Stagnant sales for European confectionery

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Latest research from Mintel on the sugar and gum confectionery market in Europe reveals that in the big five European countries, sales of sugar and gum confectionery have remained stagnant over the past four years (2008–2011), from €8.6 billion in 2008 to an estimated €8.9bn in 2011.

Sales particularly declined in the most mature markets such as Germany, which despite remaining the largest market in Europe has seen sales drop from €3.8bn in 2008 to €3.6bn (est.) in 2011. Meanwhile, the UK market has remained stable at around €1.8bn both in 2008 through to 2011. Similarly, France has seen modest growth, from €1.4bn in 2008 to €1.5bn (est.) in 2011. In Spain and Italy, the market managed to post a growth, although modest, from €1bn (Spain) and €768 million (Italy) in 2008, up to €1.1bn (est. Spain) and € 795m(est. Italy) in 2011.

David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, says “Prolonged economic uncertainty has affected consumer confidence, and now people have started cutting down on non-essentials items, affecting a market that was supposed to be recession proof. Other factors hampering sales include a plethora of other snacking products, healthy eating trends, and an ageing population. Overall, both sugar and gum confectionery markets are mature in Western Europe and have little room for further growth; however Eastern European markets offer more opportunities.”

However, it is not all bad news for the confectionery industry. Mintel’s research shows that Europe has been active in new product launches for the sector, accounting for 27% of global sugar and gum new product launches during January 2011 to June 2011, down a small 1% on the previous six months. Asia Pacific was the leading region in new product development during this period, accounting for 42% of total launches. Mintel’s GNPD recorded some 965 new products in Europe in this period in sugar and Gum confectionery, with the UK (20%) leading in terms of NPD activity among the big five European countries during this period, closely followed by Germany with 18% and Spain with 12%.

When it comes to the latest trends, the most noticeable one is the introduction of more natural ranges and the elimination or reduction of additives and preservatives. Indeed, the ‘no additives/preservatives’ claim was the second most popular across Europe during the six months to June 2011, accounting for around 20% of the gum and confectionery launches, a figure which more than doubles the 9% seen globally.

Meanwhile, the ‘low/no/reduced sugar’ claim dominates in new product development in the category, with 22% of new launches with this claim over the past six months. The claim is however far more popular within the gum confectionery market, with 56% of new gum products featuring the claim.

Pastilles, gums, jellies and chews remain the largest sub-category in Europe for NPD at 23% of the launches for the review period, followed by gum (14%), toffees, caramels & nougats (12%), and boiled sweets (9%). In particular, the sub-categories that saw above average activity compared to the global market included standard & power mints (8%), Llquorice (8%) and medicated confectionery (7%). With flavours, traditional flavours remain extremely popular in Europe, with fruit varieties dominating (30%) the market, followed by berry fruit (21%) and herbs (20%).

Source: Confectionery Production