Balanced diets have become more than just a trend over the last couple of years. With a heightened focus on taking care of your health, it's no surprise that many people are more concerned about what they're putting in their bodies. However, even with a lean toward healthier eating, that doesn't help curb the sweet tooth that many of us have. 

With summer slipping into fall and winter headed our way, sweet and savory treats over the holidays are sure to make an appearance. After all, there's no better time of the year for indulging in comfort food than during the fall and winter months. Ice cream and confectionery sweets are likely to be key ingredients in those festive family recipes. Based on recent market trends, we're going to see an increase in sales for both types of products over the next few months. 


Quick Highlights & Facts

  • Over 30% of consumers are buying more brand products since the start of the pandemic.

  • From the summer of 2017 to the summer of 2021, there was roughly a 20% increase in willingness to try more than just the standard flavors.

  • Cravings, taste, and convenience are the top reasons shoppers buy ice cream and confectionary items.


What Stats Are Saying About Dairy and Sweet Flavor Trends

Taste is the biggest motivator when it comes to deciding which dairy products to buy. When it comes to sweets, there's something that's just comforting about indulging in your sweet tooth. For dairy-based products, 22% of shoppers agreed that they purchased bars to subdue their cravings as well as for the taste. 44% of those shoppers purchased ice cream as a reward or a type of treat for themselves, and 37% of shoppers bought NC candy to satisfy their cravings.

Aside from sweet flavor trends, other top motivators for buying ice creams and frozen desserts in the last three years include:

  • Kosher certification

  • Reduced allergens

  • Gluten-free

  • Ethical packaging

Consumers are also checking the nutritional value, appearance, and smell, as well as whether the products could help with weight management.


Related: Sweet Success: Ice Cream Trek NYC


Popular Ice Cream Flavors

Name-brand ice cream is still the top consumer choice when it comes to ice cream, and while traditional flavors such as vanilla and chocolate are relatively popular buys, many people are looking to try new flavors. 

For example, private labels are seeing an increase in interest in flavors like Black Walnut, Honey Sopapilla, and Southern Banana Pudding from shoppers across the United States and Canada. These results come from shoppers stating that they would be interested in purchasing products under those flavors. 


Lower-Sugar Options

On top of flavor options, dairy products with no added sugar are seeing an increase in interest. In sweets, trends like these are gaining traction due to their more natural and health-based properties. Consumers are interested in their potential benefits, such as weight loss, energy, and mental clarity.

Keto-friendly sweets such as ice cream sticks and brownies are seeing an uptick in interest, replacing sugar with low-carb sweeteners. These options are also helpful for carb counting and portion control, making them all the more desirable. 


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Sugar Confectionary Trends

Options outside of dairy products, sometimes referred to as better for you (BFY) or better for us (BFU) products, are still considered niche. However, they're slowly growing in popularity due to their potential health benefits. BFY products often are low in sugar, contain no dyes, and have no additives. This makes them a great alternative to dairy products like ice cream or chocolates and is great for consumers who need diabetic or keto-friendly options. 

Indulgence and convenience are still the main reasons consumers are eating confectionary items. Similar to ice cream, 49% eat confectionary products at least once per week to fulfill a craving and treat or reward themselves. 

Over the last three years, consumers have said they choose to buy confectionary products due to seasonal availability, low or reduced allergens, gluten-free options, and social media marketing. 

Other reasons that consumers are deciding to buy certain confectionary items fall under the potential benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Nausea relief (e.g., ginger chews)

  • Probiotics (improves gut health)

  • Lack of GMOs

  • Fiber and MCT oil

  • Low carbs, diabetic-friendliness 

  • Immunity boosts

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

Overall, consumers still aren't buying confectionary items for the sole purpose of being healthy, but they are buying them as healthier alternatives when it's convenient and something new to try. 


For more statistics on the industry and current market insights, or for information on our products at Symrise, get in touch with our team today. 

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