Eating and drinking habits are changing across the globe. This is being driven by health-conscious consumers taking a more proactive approach. This is something that is having an impact on product categories associated with high sugar content, such as the confectionery industry, with their being a greater focus on moderated consumption. As consumers make the switch from traditional snacking options, the sugar confectionery industry needs to respond with better-for-you options positioned around high protein.
Health-conscious consumers are changing their snacking habits, and this is something that is having implications for traditional snacking categories such as confectionery. In Q3 2019, FMCG Gurus surveyed 26,000 consumers who are taking a proactive approach to health maintenance across twenty-six different countries. The research found that in the last two years, 39% of consumers said that they have looked to improve their diets. This attitude was noticeably more apparent in North America (52%) compared to Europe (37%). This is something that is having a profound effect on snacking occasions.
Indeed, a total of 25% of consumers say that they have reduced the amount of confectionery that they snack on in the last twelve months. Additionally, a total of 51% of consumers say that they have made conscious efforts to switch from traditional snack products such as chocolate and confectionery to high protein/low sugar alternatives instead. Consumers in Europe are marginally more likely to say this than those in North America (51% versus 49%).
This is something that will have implications for the confectionery industry and any negative attitudes towards the category can be linked to concerns about excess sugar intake. For instance, when it comes to satisfaction with aspects of health, only 27% of consumers say that they are satisfied with their waistlines. Moreover, 49% of consumers say that they have actively looked to reduce sugar intake, with consumers in Europe more likely to say this compared to their counterparts in North America (51% versus 42%).
As a result of this, the confectionery industry needs to look for ways to target healthier snacking occasions. A key way of doing this is through fortifying products with protein so that they are genuinely nutritious. This will appeal to consumers who like to enjoy moments of indulgence and can express concern with the sensory appeal of high protein snacks. For instance, a total of 44% of health-conscious consumers say that they like to enjoy moments of indulgence regularly, whilst 32% admit that they find healthy food to be bland and boring. When it comes to high protein snacks, a total of 53% say that they can be concerned about the aftertaste of products (53% in Europe versus 55% in North America), whilst the texture of such products can be a concern to 48% of people.
The reality is that over the next decade consumers will continue to become more health-conscious. This is something that will further impact on the image of sugar and categories associated with excessive intake. As such, there is a significant opportunity for the confectionery industry to launch better-for-you alternatives that are high in protein. This is something that will help alleviate the guilt associated with snacking on confectionery and lau-nching products that appeal to those who have reservations about protein products already on the market.