After analysing sales predictions and reviewing trends from previous summers, Bonds Confectionery has predicted that a mix of traditional, retro, old favourites and some crazy new innovations will make up the top ten sweet choices for summer 2014.
Family choice, Skittles, topped the list with Rowntree’s Fruit Pastels and Millions coming in second and third, proving that the old favourites are still the reigning top treat for the UK consumer.
The results also revealed the differing demands between children and adults when it comes to their sweets preferences, with the younger generation leaning towards the more fashionable and innovative lines, whilst the adults seek nostalgia and familiarity.
The top ten sweets for summer 2014 as revealed by Bonds Confectionery are:
2. Rowntree’s Fruit Pastels
4. Retro Mix Bag
5. Bonds Confectionery Fruit Jellies
6. Tung Toos
7. Toxic Waste
8. Brain Licker
9. Bonds Confectionery Lemon Sherbet
10. Bonds Confectionery Spray Candy
The old favourites still prove to be the most popular choice, with both Skittles and Fruit Pastels captialising on the sharing bag trend in recent years. However the tiny, chewy Millions sweet balls is the one consistent bestseller on a weekly basis for Bonds Confectionery, with Toxic Waste and Brain Licker the only other two lines which see similar sales peaks. Proving that the younger generation is fast becoming the key decision maker when it comes to a confectionery purchase.
Philip Courtenay-Luck, managing director of Bonds Confectionery explains: “What we often see throughout the year is that as the season changes our taste palate changes with it. So, the likes of a hard-boiled mint humbug or cough candy from our Traditional Sweet Shop range feel too heavy to enjoy on a hot day, yet a sour flavoured jellied sweet or citrus sherbet is the perfect treat for the summer months.
“It’s no surprise that the likes of Rowntree’s and Skittles are at the top, it’s often the case that as adults we all love the feeling of familiarity, even when it comes to a simple treat. Adults would rather enjoy a product they know and love rather than experiment with the latest crazy concept candy. This is something that children tend to favour and is becoming a huge trend across the confectionery industry.”
Bonds Confectionery understands that the children’s market is where the industry is looking for its most innovative products. To ensure that the company stays ahead of its competitors, Bonds has a team of experts that travel across the world in search of the latest, coolest sweet products to bring back to the UK market.
A trend that these experts are noticing year on year is the demand from children who want the more experimental sweet flavours and textures, with original flavours such as apple, blue raspberry and bubble gum as well as different textures always the most popular for the younger audience. The more fashionable ranges that feature chewy, oozy, gummy and spray candy textures are also big on the agenda for what children want to purchase in 2014.
Philip adds: “Our children’s section is very strong, which we are very proud of. We have more than 200 lines dedicated to just the younger audience. Plus, we have the UK’s biggest selling small bag range, our own brand 39p range, which is proving to be number one choice for that all important after school market. The range is also beneficial for parents as the amount of sweets their child is consuming is controlled thanks to the smaller sized bags.
“These crazy concepts and strange flavours are only set to become more demanded and regular on the UK confectionery market. What must be remembered is a children’s taste palate is something completely different to that of an adult. Not as focused on flavour, kids are always looking for the coolest, most shocking sweet to show off to their friends in the playground. Novelty is key to succeeding in this sector of confectionery. We often see the likes of our Tung Toos, Toxic Waste and Brain Licker as our bestsellers when the younger audience is making the purchase.”
Interestingly, Bonds Confectionery has seen a notable increase in the sales of products that are the more traditional sweet or a retro classic. Especially ones that invoke the idea of nostalgia in the adult consumer, which is why the launch of the Retro Classics bag in 2013 was Bonds Confectionery’s most popular to date.
Philip continues: “In the 80s and 90s these products were aimed towards the kids’ confectionery market, but as the consumers grew up the target audience for that specific product moved with it. Since launching our Retro Classic Range in 2013, we have sold more than one million bags. As can be seen from the outstanding figures, it was an immediate success, especially with the over 40s market as it evokes childhood memories, which in turn encouraged spend as the consumer wanted to taste their favorites sweets all over again”
The rest of 2014 is looking set to be a busy time for Bonds Confectionery, with four new lines currently in production looking set to hit the shelves in time for Autumn.
Philip concludes: “Confectionery, like everything else, is permanently evolving. We are constantly developing new products to keep up with the current trends. We are always looking for the most innovative, interesting, fun and delicious products for our consumers, as this is what today’s shopper demands. Not only that, as the children’s sector is moving so fast at present, we review our product lines every five weeks as a item can be in and out of fashion that quickly.”
Tastes vary from region to region, and the same is true for the soft drink market. In Africa as well as in the Middle East consumers prefer juice drinks with intense colours and flavours, while in Europe people are interested in natural products and ingredients. As a result, at this year’s Djazagro 2015 trade fair WILD Flavors and Specialty Ingredients has a special focus on its extensive juice drinks portfolio, including concentrates and blends for beverages that feature different amounts of juice.
In Algiers, WILD highlights its broad juice drinks portfolio including fruity still drinks, milk-based products as well as “mouthfeel” drinks, and demonstrates the right solution to help every manufacturer generate additional growth. The beverages are variable in juice content, thus allowing for different product positionings. In addition, the Great Taste expert displays innovative product ideas for carbonated soft drinks, malt beverages as well as for the sector of energy drinks. All concepts have been developed for the taste preferences of African consumers and market demands.
Particularly in Africa and the Middle East, mouthfeel beverages are the talk of the town - still drinks with a special something extra which enhances people’s enjoyment are especially popular. In response to this market specification, WILD has created several concepts with varying juice contents featuring popular African flavours, for example orange and mango. The products are available with and without fruit cells.
At Djazagro, WILD also showcases selected product ideas for carbonated soft drinks, among them mainstream versions, but also new concepts, such as citrus-pomelo and aromatic passion fruit. Another highlight are malt drink concepts. For this category, trend-oriented product ideas for flavoured and dark as well as fruity variants will be presented. WILD rounds off its portfolio with energy drinks, a global growth category.
Naturex has developed two innovative convenience food concepts incorporating active ingredients authorised to carry generic Article 13.1 claims related to maintaining a healthy weight. The first concept is Slimming Noodles enriched with glucomannan (dietary fibre) from konjac, which means the product is permitted to carry the claim “contributes to weight loss” as part of a calorie-controlled diet.
The second concept is a Gluco-Control ‘Mug Cake’, an apple and cinnamon-flavoured muffin presented in a cup and formulated with oat beta-glucans, which are approved for the claim “contributes to the reduction of post-prandial glycaemic response”. Controlling blood sugar levels is associated with maintaining a healthy weight. In addition, blood sugar concerns and being overweight are health risk factors that are often associated with metabolic syndrome.
Leslie Lannebere, Business Manager at Naturex, said: “The European weight management sector was worth US$2.8 billion in 2013, according to Euromonitor. It is a thriving category and the key to success in this market is to create products that help people lose weight and maintain a healthy weight while also offering convenience, delicious taste and a pleasant eating experience. Our Slimming Noodles and Gluco-Control Mug Cake concepts tick all the right boxes in this respect. Not only are they highly effective and backed by approved health claims, but they also taste fantastic and showcase just what is possible with the right ingredients and recipes.”
She continued: “In spite of concerns about the impact of the European Nutrition & Health Claims Regulation, in fact there are many approved claims which provide the opportunity for companies to develop healthy food and beverage products backed by substantiated and approved claims. The applications we have created for Health Ingredients Europe will inspire companies who are looking for fresh opportunities to create new weight management products that will really resonate with consumers.”