getting fresh: Trends and countertrends
I’ve always maintained that for every trend, there’s a countertrend emerging, albeit perhaps not as forceful and prevalent as its counterpart, but still something to contend with. Perhaps that perspective stems from my occasional contrarian nature.
Still, it’s worth keeping an eye out for this ying-yang effect. Consider it a methodology that allows you to capitalize on niches no one’s paying attention to.
Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of digesting two reports regarding trend-spotting in the confectionery industry. As a “giving guy,” I thought I share these with you. First, let me focus on a “Global Market Perspective” presentation given by Francisco Redruello, senior food analyst for Euromonitor International, at Candy Industry’s European Suppliers Roundtable held in London last month. (Excerpts from the Roundtable will appear in the April issue. Also visit www.Euromonitor.com).
Some quick bites from that report that shouldn’t be surprising to anyone in the industry: Global confectionery retail sales only grew by 0.2% in 2009, versus 2% the year before; the recession affected demand in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe; and consumers shifted spending to staple products and reduced their consumption of impulse and indulgent items.
According to Euromonitor, chocolate sales suffered the largest decrease, a -0.5% drop, while sugar confections and gum climbed 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively, in 2009. Regionally, it was demand in India and China that drove confectionery growth in Asia Pacific, while Eastern Europe felt the credit crisis and confectionery sales shrunk accordingly.
Within that context, what does 2010 hold for those in the confectionery business? Expect commodity prices to remain high, ongoing downward pressure on any price increases and a growing interest in ethical focus.
Redruello also detailed five strategies involving new product development that emerged last year: appropriate messaging; indulgence through hybrid products; ethical values; health properties and benefits; and the importance of packaging.
In short order, he provided several examples of these strategies, such as a mind detoxifying chocolate tablet called Dechox from Bloomsberry & Co., a hard candy aimed at improving memory dubbed Memory Vita Mango Candy from Sugatha Biotech in India; fruit-flavored chewing gums from Wrigley that provide you a relaxing moment under its Orbit Essentials brand; and a chocolate bar that features triple certification – organic, Fair Trade and carbon-free – under the Noir Intense brand from France’s Alter Eco.
He also cited Wrigley’s 5 gum as a classic example of where packaging literally becomes part of a fashion accessory for trendy young adult consumers.
So what can we expect from the future, in retail sales projections as well as trend spotting?
Redruello still foresees weak sales in North America and Western Europe, with continued strong growth in Asia Pacific and a welcome recovery in Eastern Europe. Total global sales growth will approach only 1% (0.9%), with slight increases in gum, sugar and even chocolate.
He cited vending machines, healthy ranges in schools, social conscience and functionality as hot opportunities for confectionery companies. As the global economy recovery gradually gains strength, he stressed the need for confectioners to focus on quality, noting that price will not be “a killer anymore” for consumers, and that shoppers will return to brands, thus beating back inroads made by private label.
So that’s the low-down, globally.
Quickly, since they tell me that people who surf the Internet and read newsletters online don’t to read like long articles, I’ll now share some insights I gleaned from Packaged Facts’ “Culinary Trend Mapping Report on Confections & Desserts” (www.packagedfacts.com).
How does a foodservice survey relate to confectionery manufacturers, distributors and retailers, you may ask? That’s really a rhetorical question, since most of you know that many trends and innovations in consumer packaged goods evolve from the foodservice sector.
OK, so here goes. Kimberly Egan, the ceo and principal of the Center for Culinary Development (www.ccdsf.com) – the company that partnered with Packaged Facts in co-authoring this report – identified four themes that are “driving new confections and desserts.” They are nostalgia, indulgence, flavor adventure and artisan appeal. Egan cites several foodservice examples reinforcing these trends: olive oil desserts, micro-batch chocolate; Parisian macaroons; Japanese sweets, salty sweets (i.e. caramel, chocolate with bacon); whoopie pies; and caramelized flavors.
In the end, the report concludes that “People love sweets….They turn to them for comfort and the memories they inspire, for flavor thrills and culinary adventure and, also, in times of economic difficulty and stress, as an affordable reward.”
In other words, confectioners – as someone told me –are in the business of creating smiles. And clearly, there are many ways to do that.
So there, I’m done giving. Now it’s your turn to digest and discuss.
Barry Callebaut introduces culinary Crispearls
To give pastry chefs a beautiful, tasty and crunchy way to decorate and finish their culinary creations, Barry Callebaut, a leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, has introduced Crispearls in dark and white chocolate varieties.
Measuring just 2-3 mm. in diameter, the new pearl-shaped product features a toasted biscuit core that has been enrobed in Callebaut dark or white chocolate couverture.
