Research Strategy Group international recently used our Crowd Intelligence platform to ask US consumers about potential for different kinds of hard candy.
The growing chorus of concern about high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners used in hard candy is clearly having an impact on consumer preferences. US consumers indicated that there was a 71% probability that hard candies made with natural sugars instead of artificial sweeteners will become more popular in the next 12 months. There is significant sentiment that these artificial sweeteners are more harmful to you than natural sugar. Other results in the market indicate that Americans are changing their idea of what hard candy is. They assigned a 62% probability that hard candies infused with vitamins and minerals will become more popular over the short term. Many saw this as a welcome benefit that would help assuage some of the guilt associated with eating hard candy.
At the end of the day, US consumers clearly want candy that tastes sweet and may even be good for them. However, there does seem to be a limit to what could succeed in the hard candy market. There was only a 23% probability that hard candy infused with savoury flavours such as nacho cheese, jalapeno or sour cream and onion would be popular with consumers. As sugar consumption slowly declines, it appears that candy will have to remain a sweet treat even if we eat less of it or try to add nutritional elements.