‘Healthy indulgence’ increasing in popularity according to research

“Healthy indulgence” isn’t something people typically tend to consider over the festive season in December, but, come January, many consumers, this time determined to stick to their resolutions, want to make healthier choices. However, people also don’t want to feel like they’re going without, and so, according to Innova Market Insights, so-called “healthy indulgence” is on the rise.

According to Innova Market Insights data, between October 2022 and September 2023, there was a rise in health-claimed launches within indulgent subcategories. These included gluten-free, prebiotic – , probiotic-containing foods and no-added-sugar claims. All saw rapid growth, the data said. Meanwhile, a prebiotic dietary fibre, oligofructose, gained momentum, with significant 55% growth in health-claimed indulgent subcategories.

The trend for healthy indulgence is backed up by other studies. For example, according to Technavio, the gluten-free chocolate market is set to grow by $741.55 million (roughly €684.45 million) from 2023 to 2028, progressing at a CAGR of 7.86% during the forecast period.

The report says that product innovation by manufacturers is the emerging trend that is helping to shape market growth. This innovation encompasses a spectrum of offerings, including nut-free, sugar-free, Paleo, and keto-friendly options, meeting diverse consumer needs in confectionery and snacking. Moreover, an emerging focus on sustainable packaging aligns with the market’s shift towards eco-conscious practices. Manufacturers are also spotlighting artisanal chocolates enriched with functional ingredients, marking a significant direction in shaping market growth.

A report by Markets and Markets says that the Sweeteners Market is projected to reach $144.7 billion (roughly €132.40 billion) by 2028, up from $115.8 billion (€105.95 billion) in 2023 at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2023 to 2028. And, out of all of the sweeteners on the market, stevia commands the largest share.

According to the report, this is due to several key factors, including the fact that it is a natural, plant-derived sweetener with zero calories. This means it aligns with the growing consumer preference for healthier, clean-label alternatives to traditional sugars. “Its unique advantage lies in its high sweetness intensity, making it an effective sugar substitute in various food and beverage applications while maintaining a minimal impact on caloric content,” the report said.

Where probiotics are concerned, Kombucha, which is fast gaining traction and becoming favoured over other more typical soft drinks by a growing number of consumers. A report released by Technavio in November 2023, found that the market for these gut-healthy beverages is to grow by $3.56 billion (€3.25 billion) from 2021 to 2026 and register a CAGR of a very healthy 19.36%.

Among the main brands in this market are those typically known for Kombucha, including Remedy, Kosmic Kombucha, and others, but also big brands that could really help broaden the audience including The Coca-Cola co., PepsiCo, and Red Bull.

Related to this, the United States Energy Drink market is expected to reach a value of $36.71bn (€33.58bn) by 2028 from $23.2bn (€21.22bn) in 2022, growing at a CAGR of 8.1%, driven by several factors such as introducing a variety of energy drink option, including sugar free, natural, and organic, has contributed to a diversification of product offerings, which has enabled consumers to remain interested and attracted to the market. This is according to a report by Research and Markets.

This round up demonstrates that healthy indulgence is a growing trend with an increasing number of brands catching on and taking advantage of consumers who want to have their cake and eat it too.

Most recently, vegan and free from chocolate confectionery brand, Nomo, celebrated its win at the 2023 Veggie Awards, where it claimed a gold accolade in the vegan snacks category for its Caramel Filled Bar.

The accolade follows reported key gains for the business. The brand experienced a YoY value growth of 31.5% over 52 weeks to 2 December 2023, surpassing the total free from chocolate market growth of 17.1%. NOMO’s value share of the free from chocolate market rose from 15.7% to 17.6% in the latest 52 weeks, and had six out of the top 10 performing SKUs from a value perspective in the 12 weeks leading up to 2 December 2023.

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