Sweetening the pill: the growth of health-enhancing gummy candies

Sweetening the pill: the growth of health-enhancing gummy candies

By
Louise Burfitt
September 21, 2021

🍬 What is it?

  • Gummy sweets, also known as gummy candies, gummy worms or bears, or jelly sweets depending on the region, include a broad range of chewy, sweet confectionery products - usually made with gelatin. 
  • Traditionally a somewhat guilty indulgence, but with increased consumer demand for better-for-you snacks means that these sweet confections are increasingly being enhanced with functional ingredients and sold as part of the health and wellness market. 
  • Whether it’s CBD-infused gummy bears or sleep-aiding sour jellies, the term functional gummy sweets encompasses any fortified candy that comes with added health or other benefits. 
  • And it’s becoming big business: the global gummy vitamins market is projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • Gummy bears, of the more traditional variety, are already a lucrative segment - worth around $14bn globally. 
  • The trend of fortifying these popular candies with functional ingredients emerged in small pockets in the 1990s, when advances in technology allowed vitamins and nutrients to be more easily added to products.
  • Functional gummies can deliver nutrients and pharmaceuticals to customers in a tasty, delicious package. And with more and more people interested in taking preventive measures to protect their health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, interest - and investment - in fortified candies is growing. 

📈 The figures

  • Worldwide, the functional gummies and candies market was valued at $2232.79m in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.59% to 2027.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Younger adults, in particular, are likely to see functional foods and supplements as an essential part of a rounded lifestyle and are more likely to take a preventative approach. They are also more likely to have been inspired by wellness and health influencers on social media. Research by Mintel has found under-40s tend to desire ‘quick-fix health products that promise added vitamins, gut health, protein, relaxation’ in an affordable, convenient package - like health-enhancing gummies. 
  • And Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are also getting in on the functional food action - the demographic has been described as the ultimate wellness consumer, making this age group a ripe market for functional gummy brands. 
  • The low-sugar movement - promoted by both governments and consumers - means confectionery brands have also needed to find new ways of enticing customers, and rebranding traditional candy as a better-for-you supplement when fortified with vitamins and nutrients has been a way to achieve this.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Innovative advances in technology are aiding the new wave of functional gummies. Belgium firm Rousselot has pioneered a new method of producing gummies without starch, while low-sugar and gelatine-free innovations are also gaining traction. 
  • Cannabis-infused gummies and sweets are riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things CBD-related that has swept the food industry in recent years. Touted as an anxiety reliever and stress antidote, among other things, cannabinoids are used by CBD gummy makers Pollen and Remedy Health in the UK, and Wyld in the US - to name just a few.
  • Traditionally, gummy vitamins are gelatine-based - a food ingredient derived from animal parts. But with the soaring growth of the plant-based market, gummy makers have also been looking at new ways to make vegan gummy candies. Mykind organics sells vegan vitamin gummies, while FIGHT in the UK is a new brand - in partnership with food charity Fareshare - supporting energy, immunity and bone-strength via plant-based candies. 
  • Low-sugar candies are also popular among functional gummy brands - for obvious reasons. Appealing to health-conscious consumers with your enriched products isn’t much use if your offering is laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The UK’s SmartSweets sells high-fibre and high-protein sour gummies - with a dramatically reduced sugar content compared to conventional candies. 
  • Specific and targeted functional benefits, honing in on key issues among consumers, are also becoming more widespread. China brand BuffX, for example, is known for its bestselling sleep-aiding gummy, which contains GABA, while US brand Candy Can is concentrating - funnily enough - on concentration.

👀 Who? (20 companies in this space)

Source: Rousselot

💊 Case study: Rousselot

  • Belgian firm Rousselot, who deal in functional ingredients, is part of the Darling Ingredients family, and a leading producer of gelatine - a key ingredient in gummy candies. 
  • Rousselot’s team of scientists have developed a specialised form of gelatin, branded as SiMoGel, that means gummy sweets can be made without starch. This results in end products that have improved mouthfeel, taste and texture. None of that chewy tyre feeling! 
  • This breakthrough will also allow for different dosage forms in vitamin gummies and a new wealth of possibilities in terms of shapes and textures, including 3D options. 
  • Starch-free gummy manufacturing, according to Rousselot, also has other benefits - including lower energy consumption, cheaper production costs and increased opportunities for sugar-free options. 
Source: Candy Can

🍭 Case study: Candy Can 

  • US brand Candy Can sell low-sugar, fortified vitamin gummy sweets featuring active ingredients to aid concentration and slumber. 
  • The two functional gummies the startup sells are branded as Focus and Sleep, with the former enriched with coffeeberry and l-theanine, and the latter with melatonin and relaxing lemon balm. Both come in three fruity flavours. 
  • Although the gummies are essentially functional nutraceuticals, the branding is more akin to a bag of gummy candies, like gummy bears or sour worms. Candy Can wants consumers to get their vitamins and enjoy it too, with the ‘bag of sweets’ format appealing to childhood nostalgia and fostering positive associations. 
  • The gummies are designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers who don’t want to dabble in energy drinks or more hardcore sleep aids, with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.  
  • The bags are only available to buy in bulk, encouraging a subscription-style service, with discounts available for customers the more they buy. 

