Greater use of vegetable ingredients within confectionery products could go far in improving candy’s health image as well as offer additional growth potential, writes Marcia Mogelonsky, global food and drink analyst for London-based Mintel International Group Ltd., in a recently released report on Sugar and Gum Confectionery

“The absence of vegetables -- especially naturally sweet vegetables such as corn, sweet potato, yam and carrot -- in confectionery provides an option for innovation,” she says.

Noting that less than 2% of sugar and gum confectionery products introduced since 2008 contained vegetables, Mogelonsky points out that the majority of those new products were launched in Asia.

Given that beverages in Europe and North America containing vegetable ingredients are common, and many now combine fruit flavors with vegetable ingredients, Mogelonsky sees an opportunity for confectionery manufacturers.

“Getting children to eat their vegetables in the guise of confectionery may be a strategy worth trying,” she says. “Besides using vegetables as an ingredient in confectionery, manufacturers could also utilize vegetable extracts and juices as natural coloring, providing an alternative to the more commonly used and often criticized artificial coloring agents.”

For more information, visit www.mintel.com.