ORGANIC CANDY, MULTIPLE BENEFITS
In response to elevated buyer awareness, candy bar manufacturers are focusing on environmental sustainability issues reflecting changes in bean to bar processing practices. Many are developing increasingly successful fair trade, organic and environmentally responsible product lines. These product marketing campaigns involve not only promoting consumer health, but the health of the environment as well.
Good taste has become synonymous with good works for companies like Green & Black, Equal Exchange, Champlain Chocolate, Pure Fun, Yummy Earth and Newman’s Own. Experts note that these organic candy industry leaders are changing the image of healthy eating with better ingredients and tastier products. Higher percentages of chocolate, exotic fruits and fancy grade inclusions are expanding the market beyond simple candy bars.
Green & Black has 12 varieties in its line, Endangered Species recently debuted 5 more premium level bars to their repertoire, Champlain added truffles, Yummy Earth is launching Gummi Bears and Pure Fun is laying claim to the first ever organic candy canes just in time for the holidays. One might think with all this variety flooding the wholesale candy stores, there couldn’t possibly be money to be made, but they’d be wrong. In fact, the organic food industry as a whole is booming.
According to the Organic Trade Association, in 2007, wholesale candy and snack purchases in this niche reached $1 billion. Sources at Equal Exchange say they started 2009 with a 12% gain. Sales at Endangered Species are up 121% this year. Some complain that higher prices make it tough to actually gauge whether this positive trend will continue, but the promise of big bucks is not the only benefit.
Fair Trade candy like the kind Equal Exchange makes, allows local farmers to reap some of that benefit by making a fair portion of the profits on each sale. Hillside’s Go Naturally candy is a NJ based organic brand that also promotes green living. Because many of these consumers support environmental causes that support indigenous cultures, or locally-made products, having this manufacturing philosophy results in stronger loyalty and better sales. And although consumers find organic candy is generally more expensive than conventional, a good number believe the benefits are worth it.
Analysts agree that advertising and packaging play an important role in educating consumers about the issues. Increasingly, customers are interested in learning how their candy gets made and not just how it tastes. Candy stores that keep these desires in mind will not only do well fiscally, but present a healthly candy agenda on the forefront of the industry--one candy bar at a time.