👍 The good

  • Functional gummies have an advantage over medicinal foods - they can be sold in dietary supplement and pharmaceutical channels, alongside regular food categories. 
  • Confectionery is a low-cost category to manufacture, making it perfect for newbie brands to try out new things and road-test innovation. Sugary treats are also widely loved by consumers, which can make ‘better-for-you’ candies an easy sell. 
  • The functional gummies trend also shows that brands are responding to consumer demand for functional, healthy products, which can only mean a wider choice and variety for health-conscious shoppers.
  • Gummy startups can also capitalise on so-called pill fatigue, especially among older consumers who may need to consume several tablets a day, positioning their fun-to-eat candy-like products as an alternatives for those who find swallowing tablets a drag.   

👎 The bad

  • Making unsubstantiated health claims can land brands in legal trouble, so it pays to tread carefully and check your legal standing when touting the health benefits of a gummy product. Regulations vary widely by country so international sales can prove tricky.
  • It’s a lot harder to make a gummy appeal than it is to make a passable tablet or capsule - fortified candies not only need to provide the stated health benefits… They also need to taste like sweets - without being too unhealthy - and have a pleasing mouthfeel and texture. 
  • There’s also concern among health professionals and health-conscious consumers about ultra-processed foods and delivering health benefits via sugary treats. Doctors agree that whole foods are best, so brands may find functional gummy candies a tougher sell as time goes on. 

 💡 The bottom line

  • The ‘food as medicine’ trend, powered by covid-19, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - and functional gummy sweets play right into this trend. 
  • But brands need to be aware of their legal standing when it comes to labelling and target the right demographics to truly sweeten this type of pill.
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🍬 What is it?

  • Gummy sweets, also known as gummy candies, gummy worms or bears, or jelly sweets depending on the region, include a broad range of chewy, sweet confectionery products - usually made with gelatin. 
  • Traditionally a somewhat guilty indulgence, but with increased consumer demand for better-for-you snacks means that these sweet confections are increasingly being enhanced with functional ingredients and sold as part of the health and wellness market. 
  • Whether it’s CBD-infused gummy bears or sleep-aiding sour jellies, the term functional gummy sweets encompasses any fortified candy that comes with added health or other benefits. 
  • And it’s becoming big business: the global gummy vitamins market is projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • Gummy bears, of the more traditional variety, are already a lucrative segment - worth around $14bn globally. 
  • The trend of fortifying these popular candies with functional ingredients emerged in small pockets in the 1990s, when advances in technology allowed vitamins and nutrients to be more easily added to products.
  • Functional gummies can deliver nutrients and pharmaceuticals to customers in a tasty, delicious package. And with more and more people interested in taking preventive measures to protect their health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, interest - and investment - in fortified candies is growing. 

📈 The figures

  • Worldwide, the functional gummies and candies market was valued at $2232.79m in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.59% to 2027.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Younger adults, in particular, are likely to see functional foods and supplements as an essential part of a rounded lifestyle and are more likely to take a preventative approach. They are also more likely to have been inspired by wellness and health influencers on social media. Research by Mintel has found under-40s tend to desire ‘quick-fix health products that promise added vitamins, gut health, protein, relaxation’ in an affordable, convenient package - like health-enhancing gummies. 
  • And Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are also getting in on the functional food action - the demographic has been described as the ultimate wellness consumer, making this age group a ripe market for functional gummy brands. 
  • The low-sugar movement - promoted by both governments and consumers - means confectionery brands have also needed to find new ways of enticing customers, and rebranding traditional candy as a better-for-you supplement when fortified with vitamins and nutrients has been a way to achieve this.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Innovative advances in technology are aiding the new wave of functional gummies. Belgium firm Rousselot has pioneered a new method of producing gummies without starch, while low-sugar and gelatine-free innovations are also gaining traction. 
  • Cannabis-infused gummies and sweets are riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things CBD-related that has swept the food industry in recent years. Touted as an anxiety reliever and stress antidote, among other things, cannabinoids are used by CBD gummy makers Pollen and Remedy Health in the UK, and Wyld in the US - to name just a few.
  • Traditionally, gummy vitamins are gelatine-based - a food ingredient derived from animal parts. But with the soaring growth of the plant-based market, gummy makers have also been looking at new ways to make vegan gummy candies. Mykind organics sells vegan vitamin gummies, while FIGHT in the UK is a new brand - in partnership with food charity Fareshare - supporting energy, immunity and bone-strength via plant-based candies. 
  • Low-sugar candies are also popular among functional gummy brands - for obvious reasons. Appealing to health-conscious consumers with your enriched products isn’t much use if your offering is laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The UK’s SmartSweets sells high-fibre and high-protein sour gummies - with a dramatically reduced sugar content compared to conventional candies. 
  • Specific and targeted functional benefits, honing in on key issues among consumers, are also becoming more widespread. China brand BuffX, for example, is known for its bestselling sleep-aiding gummy, which contains GABA, while US brand Candy Can is concentrating - funnily enough - on concentration.

