Sour flavors and sweet & spicy mixes ‘the vogue’ for candy and gum, says Leatherhead

Which flavors will excite consumers in 2014?

Leatherhead Food Research has identified the in-fashion flavors for sugar and gum confectionery.

In a Confectionery Industry Update, the research organization analyzed the top flavors in newly launched global sugar and gum confectionery in 2012 based on data from Mintel.

Flavors market heats up

Strawberry proved the most popular, accounting for 8% of global launches, but Leatherhead analyst Jonathan Thomas noted a trend for more experimental flavors.

“Mixtures of sweet and spicy flavors are also becoming more popular, with flavor combinations such as orange and chili, cinnamon and orange, salted caramel and chocolate chili flavors all featuring to some degree,” he wrote.

For example, Jelly Belly acquired a license from McIlhenny Company of Louisiana to produce tabasco flavored jelly beans, which it launched in October 2012.

Consumers sweet on sour flavors

“Sour flavors are also in vogue at the moment, in many parts of the world,” continued Thomas. “In the UK, for instance, sales of sour-flavored sweets are rising by 44% per year, whereas Sour Chews (in flavors such as Grape, Apple and Lemon & Lime) were added to The Natural Confectionery Company’s range in Australia during 2013.”

The mint-dominated gum category also appears open to sour flavors. Mondelez International for example recently launched its Sour Patch Kids brand as a gum product under the Stride portfolio.

Natural flavors

Leatherhead said it was impossible to quantify growth in natural food flavorings due to a lack of global consensus on what makes a flavor natural.

However, Thomas said that the move towards ‘natural’ flavors was showing “no sign of abating”. He pointed to Mintel data from 2012 that showed 45% of US consumers rated ‘all-natural’ as very or somewhat important when purchasing non-chocolate candy.

The global flavors market for confectionery is dominated by four suppliers: Givaudan, Firmenich, IFF and Symrise.

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