Top Candy Innovations of 2023

candy innovation

Candy innovation is accelerating of late. Tessa Porter has certainly taken note.

Porter is a candy scientist, owner and operator of candy manufacturing company Sprinkk, and founder of Norma’s Fruity Snacks. And, in many respects, her business is booming in 2023.

Porter noted that, coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers are paying more attention to health and wellness. That said, consumers are also taking time to treat themselves in moderation.

“Consumers still want joyful experiences and mental health is important,” Porter said. “That’s where indulgence, texture, and extreme or unique flavors step in.”

Here’s a look at the top five trends in candy innovation in 2023.

5.Plant-Based and Dye-Free  

Consumers have been increasingly requesting plant-based claims, Porter said. An example of this is Hershey’s new plant-based Reese’s Cups and its Almond Sea Salt bar. Dye-free examples include Ferrara’s Black Forest, YumEarth, and UnReal. The candy scientist added:

“The consumer pressure is on for new products to use colors sourced from natural fruit, vegetable, and algae extracts, particularly when targeted toward children.”

4.Sustainability and Transparency 

Today’s consumer cares about sustainability in a way that they never have before and they also value trust. Smaller brands can capitalize on this trend. 

Norma’s Handcrafted Snacks, for example, is working with Midwestern farmers to secure future ingredient supply and thoroughly explains to customers what goes into its products, Porter said. The brand’s Elderberry Ginger and Strawberry Rhubarb fruity snacks use local honey with expansion into a new rhubarb farm and local farmer collaborations.

3.Adaptogens and Functional Confectionery

In addition to common multi-vitamin gummies and supplements, use of adaptogens and adaptogenic mushrooms has been increasing such as in Chimes Calmer Cacao Adaptogenic Ginger Chews and Tranquil Turmeric Ginger Chews and Alice Mushroom Chocolates, Porter noted. 

2.Reduced Sugar and Smaller Portions of Natural Sugars 

Porter says development for low-sugar or no-sugar products is expanding across the board in the non-chocolate category. A prime example is the transformation of classic chews into low sugar.

1.Super Sour and Multi-texture 

This category remains a major trend. Examples of super sour innovation include Warheads, and Barnett’s Mega Sour Fizz Bombs. Different textures can be seen with Haribo’s highlighting aeration for a marshmallow texture in combination with traditional gummy in its Berry Clouds.

The trend is also apparent in Trolli Sour DUO Crawlers, combining a lighter textured layer with its normal gummy texture along with a sour kick. 

How can companies capitalize on these trends? Take note and put the consumer first, Porter said. Today’s consumer is more educated than ever and wants to trust in the brands they choose, Porter explained. To be successful, companies need to meet consumers’ authentic needs and interests genuinely.  

“Highlight how your products already fit in with these trends, or make changes that are lower hanging fruit, such as using naturally derived colors,” Porter said.