Consumer Demand for Clean Labels Could Push Snacking Past $41B
ROCKVILLE, Md. — As consumers' knowledge about product ingredients continues to grow, and clean label snacks appear on the scene, consumer demands will help the U.S. confectionery market rebound after slightly sluggish sales in 2016.
According to a new report by market researcher Packaged Facts, by 2020, sales of confectionery products in the United States will exceed $41 billion for the first time.
Chocolate candy is forecasted to account for 60 percent of the confectionery market's sales.
Packaged Facts attributes future sales growth to a dynamic U.S. confectionery market that has a strong pace of innovation, an influx of creative new players, and a steady flow of new products that engage consumers.
More so, there remains consumer devotion to confectionery products and the growing perception of the product as an accessible luxury creates opportunities for consumers to trade up to premium products.
As consumers continue to become more health conscious, many foods and beverages popular in the past are now ostracized for their lack of nutrition, overly processed formulas and questionable additives, according to Packaged Facts.
The high sugar content of candy would seemingly make these products inherently maligned, but many candy manufacturers have acknowledged the shift in consumer attitudes about production processes and candy ingredients, and thus are evolving to ensure that products are in tune with consumers' preferences,the firm said.
"The clean snacking consumer will eat sweet snacks but looks carefully at the type of sweetener, origin of ingredients, and presence of additives, and then optimizes among the available choices. Ongoing research on the many health benefits of dark chocolate opened the floodgates of clean snackers who can enjoy dark chocolate as a health food," said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts.
Despite the projected boon, the industry still faces some challenges, like public concern over cocoa farming processes; the supply of cocoa and other ingredients, which affects prices; changes in consumer demands for indulgent snacks; and shifts in shopping behavior, such as self-checkout and online shopping, which could decrease impulse purchases.