Candy Making and Clean Labels

By: Jamie Hooker

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but that rule doesn’t translate to food. For health-conscious grocery shoppers, they often search product labels for terms like “no artificial sweeteners” and “made with all-natural ingredients”.  Are people searching for the same terms in their candy? There’s a growing demand for natural ingredients, but are candy-making companies expected to offer “healthier” candy options? (Or rather, “not-as-bad-for-you” options!)

The idea of a clean label refers to consumer demand for transparency and simple ingredients from food companies. This was a talked-about topic at the Sweets & Snacks Expo at the end of May, where major players in the industry revealed innovations and their intentions to rid their products of artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors and preservatives.

For some smaller and mid-size candy companies, transitions like this can be expensive. Just Born Quality Confections, who makes Peeps, Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike candies, is an example. Instead of rolling out new product and spending major dough, the company has focused on their transparency of ingredients. If companies are not prepared to reinvent their product, it’s a step in the right direction to be upfront and honest with consumers about what’s in their candies.

Just Born Quality Confections understands if the consumer demands it, they will comply, but they say for now they are doing well with what they’re selling.

When it comes to processed foods, 65 percent of people, up from 47 percent, want minimally processed foods, and 54 percent of people, up from 33 percent, look for food and beverages with a short list of recognizable ingredients. More and more people are paying closer attention to the Nutrition Label on their foods, and the last things they want to see are long, unrecognizable ingredients and 30 different color dyes.

It’s a fine line candy companies are walking along. How do you remove artificial flavors and colors while keeping the integrity of the product, especially its taste? Check out this article to read more about what leading candy companies are doing to please their consumers.