Affordable luxury to exotic tastes: Top trends in confectionery

Looking to explore the biggest trends in confectionery? Our data-driven blog provides insights into global market developments and consumer sentiment – along with tips on how to use color to help create on-trend products.

Aim for higher value

Affordable luxury is a major new trend in food and drink. With consumers feeling the impact of price inflation, FMCG Gurus research shows more than three-quarters (77%) worldwide have reduced their spending in restaurants and cafes in recent times.[1] However, nearly half (46%) of these consumers say they have sought out more premium treats at home as compensation. Innova analysis on sugar confectionery shows that, while fruit flavors still dominate, indulgent flavors with smoother tastes are now growing more rapidly.[2] Many of these flavors – including cake, cookie, and pie – benefit from rich brown hues that provide a visual signal of indulgence.

Pink confectionery with sugar in heart form


Be green

Two-thirds (64%) of consumers now say they try to have a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions.[3] These shoppers want food and beverage brands to take ownership of their carbon footprint and prove their positive impact. While the focus is often on meat and dairy, 84% of those who purchase confectionery worldwide say that sustainability claims are important when choosing products.[4] Making use of upcycled ingredients – sourced from food that would otherwise go to waste – demonstrates a clear commitment to sustainability and appeals to 71% of consumers globally.[5] Using sustainable, plant-based colors helps ensure upcycled products offer visual appeal while maintaining their environmental credentials.

Flavor of adventure

Consumers are seeking out adventurous and exciting flavors, with Innova Market Insights’ research showing that two-third of consumers are open to trying new global cuisines.[6] An FMCG Gurus survey meanwhile, showed 74% of consumers like food and drink with new and unusual or exotic flavors – with more than half (56%) saying they want to see confectionery with such flavors.[7] Confectionery brands are utilizing unusual flavor combinations such as hops and pink grapefruit, while there is a growing trend back toward sweet and sour flavors.[8] Bold color shades such as fresh pink, exotic green, and ocean blue can be used to help underline the use of adventurous and exotic flavor profiles.

Pink and yellow colored chocolates


Sweet escape

During stressful times, consumers need an escape. Euromonitor International highlights “delightful distractions” as an important trend for 2024 as consumers seek mini moments of joy amid the gloom.[9] For confectionery brands, that means being bold and playful, creating fun products that help consumers tap into their inner child. Colors helps capture attention when used strategically, but it’s important to seek expert advice on how to use bright shades without causing overstimulation.

Colored sprinkles in hands


Staying focused

From gamer gums to coffee candy, consumers are increasingly seeking out products that can give them a mental boost. FMCG Gurus has predicted that energy-boosting claims will play an important role in increasing product appeal in the confectionery market.[10] Mintel data shows the number of sugar confectionery launches featuring energy claims already hit a five-year high in 2023 – up by 43.5% on the previous year.[11 ]Red and blue shades can provide good options for these products, with red having been found to enhance attention to detail while blue boosts creative thinking.[12] [13]

Blue and purple candy


Bring the confectionery trends to life

Feeling inspired? Learn more about how plant-based EXBERRY® colors can bring the trends to life in confectionery applications.

[1] FMCG Gurus ‘Top ten trends for 2024 – Global report’ (2023)
[2] Innova Market Insights ‘Trends in Emerging Flavors in Sweet Packaged Foods’ (November 2023) 
[3] Euromonitor ‘2024 Consumer Trends’
[4] FMCG Gurus ‘Confectionery, Top Ten Trends for 2023’ (2023)
[5] FMCG Gurus Top ten trends for 2024 – Global report’ (2023)
[6] Innova Market Insights ‘From cutting back to looking forward: Innova Market Insights reveals positive food and drink trends for 2024’ (October 2023)
[7] FMCG Gurus ‘Confectionery, Top Ten Trends for 2023’ (2023) 
[8] Product Examples: Innova Market Insights
[9] Euromonitor International ‘Top Global Consumer Trends 2024’
[10] FMCG Gurus ‘Confectionery, Top Ten Trends for 2023’ (2023)
[11] Mintel GNPD
[12] Mehta, R. & Zhu, R.J. ‘Blue or red? Exploring the effect of color on cognitive task performances’ Science (2009)
[13] Xia, T. et al. ‘Exploring the Effect of Red and Blue on Cognitive Task Performances’ Frontiers in Psychology (2016)

Teresa Fischer
Confectionery Category Lead (EMEA)