News & Trends
2011 Trends: What to Expect in ConfectionsDate: 01/01/11 | Source: Specialty Food Magazine | Author: Nicole Potenza Denis
Categories: Trends and Statistics; Food Trends; Market Trends | Tags: Candy; Candy Counter; Fruit; Gluten-Free; Grain; Nut
What will be satisfying your customers’ sweet tooth this year? The emphasis will likely be on sweet and citrusy flavors, savory-sweet combinations and products with a healthy twist.
By Nicole Potenza Denis
Many top specialty food trends that were identified by panels of industry trendspotters at the Fancy Food Shows (see sidebar on p. 46), are showing up in the candy and confections category through new product rollouts or increased interest in treats that feature these flavors and textures. Grains, nuts and seeds; fall flavors such as pumpkin and sweet potato; citrus flavors such as lemon, lime and orange; and gluten-free offerings are prevalent in chocolates, hard candies, toffees and other sweet treats.
To help you stock your shelves with these sought-after flavors and ingredients, here is a roundup of products that incorporate these leading trends.
Many manufacturers agree that the addition of citrus—either in chocolate or hard confections—adds a refreshing element that can cut a product’s sugary sweetness, especially when the citrus has sour or tart notes.
At Sensational Sweets in Lewisburg, Pa., Managing Partner Virginia Feitner reports interest in the citrus flavors in her Chippers, The Bark with a Bite line, thin squares of white chocolate that contain pieces of hard candy and natural fruit oils. The Lemon and Lime varieties are picking up in sales over flavors such as Decaf Espresso and Peppermint. “Citrus is both refreshing and palate cleansing,” notes Feitner, who uses real fruit essence in her product. The company also makes Lemon and Lemon Walnut Fudge for people who find fudge too sweet. “The contrast of sweet and tart from the lemon is a great balance,” she says.
Other companies that are incorporating citrus into their chocolate bars include The Andrea Stainer Chocolate Co. The Italian company, based in Tuscany, offers White Chocolate with Lemon and White Chocolate with Orange in its Fruit Bar line, as well as a Dark Chocolate with Lemon & Papaya Bar in its Chocolatetherapy line.
Woodhouse Chocolates, Helena, Calif., features a Four Pepper-Lemon & Sea Salt bar in its Salty Savory line. According to co-founder John Anderson, piquant pepper is complemented by the flavor of the citrus while the salt heightens them both.
Citrus is also showing promise in hard, crunchy and chewy confections. For instance, the Fab-O-Pom lollipop from Das Foods in Chicago is an Orange-Pomegranate drink that uses real pomegranate extract and blood orange oil as well as its zest to add texture and a bit of bitterness, says creator Katie Das. “The idea was to create a sophisticated flavor with a fresher taste profile,” she says.
Silly Seeds, a new line of fruity candy-coated sunflower seeds from the Sunflower Food & Spice Company, Riverside, Mo. debuted in May 2010. Geared toward children, the seeds come in flavors such as Geeky Green Apple, Laughing Lemon and Tangerine Tickle. So far, owner Jarrett Dunn says the tangerine is a strong favorite.
240Sweet, a small-batch artisan confection company in Columbus, Ind., that handcrafts 74 flavors of specialty marshmallows, reports that its Lemonade Marshmallow—made with organic lemons and zest—was the best-seller this past summer. The company, which uses only local and/or organic ingredients and beet sugar to sweeten its creations, also makes a tart Avocado and Lime Marshmallow.
The Savory Orange Factor: Pumpkin and Sweet Potato
Savory influences in chocolate have been growing, with sweet potato being a recent ingredient to mingle with caramel or pecan in both white and dark chocolate creations. Now sweet potato is sharing the spotlight with its cousin the pumpkin in chocolate as well as in confections like fudge and marshmallows. Milk Chocolate with Pumpkin and Sweet Potato is the newest flavor being showcased in New York City’s Dylan’s Candy Bar’s The “It” Bar collection. The 31 percent milk chocolate bar smells and tastes like pumpkin pie. Similarly, Sensational Sweets’ Feitner makes Pumpkin Pie Fudge that uses real pumpkin in the recipe.
