Sometimes things just fall right into your lap. Here I was, mulling what I was going to pen for today’s column, when I get this email. Nowadays, of course, emails dictate the direction of our minutes and hours more often than not.

In any case, it was from my associate editor, Alyse Thompson, passing on a summary of a report that was just released by Global Data, dubbed “Opportunities in the Global Confectionery Sector.” Having just recently finished writing the Global State of the Industry article for our publication, I was more than curious to see how this UK-based research house viewed our industry.

Although I haven’t viewed the entire report, it’s comforting to see that many of the same bullet points taken from the executive summary reprinted below coincided with our observations of the global confectionery marketplace.

But let me share some of the report’s observations first and then we can “talk amongst ourselves.”

Here they are:

  • A growing population, a rising urbanization rate and an improving economy will remain the primary macroeconomic factors driving the sector globally.
  • Western Europe represented the largest region for the global confectionery sector with a value share of 29.6 percent in 2016 while Asia-Pacific is forecast to record the fastest value growth during 2016-2021.
  • The United States represented the single largest market for confectionery in 2016, while China emerged as one of the fastest-growing markets during 2016 – 2021.
  • Asia-Pacific held the largest share of 19 percent product sales with health and wellness attributes in 2016 as well as is forecast to register the fastest growth at a CAGR of 7.1 percent during 2016-2021.
  • The global confectionery sector is highly fragmented with the top four brands accounting for a combined value share of just 5.6 percent of the total sales in 2016
  • Western Europe held the highest market share for private label products in 2016
  • Hypermarkets and supermarkets are the leading distribution channels for the global confectionery sector followed by convenience stores.

Granted, some of these bullet points aren’t new to many of us; we’ve been reporting on them for several years now. Nonetheless, I’d like to zero in on one that I found most interesting.

It involves Asia Pacific’s high share of confectionery products with health and wellness attributes. According to the report, “Rising income levels and the growing prominence of healthy snacking in emerging economies across the region is propelling consumers to focus more on the quality and positive nutrition in the confectionery products.”

Moreover, a high percentage of respondents surveyed in Asia state that “Impact on my health and wellbeing” most influence them when choosing food/drink products. The other regions expected to contribute most to the growth of health and wellness products during the next four years are North America and Western Europe.  

To bring this closer to home, the report highlights a case study on barkTHINS snacking chocolate. Some of you may recall that barkTHINS snacking chocolate was launched by Ripple Brand Collective in 2013, touting its no artificial flavors and preservatives claims.

Its timing proved ideal as the product resonated “with consumers’ changing and increasingly nuanced desires.” Its thin slices of chocolate were combined with ordinary, on-trend, and "natural" ingredients. While the portable and portioned-size packs were seen as attractive and guilt-free indulgence by health conscious consumers, the report says.

Three years after its launch, BarkTHINS’ success persuaded The Hershey Co., to acquire the young firm in 2016, which then president and now CEO Michele Buck claimed "essentially created a new form of chocolate snacking.”

And that’s what makes me feel good about the industry, how responsive entrepreneurs as well as multinationals are to consumer desires and needs. As the report points out, “The product is aligned with the ‘Sensory & Indulgence’ and ‘Easy & Affordable’ trends in GlobalData’s TrendSights Framework.”

So yeah, that makes me feel good about the future. But I still believe that our summary paragraph from this month’s cover story holds true, which says that the report global marketplace requires flexibility, dexterity, market knowledge and speed to break through borders and conventions. But it’s encouraging to see it being done before our eyes.