Seven Latest Trends in the Specialty Foods and Confectionery Industry

Seven Latest Trends in the Specialty Foods and Confectionery Industry

A specialty food global market report released by the Business Research Company revealed that the specialty food market grew by 14.9% and is estimated to be about $218 billion in 2023. Therefore, the demand for specialty food is expected to grow as more millennials focus on nutritious, homemade meals.

More specialty food consumers want tasty but healthy meals that are easy to prepare. Thus, they also want to know how the food is grown and its health benefits, factors that are expected to drive this year’s trends.

Here is more about the latest trends in the specialty foods and confectionery industry

Trends in the specialty foods and confectionery industry

According to the Trendspotter Panel on the Specialty Food Association, here are the latest trends to expect in 2023.

Introduction of heat and spice into different products

Finding a chili sauce or chili peppers to add that heat and intensity to your food used to be enough. However, more consumers are now educating themselves on the right peppers for condiments, recipes, and snacking,

Thus, in 2023, manufacturers are introducing heat and spice to snacks, spreads, confections, and beverages. This attracts young consumers looking for that intense and bold flavor. However, while hot sauces remain popular, brands are experimenting with new combinations in blends or flakes in products like chips, cheese, and more.

Convenient packaging to increase portability

Previously, packaging consisted of cluttered, messy designs that were not easily portable.

Specialty food manufacturers are likely to focus more on convenient packaging that makes the consumption of foods less messy. Tea discs and meal cups are good examples. Thus, freeze-drying things like salsa and candy promotes convenience in transportation while preserving flavor.

Furthermore, innovative packaging bags with resealable zippers or easy-to-open tabs will also be on the rise as manufacturers seek to provide creative ways to consume products. Eco-friendly packaging options are also becoming popular as companies seek to lower their carbon footprint and reduce waste.

Uptake of more plant-based foods

Plant-based foods will continue to expand as more people venture into clean eating.

Manufacturers are coming up with innovative ways to add flavorful beans and lentils to their snacks to provide protein alternatives. You can now find instant lentils in cups, lentil snacks in sweet chili, and organic seasoned beans in snack packs and pouches.

Interestingly, bean-based traditional foods like Chakalaka from South Africa are becoming accessible to U.S. consumers.

Latest innovations at the Specialty Food Association Fancy Food included nuggets made with Chilean seaweed and pea-protein crumbles for tenders and tacos.

A blend of international flavors

Consumers are looking to add more flavor and texture to their food. A top trend in 2023 is the vast choice of sauces, oils, condiments, and seasonings to help people sample local and international tastes at home.

Think of Mexican salsa macha, Filipino adobo, Spanish romesco, and more. All these international flavors will redefine the ordinary culinary experience.

The trend will also extend to beverages, cookies, snacks, and other items to allow consumers to experience global comfort foods.

Shift to low-calorie and sugar-free products

Diabetes, obesity, and other lifestyle diseases are becoming a consumer concern. More people are now aware of what ingredients to avoid. Many also follow people like Alexandra Chipurnoi, who advocate for better lifestyle choices. Hence, many manufacturers are switching to produce sugar-free confectionery products.

Manufacturers now offer a range of sugar-free items like cookies, sweets, chocolates, ice cream. This, in turn, attracts health-conscious consumers.

Healthier snacks like Tempeh Chips, low-sugar, high-protein cheesecake, and zero-carb bread will continue to dominate in 2023.

The popularity of sustainable and ethically sourced ingredients 

Industrialized farming has led to low-cost food production. However, it is also contributing to soil/water pollution, emission of greenhouse gases, and wastage of resources like water,

Sustainable farming is now a top concern as people become aware of the impact industrialized farming can have on future generations. More consumers are now looking for food products that have been sustainably grown. They are also looking for food items that use upcycled ingredients. Examples include tofu made from regeneratively grown soybeans and plant-based sushi options.

Confectionery industries are also responding to the increasing focus on sustainability. They do this by getting their ingredients from sustainable sources and using eco-friendly packaging.

Increasing demand for gourmet products

Consumers are willing to pay top dollar for premium products that provide an indulgent experience. The rise of artisanal confectionery products is becoming a trend. Especially, as more manufacturers focus on producing gourmet candies, hand-crafted chocolate, organic ice cream, and more.

Final thoughts

The specialty foods and confectionery industry is diverse and influenced by various factors. Manufacturers in these industries are now focusing on sourcing ingredients from sustainable sources. However, there is also new innovative packaging for ease and accessibility, and the introduction of different flavors from around the globe. All of this helps to match the consumer’s need for new flavors and textures.

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