The Candy Competition: 4 Reasons Packaging Matters
You might think candy is for kids (and the occasional adult indulgence) but the confectionery market is actually a seriously competitive sector. In the U.S., confectionery retail sales hit $33 billion in 2012, according to the National Confectioners Association. Hershey, the brand owner of Hershey’s Chocolate, Jolly Rancher, Twizzlers, and many more iconic treats that Americans have grown up eating, is also an international company. It had a very healthy 2013, with third-quarter earnings around $1.9 billion, and continues to introduce its products in global markets like India. Internationally, people in the Asia-Pacific region are eating more and more chocolate each year (predicted to almost double this year since 2007) and global chocolate treats will hit sales around $117 billion this year.
Obviously, the growth is there, which is good news for confectionery packagers. But there are some issues the industry is now trying to solve:
1. Excessive packaging: This one is a double whammy—as with other food product sectors, consumers are much more attuned now to environmental sustainability. Cookies, candies, and the like that come in layers of packaging will not be on the shopping lists of buyers with a green bent. Of course, no one wants to open a box of cookies to find only crumbs, so producers are coming up with new ways to keep contents safe, and looking to packaging innovations to help.
2. Excessive packaging, part 2: Consumers hate opening a package to find more air than product. In Germany, a study found that packages average 40 percent empty space. Brand owners are looking to cut down on package sizes to maintain their buyers’ brand loyalty, and also to cut costs.
3. Health concerns: This isn’t just about sugar—contamination that can come from packaging is a hot topic right now. Mineral oils that leaked through packaging in Switzerland have prompted research of their potential health effects and legislation to regulate their use. Mineral oils have become more predominant in recent years and can be found in inks and packaging materials (they’re considered a possible carcinogen).
4. High and low end: Chocolate lovers are buying more premium products, according to a report from Radobank. Buyers are looking for organic, fair trade, and other markers of high-end chocolates. But at the other end of the scale, shoppers are also looking for value brands. The mid-market products? They’re being left out in the cold. For packaging, this means premium materials and printing for the high-end market and cost-saving measures for the low end.