👀 Who? (20 companies in this space)

Source: Rousselot

💊 Case study: Rousselot

  • Belgian firm Rousselot, who deal in functional ingredients, is part of the Darling Ingredients family, and a leading producer of gelatine - a key ingredient in gummy candies. 
  • Rousselot’s team of scientists have developed a specialised form of gelatin, branded as SiMoGel, that means gummy sweets can be made without starch. This results in end products that have improved mouthfeel, taste and texture. None of that chewy tyre feeling! 
  • This breakthrough will also allow for different dosage forms in vitamin gummies and a new wealth of possibilities in terms of shapes and textures, including 3D options. 
  • Starch-free gummy manufacturing, according to Rousselot, also has other benefits - including lower energy consumption, cheaper production costs and increased opportunities for sugar-free options. 
Source: Candy Can

🍭 Case study: Candy Can 

  • US brand Candy Can sell low-sugar, fortified vitamin gummy sweets featuring active ingredients to aid concentration and slumber. 
  • The two functional gummies the startup sells are branded as Focus and Sleep, with the former enriched with coffeeberry and l-theanine, and the latter with melatonin and relaxing lemon balm. Both come in three fruity flavours. 
  • Although the gummies are essentially functional nutraceuticals, the branding is more akin to a bag of gummy candies, like gummy bears or sour worms. Candy Can wants consumers to get their vitamins and enjoy it too, with the ‘bag of sweets’ format appealing to childhood nostalgia and fostering positive associations. 
  • The gummies are designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers who don’t want to dabble in energy drinks or more hardcore sleep aids, with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.  
  • The bags are only available to buy in bulk, encouraging a subscription-style service, with discounts available for customers the more they buy. 

👍 The good

  • Functional gummies have an advantage over medicinal foods - they can be sold in dietary supplement and pharmaceutical channels, alongside regular food categories. 
  • Confectionery is a low-cost category to manufacture, making it perfect for newbie brands to try out new things and road-test innovation. Sugary treats are also widely loved by consumers, which can make ‘better-for-you’ candies an easy sell. 
  • The functional gummies trend also shows that brands are responding to consumer demand for functional, healthy products, which can only mean a wider choice and variety for health-conscious shoppers.
  • Gummy startups can also capitalise on so-called pill fatigue, especially among older consumers who may need to consume several tablets a day, positioning their fun-to-eat candy-like products as an alternatives for those who find swallowing tablets a drag.   

👎 The bad

  • Making unsubstantiated health claims can land brands in legal trouble, so it pays to tread carefully and check your legal standing when touting the health benefits of a gummy product. Regulations vary widely by country so international sales can prove tricky.
  • It’s a lot harder to make a gummy appeal than it is to make a passable tablet or capsule - fortified candies not only need to provide the stated health benefits… They also need to taste like sweets - without being too unhealthy - and have a pleasing mouthfeel and texture. 
  • There’s also concern among health professionals and health-conscious consumers about ultra-processed foods and delivering health benefits via sugary treats. Doctors agree that whole foods are best, so brands may find functional gummy candies a tougher sell as time goes on. 

 💡 The bottom line

  • The ‘food as medicine’ trend, powered by covid-19, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - and functional gummy sweets play right into this trend. 
  • But brands need to be aware of their legal standing when it comes to labelling and target the right demographics to truly sweeten this type of pill.

🍬 What is it?

