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Organic sweets and snacks

6 Dec 2021

Organic Sweets and Snacks: Sustainable, healthy, regional - and delicious

The desire for more sustainability, naturalness and transparency is not new, but it has currently become one of the most important food trends. This is also reflected in the snacks and confectionery sector and will be clearly evident at ISM in Cologne. The industry has already reacted to this development in some areas: According to the BDSI, 94 percent of the sweets sold in Germany in 2019 used sustainably produced palm oil or palm kernel oil. In 2013, it was only 60 per cent. The development is even more pronounced in the cocoa sector. The BDSI reports that 77 percent of the confectionery sold in Germany in 2020 already contained sustainably produced cocoa. This is an increase of 74 percent compared to 2011.

Focus on health and regionality

One of the reasons why these topics, already virulent for years, have gained momentum once again is the pandemic. Corona has done something to us - to us as individuals, to us as societies, to us as a world. This includes the fact that consumer awareness and shopping behaviour have changed: Health and regionality have clearly gained presence in people's minds. At the same time, sweets and snacks help to make the days "special" in these uncertain and unsettling times. Indulging oneself is good for the soul. This is also confirmed by the figures of the 'Ernährungsreport 2021' published by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture: As many as 32 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men eat sweets and snacks almost every day, and for 99 per cent, taste comes first when eating.

Europe Drivers of Organic Sweets and Snacks

But snacks and confectionery should not only taste good, they should also be as organic as possible. The market research company Innova Market Insights expects sales in the organic snacks category in Germany to reach 1 billion US dollars by 2021. Worldwide, Allied Market Research forecasts growth of 13.6 per cent to over 24 billion US dollars for this sector by 2025. According to Innova Market Insights, France is currently the European leader in organic confectionery with sales of 1.6 billion US dollars. In general, Europe is a driver in organic snacks and sweets: 66 percent of all global market launches in the organic snacks segment and 71 percent of all launches in the organic confectionery segment take place here. In the long term, however, the growing demand for organic food is also a result of the growing markets of the Asia-Pacific region, with populous countries such as India and China, rising disposable incomes, more hectic lifestyles and changing eating habits.

Clean-label products on the rise

But what does the consumer understand by organic or sustainable, what is decisive for him or her when buying? For one thing, consumers want to know what they are eating. This is where clean labelling comes into play, with tidy ingredient lists and ingredients that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. Recently, criteria such as the origin of the ingredients, the environmental compatibility of the production and fair production conditions have also gained in importance. According to Innova Market Insights, the most important claims made when launching snacks and confectionery with organic claims are vegan and gluten-free, followed by no additives or preservatives and no genetically modified ingredients. The transparency of the supply chain is thus becoming increasingly important. Four out of five consumers already stated in a 2019 Innova survey that "brands should be transparent in their production process", and Innova Market Insights also ranks transparency among the top 10 trends in 2021.

When it comes to consumer expectations, the 2021 Nutrition Report finds more interesting results: Consumers are most likely to check the sugar (59%), fat (44%) and salt (25%) content of foods. For 35 percent, it is important to eat a low-calorie diet - a need that is most relevant among the over-60s with 49 percent. For 82 percent, it is important that food comes from the region. For nine percent, this also applies to sweets and savoury snacks. The proportion of respondents who eat vegetarian food has risen from five to ten percent compared to 2020. A much larger proportion, namely 30 to 35 percent, reach for vegetarian or vegan alternatives at least sometimes. And: while 83 percent welcome less sugar in convenience foods, only nine percent are in favour of offsetting it with artificial sweeteners.

ISM with a wide range of organic products in the confectionery and snacks segment

Visitors to ISM can look forward to a wide range of products that serve these trend themes. Almost 200 exhibitors will present articles with organic attributes: from organic marzipan potatoes from Odenwälder Marzipan Konditorei and chocolate icing without added sugar from Frankonia to organic wafer bread from Dr. Quendt or chocolate Easter bunnies and Santas made of organic chocolate from Hans Riegelein Confiserie to the "Free From" product world from Coppenrath or certified organic dates from Horchanie Dattes International. Clear Chox focuses on a transparent supply chain from cocoa farmer to finished chocolate, and the Goodlife Company says it is on a "Healthy Snacking Mission". Q Chocolate offers Dr Choq, a Fairtrade chocolate aimed at "a new generation of chocolate lovers". Good Food Products focuses on items without artificial colours or additives as well as GMO-free products, for example in the form of rice cakes in various flavours. The crunchy snacks from Pizza Croccantina, which has relied on organically grown products for 20 years and only works with certified suppliers, have no added preservatives or acidifiers.