French confectionery will have a special place at SIAL 2024

March 6, 2024

The importance of French confectionery will be on display at SIAL 2024 in the confectionary and sweets section of the show.

For almost a millennium, confectioners have been developing their expertise for the enjoyment of young and old alike. This expertise is firmly rooted in a tradition that is perpetuated and enriched from generation to generation by the people and talents who adapt it to the new expectations and lifestyles of consumers.

The Syndicat National de la Confiserie, renamed “Confiseurs de France“, currently has 47 member companies – 90% of the market. 57% belong to the SME category, committed to the strong convictions that make confectionery a responsible profession employing 6,800 people. In 2022, the sector had a turnover of €1.46 billion on the French market including €1.19 billion for confectionery and the rest for chewing-gum. Almost a third of French confectionery production is exported.

At SIAL Paris, confectionery and sweets involve products from all the world, from Austria to the USA, from Brazil to Thailand. The SIAL Innovation feature area which unveils the latest trends in the confectionery and sweet sector and will present nearly 2,000 innovations. In 2022, 62 confectionery and sweet products were selected and presented at SIAL Innovation. The French market is one of the largest for confectionery and sweet products, and it will be well represented at SIAL Paris 2024.

French confectionery will have a special place at SIAL 2024
(Map from the Confiseurs de France)

Synonymous with sharing and conviviality, sweets and confectionery are small pleasures that are emblematic of cultural and gastronomic heritage. Sweets and confectionery are consumed in moderation in France at 3.1kg per year per inhabitant. They are synonymous with sharing and conviviality.

These products have a long history in France, as evidenced by their great diversity, with more than 200 regional and traditional specialties regrouped in 16 main confectionery and sweets. There are:

  • Baked sugar sweets and lollies include many varieties to choose from: tart, barley sugar, berlingots, puff pastry, filled
  • Gumdrops contain a natural plant substance: gum arabic, a natural extract from the Acacia tree
  • Caramels made of milk, cream or butter and flavoured with vanilla, chocolate, coffee, lemon, orange, pineapple or even orgeat (almonds and orange blossom)
  • Chewing gum is made from a natural gum, “chicle”, supplied by a tree in the Mexican jungle, the sapodilla and introduced in Europe by American GIs at the end of World War II
  • Dragées or sugared almonds are oval and smooth, in France dragées became popular fame in the 12th century
  • Candied fruits have a tradition dating back to the Romans, who soaked them in honey
  • Jelly sweets were invented in the 19th century, when confectioners discovered that sugar mixes very well with the resin of a certain acacia tree found in Africa, Asia and Australia
  • Nougat has been well-known in Provence since the Middle Ages. They became popular in the Ardeche region in the 16th century, turning Montelimar into the French capital of nougat
  • Pastilles owes its name to Jean Pastilla, favourite confectioner of the Medicis family, who was introduced to the Court during the reign of Henri IV
  • Chewing paste is the old name for “pectoral” paste and still sold in pharmacies
  • Marzipan made of finely ground sweet almonds
  • Fruit jelly are made from fruit pulp and sugar, originally a way of preserving fruit
  • Liquorice comes from a root and was long used for its soothing therapeutic properties, before becoming a gourmet treat
  • The Calisson is a lozenge of sweet almond paste with Provençal melon and orange peel
  • Marshmallowa are light, fluffy and sweet
  • Turrón is a famous speciality of both French Catalonia and Spain, and is a blend of roasted almonds and honey

Confiseurs de France work to promote the profession through three main drivers: excellence, transparency and commitment. On a daily basis, the association supports its member companies by providing them with information and expertise to enable them to anticipate and clarify their decisions in the face of changes in the sector. The union promotes the quality and diversity of its member companies’ products and ensures that their know-how is maintained, particularly through training.

Healthier and more responsible options

In 2018, Confiseurs de France published a chart with three main commitments. The first guarantees product safety for consumers. A scientific watch unit has been set up to monitor developments in scientific knowledge about the ingredients they use. For example, titanium dioxide has been identified as a controversial ingredient. It has consequently been eliminated from French confectionery and sweets.

The second commitment is to develop a range of responsible products. As consumer expectations are changing, Confiseurs de France is implementing recipes that are sugar-free, reduced in sugars, gluten-free, vegan, with natural flavourings and colourings, organic, etc.

The profession is also committed to offering smaller formats and resealable packaging and individual portions, to encourage reasonable consumption.

Lastly, since 2008, Confiseurs de France is no longer advertising on children’s screens and is implementing the EU Pledge which restricts advertising on TV, press, internet as well as having a presence in the vicinity of schools.

(Photo credit :

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