The majority of products in the confectionery space from candies to gummies to chocolates have conventionally been considered unhealthy items and to fall squarely under the ‘guilty indulgence’ category.
It has only been in recent years that the train of thought regarding these products have taken a turn towards the better, and various firms in the APAC region have attempted to develop alternative confectionery products that can be considered healthier, better-for-you or even functional.
“Growing up in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, confectionery was always viewed negatively and I always had to hide the wrappers of chocolates or lollies behind couches or under my bed after eating them due to this negative perception - and in fact a lot of people still do that to this day,” guilt-free gummies firm Funday Founder Daniel Kitay told FoodNavigator-Asia in the latest edition of our FNA Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast.
“This fact is that this perception is very outdated – for example Funday has managed to remove the refined sugar as well as artificial sweeteners from our products, but these taste just as good if not better than traditional gummies and importantly there is no need for consumers to feel someone like anyone is judging them for consuming a whole pack as it was designed to be a portion a pack.
“The tides have turned such that nowadays we know that our consumers are proud to be seen with this and to support such a product as they know they are advocating for a healthy item that is good for the gut whilst also providing that feeling of a treat – and that is nothing to be ashamed of.”
That said, Kitay also highlighted that not all supposedly better-for-you or healthier confectionery products in the market today are reflective of the many milestones that the category has met in terms of going in a guilt-free direction.
“There are actually many ingredients in the market now that allow for effective healthier confectionery innovation, beyond things like artificial sugar alcohols,” he said.
“But a lot of the big multinationals out there that control a lot of the manufacturing and that trying to innovate in their healthier products areas are not really able to keep up with the times.”
He also highlighted that this space has immense potential to grow in view of not just being on the healthier confectionery aisle, but also as a potential crossover to the functional foods aisle.
“The Australian confectionery market alone is an A$1bn to A$1.5bn market, and the total Asian market is multiple times the size of that market,” he said.
“Adding on the functional food and potentially the VMS (Vitamins and Mineral Supplements) or VDS (Vitamins and Dietary Supplements) markets, those are multiple billions of dollars so the potential is really significant, and because we have probiotics in our confectionery there is really quite a bit of a crossover which could be extended into things like vitamins too.”
Listen to the full podcast above to learn more.