in NPD show growth of +2.7% (CAGR five years ending Q3 2023), with individual performances differing at +3.3% for sugar confectionery and -2.7% for gum.

Asia accounted for 31% of total NPD over the last 12 months to Q3 2023, ahead of Western Europe with 25% and Latin America with 16%. However, Africa and Eastern Europe are experiencing the fastest growth in NPD activity.

Although NPD focus by sub-category varies by region, choice-related, free-from and sugar reduction claims are driving NPD. In terms of flavors, strawberry and fruit flavors dominate NPD in sugar confectionery, while mint and strawberry are the top flavor trends in gum.

Global Macro Trends Impact 

Healthier Living and Simple Pleasures, two of Innova’s macro trends, have implications for sugar confectionery trends and gum trends and their respective markets.

Healthier Living – defined as meeting consumers’ needs to live and feel well – explains how sugar confectionery, a treat, is optimal and in demand in a more nutritious format for consumers seeking a healthier diet without sacrificing taste and flavor. Sugar reduction has been the primary focus for innovators. However, confectionery can also become a vehicle for added nutrition such as vitamin and mineral fortification, as well as the addition of prebiotics and probiotics.

Simple Pleasures – defined as targeting the evolving nature of reward and enjoyment – describes how sugar confectionery is an inexpensive, sweet treat that can be used to reward oneself or as a mood enhancer. Sharing formats are designed to be part of social occasions where NPD can bring added happiness and fun, and premium ingredients can give consumers a moment of indulgence.

Global Top Ten Trends Impact 

Several Innova Market Insights’ Top 10 Trends for 2023 are impacting sugar confectionery trends and gum trends.
Unpuzzle Health – simple communication backed by trusted certification reinforces health messaging, especially when matched by consumer experience – is a major influence. Sugar reduction is a key focus, but also vitamin and mineral fortification. In some markets, other areas are more developed, such as probiotics in Asia and functional ingredients in North America.
Redefining Value – characterized as combating instability, requires a deep understanding of where consumers draw the line on compromise – shows local ingredient sourcing is important, and environmental certification is important as consumers look for added sustainability.
Revenge Spending – small pleasures that have a heightened effect as luxury spending comes under pressure, offers opportunities to enhance brand perception – and sees innovators creating enjoyment-focused experiences: experimental flavors and limited editions.
Plant-Based: Unlocking a New Narrative – in which underused ingredients and technology-enabled new formats open up new spaces for standalone plant-based innovation – sees the use of alternative ingredients.

What’s Next? 

Sustainable Claims: Sustainability is a key focus across the food and beverage industry, and an area of this seeing attention in sugar confectionery and gum is palm oil use. “Palm oil-free” claims are seeing dynamic growth, albeit from a small base, and we can expect to see this activity rise alongside increased messaging regaining sustainable sourcing where palm oil is used.

Flavor innovation: Flavor Innovation is a further area of NPD that will continue to attract attention. While the popular, mainstream flavors will remain core in 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 Revolution: Global Trends in Sugar Confectionery & Gum.” 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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