“The new Callebaut Crispearls are like tiny beads of caviar,” says Rich Benson, director of research and development for Barry Callebaut North America. “They have a unique pearl-like gloss and a great aroma, making them ideal for adding texture, taste and color to pastries, desserts and other confections.”
Pastry chefs and gourmet artisans can use Crispearls in a number of ways, including:
--Refined decoration: The shiny pearls are ideal for adding a refined look to finished pastries, confections and desserts. For an extra festive or unique look, Crispearls also can be colored gold or silver using an airbrush spray gun.
--Textured pastry interiors: Crispearls can be mixed into creamy pastry components such as mousse, crème brûlée or any other filling, to give pastry interiors a flavorful, crunchy bite.
--Color and contrast in mousses and ice cream: When mixed into ice cream and kept deep frozen, Crispearls retain their taste and crunch. Similarly, when used in chocolate mousse, the pearls create a rich contrast in texture while remaining crunchy.
--Crispearls are available in dark and white chocolate and come in 800-g. bags.
For more information, visit www.barry-callebaut.com.
Guylian unveils new chocolate Seashells, Seahorses, Temptations
At the upcoming Sweets & Snacks Expo, Guylian Chocolate, Englewood, N.J., will introduce products and packaging concepts that build on the brand equity and giftability of the company’s core product: Guylian Seashells.
New Extra Dark Guylian Seashells bring the intense, dark Belgian chocolate taste of 74% cocoa to Guylian’s signature assortment. A new dark praliné filling – like the company’s original hazelnut praliné – is produced from a proprietary recipe, using traditional Belgian techniques. The Seashells are available in three sizes: a 2.3-oz. trial size, a 4.4‑oz. and 8.8-oz. gift boxes. The suggested retail prices are $3.29, $5.99 and $9.99, respectively.
Guylian also is introducing its first assortment of Dark Chocolate Strawberry Seahorses. The light, fluffy strawberry filling – made from premium white Belgian chocolate and sweet, ripe strawberries – provides a refreshing contrast in both flavor and intensity to the dark chocolate (49% cocoa) shell. Available August through December 2010, each 5.2-oz. gift box will retail for $9.99.
Last but not least are Guylian Temptations – individually wrapped, premium-sized chocolates in the company’s famous Seahorse shape. Ideal for gift‑giving as well as self-purchase, they come in three assorted flavors: Original Praliné, Milk Truffle and Dark Praliné. Each foil wrapper is hermetically sealed to ensure freshness and then twisted. The suggested retail price for an Impulse Pack is $5.99.
For more information, visit www.guylian.be.
NCA expands public affairs staff
The National Confectioners Association (NCA) had added two members to its public affairs and advocacy department, simultaneously restructuring several other positions to enhance its public policy and advocacy efforts, following a year-long strategic planning process.
Joining the NCA as vice president of government affairs is Patrick Aylward, who most recently served as the Special Assistant to the President and Director, Office of the Chief of Staff, for the Bush White House. Prior to his White House posting, Aylward served the executive branch for more than seven years in the Office of Management and Budget. Aylward has a dozen years of experience inside Washington politics and will bring that insider’s perspective, along with his well-established contacts, to NCA’s public policy and advocacy efforts.
Chris Coleman also will join the staff as director of government affairs. Coleman comes to the NCA after three years with the National Council of State Legislatures and offers significant experience with both state and federal advocacy. Prior to joining NCSL, he worked for The Forum for State Health Policy Leadership.
Heading up the public advocacy efforts at the NCA is Alison Bodor, who has been with the association for 10 years. She has been promoted to senior vice president of public policy and advocacy, and will be responsible for coordinating all public policy activities for the industry, including both state and federal legislative affairs, state and federal regulatory affairs, corporate social responsibility, issues management, and scientific- and health-based research.
Other members of the public affairs and advocacy department at the NCA include Melane Rose Boyce in her newly expanded role as vice president of corporate social responsibility and Laura Shumow, manager of technical and regulatory affairs.
For more information about the National Confectioners Association, visit www.candyusa.org.
Sweet of the week: Sunkist Citrus Burst
Toronto, Canada-based Big Sky Brands, Inc. formed an exclusive licensing agreement with Sunkist Growers, Inc. to create its new Sunkist Citrus Burst line, a sugar-free formulation made with 100% natural flavors. Flavors for the product were inspired by Sunkist’s specialty citrus varietals, including Valencia Orange, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Eureka Lemon and Key Lime. A proprietary blend of ingredients makes for a light cooling effect, resulting in a refreshing alternative to typical breath mints. The product is packed in sleek metallic containers with colorful, eye-catching designs. The suggested retail price is $1.49-1.69 per tin. Retailers interested in carrying this product can call 1-416-599-5415 ext. 200.
For more information, visit www.bigskybrands.com.