The trend towards functional and sustainable confectionery and sweets

Consumers are seeking sweet delights that also deliver health benefits

More than sugary treats, the world of confectionery is undergoing a metamorphosis, transforming flavours that cater to consumers’ taste buds, and their growing health consciousness and desire for a sustainable future. At THAIFEX – Anuga Asia, held annually in Bangkok, Thailand, the sweets and confectionery tradeshow (28 May – 1 Jun) will demonstrate confectionery trends that are shaping the future.

Indulgent sweets that once can indulge without consequence are a key trend this year. Exhibitors like Sunfood Veggies with their phyto jellies, packed with a blend of vegetables, fruits, and essential fatty acids, and Hello M’arch with their commitment to 100% natural and organic superfood ingredients, exemplify this shift. Their reduced sugar options are no longer a compromise; they are a delicious alternative, proving that sweetness can be achieved with natural ingredients like stevia or monk fruit.

Sweets made of vegetables and vegan sweets cater to the growing population seeking plant-based alternatives without sacrificing flavour or texture. Exhibitor Sunfood Veggies Phyto Jelly makes a plant-based nutraceutical product that packs a healthful punch. These jellies are designed as a dietary supplement and feature a blend of mixed vegetables and fruits. Key ingredients include flaxseed oil, known for its omega-3 fatty acids that support heart health; carrot, which is high in beta-carotene for good vision; marigold, rich in lutein for eye health; and zeaxanthin, another eye-supporting nutrient. This combination makes the jellies not just a tasty treat, but also a convenient way to consume important vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants that may contribute to overall well-being.

Premium chocolates and artisanal creations by companies like Malaysian exhibitor Kintry also offer decadent flavours and handcrafted processes. Handmade with love and Malaysian heritage, Kintry uses 100% real ingredients with imported butter for premium flavour. Minus the trans fats and artificial additives Kintry snacks are MeSTi and HALAL certified.

Ethical sourcing and sustainable practices are becoming core values within the industry. Companies like Oh So Healthy! showcase this commitment by using 100% real fruits and vegetables with minimal processing, minimising their environmental footprint. Their crisps are crafted without oil, frying, preservatives, or added sugar, making them the perfect guilt-free indulgence.

Innovation has also allowed functional ingredients to be added to confectionery, offering more than a sweet treat. Exhibitor Aadvik delivers camel milk chocolate. Chocolate made with camel milk offers health benefits like lower cholesterol, are rich in nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, and calcium to support immune health function, improve bone health, and offering antioxidant properties. The insulin-like proteins in camel milk also make this chocolate beneficial for managing blood sugar levels, thus supporting a healthy metabolism.

And as clean labels are no longer a luxury, and more of the norm, consumers are demanding transparency in their treats. This has translated to clear nutritional information on packaging, allowing informed choices. Fruit and vegetable snacks are taking centre stage, offering a delicious and healthy alternative to traditional sugary treats.

Exhibitor Hello M’arch supports well-being through 100% natural and organic superfood ingredients. Their commitment to clean eating extends to less sugar, gluten-free options, and a complete absence of GMOs, preservatives, and artificial flavours and colours, designed to nourish body and spirit.

The ice cream aisle is also undergoing a transformation. Alternative dairy sources like oat milk and coconut milk are making creamy treats accessible to those with dietary restrictions.

Floral infusions are another trend, adding elegance and unexpected flavours to confectionery. Wildflowers, lavender, and cherry blossom are infused to create a unique sensory experience, expanding the world of flavour possibilities. At THAIFEX – Anuga Asia, the sweets and confectionery trade show offers a glimpse into the future of confectionery for industry professionals and consumers alike.