In Greenlawn, N.Y., Heather Foley, owner of Azure Chocolat, bakes organic sweet potatoes to incorporate into her Sweet Potato Pie Truffles and uses fresh organic pumpkin for her Mocha Latte Truffle. “If something is too sweet you can’t enjoy it,” she says. “Sweet potatoes and pumpkin are a natural savory fit when it comes to chocolate. They create a perfect sweet-savory balance.”Chocolate isn’t the only sweet offering made with a squash or tuber. 240Sweet’s creator, Chef Alexa Lemley, added a Sweet Potato & Ginger Marshmallow to its marshmallow of the month club this past autumn.
Grains, Nuts and Seeds
Healthier nuts, seeds and grains, such as heart-healthy granola and protein- and omega-3–packed hemp and pumpkin seeds, are finding their way into chocolates and brittles. The newest bar in Burlington, Vt.–based Lake Champlain Chocolates’ 5 Star Line is its Dark Chocolate Granola Bar. Prepared with the company’s house-made maple granola and packed with tart cranberries and roasted almonds, Lake Champlain touts it as the ultimate power snack.
In Los Angeles, Morning Glory Confections is taking classic peanut brittle and modernizing it with nontraditional ingredients. The company’s New Mexico Chili and Pumpkin Seed Brittle contains cumin and Mexican oregano for an earthy, crunchy and spicy treat.
Hemp, known for its protein and antioxidant properties, is an ingredient in a new bark at Azure Chocolat. The dark chocolate bark with hemp seeds incorporates lemon and green tea and is gluten-free.
As an increasing number of cases of celiac disease are being diagnosed and more people choose to eliminate wheat from their diets as a lifestyle choice, gluten-free products are on the rise. Products capturing consumers’ attention include Patrick Donovan’s Fudge from New Zealand. The company’s vanilla cream fudge is available in two flavors, Clotted Cream and Choc Hazelnut and is made with sugar, condensed milk, full cream milk powder, whey powder and natural vanilla.
When it comes to chocolate, gluten-free options are often coupled with other allergy-sensitive categories such as nut- or dairy-free. Sun Cups, created by Boulder, Colo.,–based Seth Ellis Chocolatier in a dedicated gluten- and nut-free facility, are organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance certified, and are made with organic sunflower butter from SunGold Foods in Fargo, N.D. Available in milk or dark chocolate, the product has a crunchy, salty texture from bits of flaky sea salt added to the recipe. Rick Levine, who develops all the recipes for Seth Ellis, founded the company with his brother, Neil, and friend, David Lurie, in 2006 because of a history of celiac disease in his family.
BingGo! Chocolate bars by South Salem, N.Y.-based Divvies Bakery are gluten-free as well as free from nuts and dairy. Founder Lori Sandler developed the idea for Divvies because her son, Benjamin, suffered from various food allergies. The chocolate bars are available in Benjamin Crunch (chocolate with peppermint bits), Dark Chocolate and chocolate chips for baking.
Whether your customers are looking for dietary solutions, healthier options or just a wider range of flavors, you’ll be able to find something new to offer for 2011. |SFM|
FANCY FOOD SHOW TRENDSPOTTERS
A variety of food writers, cookbook authors and other food experts participated in trendspotting panels at recent Fancy Food Shows, combing the aisles of artisan foods and beverages to identify the top flavor, ingredient and product trends.
In 2010, participants included: Lessley Anderson, CHOW; Fran Carpentier, Parade/parade.com; Faith Durand, Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn; Tanya Henry, Marin Independent Journal; Nancy Wall Hopkins, Better Homes & Gardens; Kay Logson, the Food Channel; Sara Moulton, chef, cookbook author and "Good Morning America" food personality; Rachel Mount, O Magazine; Kara Nielsen, Center for Culinary Development; Denise Purcell, Specialty Food Magazine; Joanne Weir, Joanne Weir’s Cooking Class; and Jenna Zimmerman, Food Network.
Current trends these experts identified include:
- Exotic citrus
- Gluten-free foods
- Good-for-you foods
- Grains, nuts and seeds
- Indian flavors
- Nostalgic foods
- Premium vinegars
- Squash, pumpkin and sweet potato
Nicole Potenza Denis is a contributing editor to Specialty Food Magazine.
This article was featured in the January/February 2011 Issue of Specialty Food Magazine. See other articles in this issue at:
January/February 2011 Specialty Food Magazine.
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