Hard Boiled Candies driving confectionery market boom in India

Indian confectionery market comprising an array of food products such as chocolates, candies & various sugar-based products is lately experiencing rapid changes in terms of trends & consumer behavior pattern. Hard Boiled candies is basic of all the confectionery product and easy to manufacture all the more. These are the traditional boiled sweets, usually hard all the way through, sometimes containing a chewy centre.

The HBC segment is growing fast in India in the wake of the confectionery penchant of the diverse population, which is apparently tapped by the market players with their marketing push & innovation strategies. Candy sales are on the fast track presently, all credit goes to the dominant market leaders that are pushing the Rs. 6000 crore sweet candy markets to grow at 1.5 times the FMCG industry growth in India. Despite constituting a third of the total candy market, the hard-boiled segment is witnessing heightened traction due to the entry of new players and product innovation in terms of formulation, processing & packaging.

Hard candies, also known as lollipops follies, suckers, or boiled sweets, are generally made of sucrose, liquid glucose, water, colour and flavour. Due to its popularity amongst all the age groups, Hard boiled confectionery(HBC) are available in umpteen variants like Candy, Hard boiled sweets, Lozenges, Sugar Drops to feast the sweet tooth of the contrasting demography. With the upsurge in demand, leading market player such as Lotte, Mars, Krafts (Mondelez), DS Foods, Surya Foods (Priyagold) are now targeting the market potential in their endeavors to produce and deliver a unique & economical assortment of HBCs in India.

Liquid Glucose syrups are used in combination with sucrose to lend sweetness, structure & stability to hard boiled candies in terms of transparency & hygroscopicity. Glucose syrups, composed of various saccharides with different molecular structures, hardly allow the formation of the regular pattern needed for crystallization. For candy manufacturing, Liquid glucose serves as a quintessential ingredient on account of its viscosity that retards the migration of micro-crystals & reduces the crystal growth.

The candy market is fostering confectionery boom in India by growing at the never before annual rate of 12-14% . Italy’s Perfetti registers the annual sales of over Rs. 2000 crore and leads the market with its eclectic HBC range of Alpenliebe, Chlor-mint, Mentos candies & Happident. Parle, ITC Ltd and Wrigley are the other major players in the segment.

But it’s Pulse that is racing up to competition & is indeed giving sleepless nights to billion-dollar leaders of the confectionery market. These hard boiled candy variants are the category breakers in the segment & have recorded tremendous growth in the last quarter.

The chocolate éclair & soft toffee category are apparently struggling with lower margins due to the premium nature of the product. As a matter of fact, any HBC maker will easily make more money by selling a candy for Rs. 1 than a chocolate éclair company. This mirrors a trend of hard-boiled candies driving the Rs. 8,500 crore ($ 1.3 billion) Indian confectionery market with other categories such as eclairs and gums showing sluggish growth due to lack of innovation.

As per the insights of Nielson India, new launches of brands, innovation & product variants are driving the candies segment to a 15 % level, almost double the rate at which confectionery market was earlier growing at. From being just a third of the overall confectionery market last year, HBCs currently account for nearly half of the total confectionery market, according to Nielson.

Hard-boiled candy segment in India was earlier considered as an impulse-driven purchase where consumers normally bought them in exchange of loose cash. However, the present transformation has drastically revived the ideology & unleashed a lucrative market for the confectioners to penetrate & proliferate.

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