There’s a surprising new need emerging in the confectionery market: relaxation. Confectionery is usually associated with treats that are consumed to boost energy levels during the day (or, just as a fun and tasty indulgence).
Looking at consumer trends around confectionery in the US over the past two years, we see consumer discussion around the relaxing benefits of confectionery has been steadily rising. But, products in the market that address this need are lagging behind. This is notable because it highlights a clear opportunity for brands both large and small to get in the game.
Confectionery ecosystem, gummies & chews, comparing products in market vs. consumer discussions (US & UK Data, Mar. 2017 – Feb. 2019)
Still, there are some brands with ‘relaxing’ confectionery products on the shelves, most notably Nips (owned by Nestlé) and Vicks. It’s a loud signal to other brands that these big names are planting a flag around this trend.
Leading competitors in confectionery offering ‘relaxing’ as a benefit, gummies & chews (US & UK Data Mar. 2017 – Feb. 2019)
By contrast, the below graph indicates that consumers strongly associate other brands with ‘relaxing’. Orbit, Natural Vitality, Olly, Hemp Products, and Natural Factors lead the field. Olly is the only brand to reach the top ten in terms of product offering.
Top brands associated with ‘relaxing’ by consumers in confectionery, gummies & chews (US & UK Data Mar. 2017 – Feb. 2019)
Natural Vitality’s gummies focus on their calming effect, promising to help relax the consumer through the absorbable magnesium. Natural Vitality has a range of products with different messaging, including a line of product offerings that focus on stress relief, relaxation, and sleep aids.
Olly products include vitamin gummies that help you to relax, de-stress, and fall asleep. What’s particularly interesting is that even though Orbit leads the field in terms of consumer association with relaxation, it doesn’t use the term relaxing, stress relief, sleep aids, or any similar phrasing in its brand messaging.
‘Relaxing’ aligns with sleep aids
Consumers are eager to find confectionery that delivers their need for relaxing. Melatonin is a prominent feature that consumers associate with relaxation, as it is known for helping to promote healthy sleep. This could be an indication that consumers looking for ‘relaxing’ products are also looking for confectionery to help them sleep.
Consumer association with ‘relaxing’ as a benefit for the top 5 brands in confectionery, gummies & chews (US & UK Data Mar. 2017 – Feb. 2019)
For example, Vitafusion's melatonin gummies claim to help support good sleep, which could be the ultimate goal for consumers who are searching for confectionery that’s ‘relaxing’.
Signs of long-term activity in ‘relaxing’ confectionery
Looking ahead, there’s reason to expect that brands are picking up on consumer desires. Patent activity shows that relaxing is the fifth leading patent type filed for gummies and chews, indicating that we should be seeing long-term activity in this market sector.
Key opinion leaders show sustained interest in ‘relaxing’ confectionery; consumer posts on the topic have more than doubled over the past two years; and over 200 relaxing products have reached the market over the same period.
The rise in products and patents centers around gummies and chews. There’s a distinct lack of relaxing within other product forms, showing that there’s even more opportunity for innovation and market capture around these solution types.
Market forces in confectionery over time, gummies & chews (US & UK Data)
Relaxing confectionery products
Olly, one of the market leaders for relaxing confectionery, offers Goodbye Stress. Strictly speaking, it’s not confectionery – it’s marketed as a gummy vitamin supplement, but the easy chewable form appeals to people looking for relaxing confectionery. Consumer reviews reinforce the product claims to reduce stress, ease sleep, and help consumers feel better quickly.
Where CBD and relaxing confectionery intersect
The rising interest in relaxing confectionery is connecting with another trend in F&B: products that contain CBD or hemp extracts. HempTopia Hemp Gummies contain hemp oil and other nutrients, promising both to relax and re-energize you. Customer reviews are mixed, but there are consumers who have found that the HempTopia hemp gummies do help them to focus, calm down, and sleep well.
Relaxing confectionery has plenty of room for growth
Consumer demand for relaxing as a feature in confectionery is new and still relatively low, but it’s rising visibly. There are also signs that interest in relaxing confectionery intersects with interest in confectionery that supports healthy sleep. While some brands are already acting on the trend with messaging that targets both demands, ‘relaxing’ is still a long way under the radar in terms of overall product offering. There’s clear room for new and existing brands to expand into this space.
Written by Carole Katz
Marketing Manager at Signals Analytics
Carole has extensive experience in market analysis and research. Prior to Signals Analytics, she worked at Sodastream, where she gained valuable CPG category experience. She holds a BA in Economics and an LLB in Law.
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