Sophisticated Consumers Create New Confections Trends

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Sophisticated Consumers Create New Confections Trends

America’s love of sweets is coming of age. Consumers are more sophisticated and demanding when it comes to confections, according to “Confections and Dessert: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts.

This consumer demand is creating an exciting new sweetscape where flavor complexity, artisanship and nostalgia mingle to create increasingly grownup, yet still satisfying, treats.

“It’s time for marketers to notice that consumers are demanding sweets that are as trend-forward, satisfying and as adventurous as the savory foods they love. Butterscotch Toffee Whoopie Pies are more exciting than plain chocolate and vanilla ones,” said CCD CEO Kimberly Egan.

Four overarching consumer trends are driving innovative shifts in the sweets market:

—Nostalgia: Americans seek comfort in the sweets of childhood, yet still want treats that reflect current interest in bold flavor profiles and higher-quality ingredients
—Indulgence: Americans need a break and are indulging in exciting — and affordable — new sweets to provide escape, reward and just plain delight
—Flavor Adventure: Plain old vanilla and chocolate aren’t enough these days. Savvy consumers from generation Y to boomers are seeking excitement from sweets that reflect a global palate of exotic and varietal fruits, savory-sweet flavor profiles, and other adventurous tastes. Aged organic Papua New Guinea vanilla ice cream, anyone?
—Artisan Appeal: Sweet treats that are handmade with well-chosen ingredients and reflect current values in local and sustainable production are winning over more and more Americans

The New American Sweetscape

New and updated confections and desserts create a new sweet vista for consumers. Olive oil desserts show off Mediterranean ingredients in more health-friendly forms while offering intriguing new savory-sweet flavors. Parisian macarons, pastel-colored ground-almond meringue sandwich cookies, bring classic French sophistication to the modern American pastry counter. Japanese sweets transport savvy candy lovers to new frontiers of exotic flavor and texture, while American-crafted micro-batch chocolate epitomizes the new range of artisan foods that also exhibit a taste of place.

Familiar Favorites Get a Remodel

Americans grew up on salty-sweet Cracker Jack but are now ready for something more 21st century. In updated Salty Sweets, bacon, sea salt and savory herbs raise familiar sweets to new adventurous and satisfying heights. Americans from the Northeast no doubt grew up on the stalwart chocolate cake and vanilla cream Whoopie Pie; today, the homey snack appears coast to coast in alluring flavors and colors, giving cupcakes some competition. The familiar warm, brown flavor of caramel has gone glam in the form of homemade butterscotch used in puddings and sauces, Latin-inspired dulce de leche and a candy box full of retro confections, like honeycomb, toffee and brittle, appear as candy bar and ice cream inclusions, dessert garnish and artisan sweets at farmers’ markets and boutique candy shops.

The report highlights strategic opportunities for both manufacturers and restaurant operators in this exciting new sweet landscape.

For more information on “Confections and Dessert: Culinary Trend Mapping Report,” visit