Times are changing, said Darren Seifer, Food & Beverage Industry Analyst for the NPD Group during his session on what consumer really want at the recent Sweets & Snacks Expo. Where indulgence was all about breaking the rules for years, now, shoppers are fitting indulgence into their daily eating patterns. This is driving a new desire for little affordable luxuries, artisanal or hand-crafted items or so-called small batch items. That is not to say consumers aren’t watchful of their sugar intake. To the contrary. NPD found that sugar is now the number one item that consumers check on the nutrition label, surpassing calories and fat. But at the same time, sweet snacking experienced growth on par with what NPD calls, better-for-you snacks. This shows that consumers understand the role of candy as a little treat in a happy, balanced lifestyle.
NPD found that manufacturers are helping consumers fitting a little treat into their daily eating patterns by balancing indulgence with more real, natural ingredients that create a higher permissiveness in the shoppers’ mind. The industry also sees a rise in resealable packaging and portion-controlled items, capped at a certain number of calories and growth rates for all are far exceeding the average.
NPD’s consumption research also shows that the use of artificial sweeteners will not bring in the masses. Whether aspartame or saccharin, no more than one-quarter of adults would consider candy with artificial sweeteners. Only stevia, at 38 percent, sees a slightly higher acceptance rate.
“Stay true to who you are,” concluded Seifer. While consumers may keep an eye out for sugar, they consider it real and fit it into their daily eating patterns.
Download Seifer’s Expo presentation to learn more.