Trends and Opportunities Within the Candy Packaging Market

From hard candy to gummies, chocolate, and licorice, today’s candy market is vast, much more so than in years past. Candy aisles are bursting with options from legacy brands like Mars and Hershey’s as well as newer, artisan, and local brands rising to compete in the space. And there are even food brands not traditionally in the candy space that are producing sweet treats to get a share of the market.

As a candy brand, you know how important it is to set yourself apart from the competition and make your product and package jump off the shelf.  As you create your next candy line-up, consider these trends in the market to get a leg up on the competition.

The Candy Industry is Growing, and Changing 

Today’s candy aisles are busy and the market is growing, but it isn’t just ordinary options that are pulling consumers in.

According to IBIS World, industry revenue has increased annually over the past five years. But the research company states that heightened competition, as well as health concerns for today’s health-conscious shoppers has changed the market.

Since consumers are more aware of the nutrients in their food than ever before, items like high sugar and high calorie are turning some people away, reports IBIS World. But product innovations that appeal to the health-conscious mindset have seen positive returns. 

Tamalitoz by Sugarox pouch lineup.

The Current Candy Market

Part of the reason the candy market is growing has less to do with the candy itself, and more about the current environment. According to a report issued by IRI in March of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred Americans to find some comfort in indulgent food, like candy. 

The report stated that when looking across all channels for the week ending March 15, 2020, consumers bought about 50% more cookies than during the same time period in the previous year. And, chocolate candy went up 21.1%, while non-chocolate candy went up 14.4%. 

As you create your next (or first) candy product, be aware that consumers are looking for both healthier options, as well as an indulgent treat that will make them feel good – especially in times of unknown.

How to Move with the Candy Market

To meet demand, more brands are creating ‘healthier” candy options made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, fruit and nuts, low sugar, or even sugar-free. There is also a huge market for keto-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free treats that appeal to consumers following a free-from lifestyle. 

You may notice that there are also health food brands introducing their own version of candy options that tout things like made with real sugar, minimally processed ingredients, and raw or whole foods. These products are still candy, but with ingredients that consumers can eat guilt free, while still appealing to their desire for an indulgent treat. 

The rising awareness of sustainability is pushing the market forward as well. And part of that is eco friendly candy packaging, sustainable company practices, and even fair-trade issues surrounding products like chocolate. Consumers want to feel good about the things that they buy, and want to support brands that care about more than just their bottom line.

Flexible Packaging for the Win

As candy sales climb from increased purchasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, an influx of small brands coming to market, and healthier candy options emerging, one candy packaging format rises above the rest.

It’s really no surprise that flexible packaging is growing in the candy market. Flexible packaging allows for 360 degrees of branding, is lightweight, unbreakable and offers many options like stand-up, reseal, and even sustainable material options. 

There are three main types of flexible packaging for the candy market:

  • Stand-up pouches are a popular choice today for premium candy, for both small and large sizes. The multi-serving shareable bags and pouches with resealing technology help keep the candy fresh. And since they stand up, it’s easy to scoop, pour, and snack from right from the bag.
  • Rollstock is a popular option for small and large candy bars in that it allows for full branding of the bar, is lightweight and economical. 
  • Lay-flat pouches work well for bags of loose candy in all sizes. They are lightweight, and can be created with clear windows to showcase what’s inside.
Lay flat pouches from our friends at Kopper’s Chocolate

Digital Printing and Candy Packaging 

It’s common knowledge that an eye-catching design promotes a strong brand presence, as well as a higher value. But great design can’t stand on its own — it needs to be printed in a way that fully brings that design to life. Digital printing creates high-impact graphics, bright colors, and 360 degrees of candy packaging design, so you can include all the images, marketing and nutritional information, and brand story that you’d like. 

With digital print, brands of all sizes looking for custom candy packaging can also benefit from low minimum orders, quick turnaround time, and multi-SKU runs. 

Partnering with a Candy Packaging Manufacturer

If you’re in need of hard candy packaging, gummy candy packaging, or packaging for your craft chocolate, look no further than ePac. We specialize in digitally printed, custom flexible packaging, and our team of flexible packaging experts is ready to help you stand out on busy candy shelves. Contact us today or click here to get a free quote.