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A look back at 2017

This week, the Confectionery Production team are busy pressing the December 2017/January 2018 issue, which has got me thinking about this year’s key trends.

The move to reduce sugar in food and drink, including confectionery and chocolate, has somewhat stepped up a gear this year, particularly in the UK. Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging manufacturers to reduce sugar in their products by 20% by 2020. Not only is this resulting in a raft of new product development and reduced portion sizes, it has also spurred the development of alternative flavouring solutions that provide the sweet taste consumers are looking for, without the high sugar content.

Indeed, mindful choices is among the key food drivers for 2018, according to Innova Market Insights, with seven in 10 US and UK consumers wanting to know and understand the ingredients that go into the products they buy.

Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights, says, “Today’s consumer displays a high level of mindfulness about well-being and the environment. So, it is no surprise that consumers are becoming increasingly mindful in their food choices, wanting to know what is in their foods in order to make decisions about health, sustainability and ethical issues.”

In terms of processing and packaging equipment, automation continues to play an important role in confectionery production as the need to manufacture increasing volumes of product more efficiently has never been greater. This has been demonstrated at many of the conferences and exhibitions the team have attended this year, including ProSweets, Interpack, Gulfood Manufacturing.

Not only has the team been looking back at this year’s key trends, but we’ve also been reporting on the top trends to watch in 2018. Green banana flour is among the four key ingredients that are expected to excel across Europe in 2018, according to global research firm Mintel, while Pladis has revealed its insights into ‘the new breed of snackers’ in the UK, with younger consumers snacking more than any previous generation. This, the snacking company says, is triggered largely by the erosion of traditional food rituals such as set meal times; with Pladis seeing the emergence of the ‘fourth meal’.

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