Plant-based confectionery predicted to grow this year

Innova Market Insights

Thursday, 11 February, 2021

Plant-based confectionery predicted to grow this year

The plant-based food market is expected to grow beyond the core dairy and meat categories and make significant headway in the confectionery space.

Market research company Innova Market Insights said the trend, which they dubbed Plant-Forward, is one of the top food industry trends for the year.

In 2020, 67% of all new products with ‘plant-based’ claims were launched outside of the meat and dairy categories. In the confectionery market more milk-free and gelatin-free products are hitting the shelves, as highlighted in a new report.

While total confectionery launches rose at a CAGR of less than 2% over 2016–2020, introductions of those carrying vegan claims increased at 17% CAGR. More dynamic still were confectionery launches under the simpler ‘plant-based’ banner, with introductions more than doubling in 2020 alone.

A review of vegan and plant-based confectionery NPD also demonstrates the shift of animal-free products further into the mainstream. While vegan claims were once predominantly used as secondary or tertiary claims in combination with other ‘free-from’, organic or health positionings, they are now coming to the fore as a primary focus.

“Mars’ introduction of vegan Topic and Bounty bars in the UK this month demonstrates the growing importance of the vegan message,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

“Although the bars are also positioned as gluten-free, ‘vegan’ is the most important claim on the packaging, while the Vegan Society logo is also prominent.”

Innova Market Insights also found it interesting that some confectionery producers are taking formulation and marketing cues from the established dairy and meat alternatives categories.

In plant-based chocolate some of the newer products use terms such as ‘mylk’ or ‘m!lk’ to reflect their dairy-free recipes, while others incorporate nut or oat milks as ingredients. Meanwhile, in gelatin-free sugar confectionery, ‘veggie’ terminology is being used on occasion.

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