USA’s Fancy Foods magazine reports the top trends in confectionary for 2010-2011 from the recent (May) National Confection Association Expo.

The magazine says that they include:

  • Chocolate-Covered Everything – America’s love for chocolate cannot be stopped as manufacturers look for more and more delicious treats to cover with chocolate. (Those are lightly cocao powder coated cashews at left from Yumnuts.*)
  • Twisted Traditions – New twists on classic candies are beloved by consumers who find comfort in familiar brands but want to try new and innovative ways to enjoy their favorite snacks.
  • Up in the Air – Snacking practically takes flight as aerated confections or lighter than air treats hit the shelves.
  • REAL Good – Today’s consumer focus on natural and wholesome ingredients has not gone unnoticed by the confectionery and snack industry. Honey as an ingredient and as a flavor harkens back to the origins of sweetened confections; products containing real fruit juice, all natural ingredients and some addressing other health concerns have also been introduced.
  • The Galloping Gourmet – Snacks and confections are little pleasures to be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle. Companies continue to introduce a variety of gourmet delights.
  • Fresh-N-Fruity – Bursting on the scene with fresh and powerful flavors are candies and gums in show-stopping varieties.
  • Dark and Dreamy – Dark chocolate has been increasing in popularity for years and new product introductions have played a big part in the expansion of the category.

The Fancy Foods magazine also has a Blog with some ideas that are worth absorbing for local producers. One of the obvious issues at the Farmers’ Markets I attend are the stalls where jams and preserves jostle to make themselves distinguishable, and as for sweets, fudge rules. There’s a Photodiary here on the Yarra Valley Farmers Market that shows a better than usual product range and how good branding helps a lot.

*There are lots of Australian versions of the choc covered cashews available. Tasmanian DownUnder Fine Foods have some quality ones.

Any comments on positioning and branding of the preserves and snacks areas?