European Confectionery & Snacks Trends

Last updated: 20 September 2023


After an almost two-year break, specialists from the confectionery and snacks industry reconnected. Bender Kilinc, one of EuroDev’s retail business development professionals, attended the ISM trade show at Koelnmesse in Cologne, Germany.

This blog will discuss the top 5 important trends and advancements that will propel the confectionery and snacks market forward.


Snack Food Industry Introductory Considerations


From 2019 to 2023, the global confectionery and snacks industry is expected to increase at a CAGR of 3.45%, with chocolate being the most popular category. The confectionery and snack industry has flourished despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent recession. Consumers are searching for comfort regardless of the scenario. They are frequently willing to spend extra on healthy, sustainable snacks that do not sacrifice flavor or taste.

In May 2020, 60% of customers purchased confectionery items, up from 56% the previous month. Healthy snacks are all about convenience for customers who are always looking for on-the-go snacking alternatives that help improve energy.

Manufacturers seeking to compete in the European confectionery and snack industry must recognize that customers want attention, knowledge, and innovation.

Europe snack industry consumer behavior


Here are the top 5 confectionery and snack industry trends:


Trust & Transparency as a Snack Industry Trend: Shared Planet


Different companies in the confectionery and snacks industry are projecting distinct and trustworthy environmental statements now more than ever. Based on the Informa consumer market, 38% of consumers responded that environmental issues were important when purchasing a product in this industry.

It has been demonstrated in the confectionery and snacks industry that customers are more concerned about their health and the environmental effect of the items they consume. As a result, players are replacing goods with plant-based materials to stay ahead of the curve. Plant proteins are being utilized to simulate the taste and texture of meat, fish, and dairy products.

Trust and transparency are must-haves in this industry for any brand looking to engage with an increasingly informed, forward-thinking, and linked customer base.

According to Informa consumer analytics, consumers have a better grasp of the importance of the microbiome in achieving total mental and physical well-being. It isn't easy to get a definitive conclusion, but gut-friendly components continue to influence purchase behaviors as people take charge of their health. 

Gluten-free sweets and snacks have grown in popularity among gluten-tolerant and intolerant consumers. The Low-FODMAP diet has been one of the fastest-growing diets in recent years due to its excellent treatment of digestive disorders such as bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. 


Snack Industry Tech Advancements


Technological advancements have resulted in significant innovation in the food and beverage sectors. Customers turn to apps and artificial intelligence (AI) for individualized nutrition advice and a better grasp of meeting their nutritional demands.


Amplified Snack Food Experiences


While customers' tastes and wants for new snacks and sweets are expanding, it is clear that the COVID-19 epidemic has produced an increased need for new activities. Young customers in the confectionery and snack food industry desire innovative and authentic foreign flavors, particularly when lockdowns disrupt their lives. As consumers continue to combine food and entertainment, many social media platforms create new possibilities for customers to donate and market their favorite businesses to their network.

According to a study conducted by Informa consumer market research, more customers are likely to continue patronizing local products even after the epidemic. What was fascinating was the emphasis placed on product freshness. This is thought to be due to in-home dining during the epidemic.

Due to this shift in snack industry trends, European brands are delivering their products in different ways. This is seen on product labels, which give a story about the product, its health advantages, components, and where it was grown — to exploit regional flavor characteristics within the marks.

It has been difficult for many players to interact with their customers. However, in the confectionery and snacks industry, trade shows and commercials that appeal to the consumer market have been acknowledged as the greatest strategy to keep your consumers at the forefront of the brand. Many consumers in most European nations seek items that correspond with their social ideals, ethical values, and political views. It is critical for manufacturing businesses to address all of the gaps that customers have if they want to continue to flourish in this market.


Sustainability in Snack Food Industry: Upcycling Redefined


The term "upcycling" encourages greater consumer and business support for goods that aid in the reduction of food waste in the food industry. Upcycling is the process of repurposing resources that would otherwise go to waste to create edible food items.

Upcycling has been a developing trend in the European confectionery and snacks industry in recent years, with treats made from various products. Manufacturers in the industry view this as a chance to add value to byproducts or surplus substances that would otherwise be squandered. Treasure8 and Philabudnace are two companies that have been at the forefront of repurposing safely edible substances into nutritious goods.

Snack and confectionery food industry


A Lifestyle-Centric Trend in Snack Food Industry


When questioned about the relevance of values to their diet, 62 percent of consumers polled picked humanitarianism, 56 percent chose inclusion, and 53 percent chose variety, according to Informa consumer market research.

Brands must become aware of the worth of their brand in the eyes of their customers. At the moment, Gen Z considers its cuisine to reflect its brand, lifestyle, and beliefs.


Snack Industry Trends Observations


In this day and age, food is about more than just consumption; it is also about the brands with which people seek to engage and an emblem that expresses personal and social ideas and values.

Euromonitor says that consumers are willing to spend more to find healthier alternatives when it comes to snacks. The move is being pushed by customers who want to live a healthier lifestyle without sacrificing indulgence — for example, dark chocolate is said to provide greater healthful and nutritional advantages. Manufacturers at ISM 2022 in Cologne suggested that experimenting with ingredients, such as substituting sugar with sweetened fruits and nuts, will be a trend to watch in 2022.

The sector's success is dependent on customer faith in the brands on the market. Consumers continuously scrutinize labels and contents to make informed judgments about their confectionery intake.

Confectionery and snack industry trends


Leveraging the top 5 food and beverage industry trends


As shown in the first two months of 2022, many firms are returning to normalcy and are eager to expand into new markets. At the ISM exhibition in 2022, it was determined that in order for manufacturers to achieve a larger market share, they must place their consumers at the forefront of the brand. While these and a few other trends are not novel, firms in the confectionery and snacks business require ongoing customer support.

The epidemic has given the sweets and snacks business a significant edge, forcing customers to constantly investigate, think about, and analyze their beliefs more than anything else. The trends highlighted by COVID-19 have indicated "how significant food and beverage choices are now when it comes to customers prioritizing their health," according to Ann Marie Butlet, Edlong's Global Director of Innovation and Commercial Development. Meals have evolved into a means of bonding with friends and family and discovering new flavors.

Consumers will continue to look for a healthy and nutritious balance, good for the environment and delicious in the following months. As a result, producers must guarantee that they match customer preferences while still producing authentic, rich, and delectable flavors.

Read more about the trends and developments observed at the Anuga trade show in 2021.


Key Takeaways for NA Manufacturers in the Confectionery and Snacks Industry 

  • Plant-based products and ingredients in the European snack industry market
    are growing fast. It's expected to continue growing due to consumer
    demands and values attached to health.
  • There is a change in the supply chain within the industry. This creates
    opportunities for the manufacturers and brands in the food and beverages
    industry to market their products directly to their target groups.
  • There is a need to convert from disposable packaging as consumers are
    becoming more away from the ecological impact of plastics and other
    packaging forms of packaging. North America is a leader in recyclable
    packaging materials. Hence, working with European confectionery and snack
    manufacturers would create undoubted gains.


Visit the biggest trade shows in the food and beverages industry


To keep up with the trends and developments in the European food and beverages industry (f&b industry), manufacturers are encouraged to visit these top 10 f&b trade shows:

  • Horecava – Amsterdam, Netherlands (January 9–12, 2023),
  • Gulfood – Dubai, UAE (February 20–24, 2023),
  • Alimentaria – Barcelona, Spain (Septembar 26–29, 2023),
  • Anuga – Cologne, Germany (October 7–11, 2023).
  • SIAL – Paris, France (October 18–22, 2023).


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