As consumers grow more health-conscious, one might think that the cookie and candy category has seen its heyday. But has it? A revolution of alternative solutions for how we satisfy sweet cravings is underway – be it for advanced palates, discerning sweet tooth’s, or health conscious foodies.
GROWN-UP FLAVOR PROFILES
As candy and cookie lovers have grown up, so have their tastes! With more adventurous palates, consumers are leaning toward sweet foods with exotic and complex tastes, often with contrasting flavors such as sweet, spicy and salty.
These unexpected flavors are coming from all directions. Big brands like Toll House, Oreo, and Ghirardelli are releasing flavors like blueberry lemon, jelly donut, and bourbon caramel. Smaller brands like Little Secrets, Chuao and Smash Mallow now offer flavors like pumpkin pie, spicy maya and lemon chia seed.
Sharper looking brands excite and inspire consumers by standing out in busy retail environments. As this category becomes more competitive, innovative sweet brands must not only provide solutions for a limited retail space, but also tell more of a story than their CPG counterparts. Small batches and niche followings give premium bakers and confectioners the flexibility to try new things without much risk. The demand for premium sweets is at an all-time high, with provenance and origin being key to their stories. We are seeing plenty of brands are adapt to consumer desires through elevated product positioning.
Ultimately, consumers want to have their healthy food and eat their cookie, too. If you ask the average person whether he or she wants to eat healthier, the answer is almost always yes. However, not everything associated with cookies is trending toward Crossfitters and marathoners. Most consumers are somewhere in between; they want to keep an eye on their health, but still want a sweet treat now and then. Besides long-standing trends in reduced sugar and gluten free options, small wins like lactose free claims are increasingly being observed in cocoa and chocolate products with milk alternatives such as coconut milk. Reducing the volume of some products has also been on the rise – yet, in spite of their thin style, they are packed with the same flavor consumers are used to without the guilt of a conventional portion size.