  • Gummy sweets, also known as gummy candies, gummy worms or bears, or jelly sweets depending on the region, include a broad range of chewy, sweet confectionery products - usually made with gelatin. 
  • Traditionally a somewhat guilty indulgence, but with increased consumer demand for better-for-you snacks means that these sweet confections are increasingly being enhanced with functional ingredients and sold as part of the health and wellness market. 
  • Whether it’s CBD-infused gummy bears or sleep-aiding sour jellies, the term functional gummy sweets encompasses any fortified candy that comes with added health or other benefits. 
  • And it’s becoming big business: the global gummy vitamins market is projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • Gummy bears, of the more traditional variety, are already a lucrative segment - worth around $14bn globally. 
  • The trend of fortifying these popular candies with functional ingredients emerged in small pockets in the 1990s, when advances in technology allowed vitamins and nutrients to be more easily added to products.
  • Functional gummies can deliver nutrients and pharmaceuticals to customers in a tasty, delicious package. And with more and more people interested in taking preventive measures to protect their health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, interest - and investment - in fortified candies is growing. 

📈 The figures

  • Worldwide, the functional gummies and candies market was valued at $2232.79m in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.59% to 2027.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Younger adults, in particular, are likely to see functional foods and supplements as an essential part of a rounded lifestyle and are more likely to take a preventative approach. They are also more likely to have been inspired by wellness and health influencers on social media. Research by Mintel has found under-40s tend to desire ‘quick-fix health products that promise added vitamins, gut health, protein, relaxation’ in an affordable, convenient package - like health-enhancing gummies. 
  • And Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are also getting in on the functional food action - the demographic has been described as the ultimate wellness consumer, making this age group a ripe market for functional gummy brands. 
  • The low-sugar movement - promoted by both governments and consumers - means confectionery brands have also needed to find new ways of enticing customers, and rebranding traditional candy as a better-for-you supplement when fortified with vitamins and nutrients has been a way to achieve this.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Innovative advances in technology are aiding the new wave of functional gummies. Belgium firm Rousselot has pioneered a new method of producing gummies without starch, while low-sugar and gelatine-free innovations are also gaining traction. 
  • Cannabis-infused gummies and sweets are riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things CBD-related that has swept the food industry in recent years. Touted as an anxiety reliever and stress antidote, among other things, cannabinoids are used by CBD gummy makers Pollen and Remedy Health in the UK, and Wyld in the US - to name just a few.
  • Traditionally, gummy vitamins are gelatine-based - a food ingredient derived from animal parts. But with the soaring growth of the plant-based market, gummy makers have also been looking at new ways to make vegan gummy candies. Mykind organics sells vegan vitamin gummies, while FIGHT in the UK is a new brand - in partnership with food charity Fareshare - supporting energy, immunity and bone-strength via plant-based candies. 
  • Low-sugar candies are also popular among functional gummy brands - for obvious reasons. Appealing to health-conscious consumers with your enriched products isn’t much use if your offering is laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The UK’s SmartSweets sells high-fibre and high-protein sour gummies - with a dramatically reduced sugar content compared to conventional candies. 
  • Specific and targeted functional benefits, honing in on key issues among consumers, are also becoming more widespread. China brand BuffX, for example, is known for its bestselling sleep-aiding gummy, which contains GABA, while US brand Candy Can is concentrating - funnily enough - on concentration.

👀 Who? (20 companies in this space)

Source: Rousselot

💊 Case study: Rousselot

  • Belgian firm Rousselot, who deal in functional ingredients, is part of the Darling Ingredients family, and a leading producer of gelatine - a key ingredient in gummy candies. 
  • Rousselot’s team of scientists have developed a specialised form of gelatin, branded as SiMoGel, that means gummy sweets can be made without starch. This results in end products that have improved mouthfeel, taste and texture. None of that chewy tyre feeling! 
  • This breakthrough will also allow for different dosage forms in vitamin gummies and a new wealth of possibilities in terms of shapes and textures, including 3D options. 
  • Starch-free gummy manufacturing, according to Rousselot, also has other benefits - including lower energy consumption, cheaper production costs and increased opportunities for sugar-free options. 
Source: Candy Can

🍭 Case study: Candy Can 

  • US brand Candy Can sell low-sugar, fortified vitamin gummy sweets featuring active ingredients to aid concentration and slumber. 
  • The two functional gummies the startup sells are branded as Focus and Sleep, with the former enriched with coffeeberry and l-theanine, and the latter with melatonin and relaxing lemon balm. Both come in three fruity flavours. 
  • Although the gummies are essentially functional nutraceuticals, the branding is more akin to a bag of gummy candies, like gummy bears or sour worms. Candy Can wants consumers to get their vitamins and enjoy it too, with the ‘bag of sweets’ format appealing to childhood nostalgia and fostering positive associations. 
  • The gummies are designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers who don’t want to dabble in energy drinks or more hardcore sleep aids, with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.  
  • The bags are only available to buy in bulk, encouraging a subscription-style service, with discounts available for customers the more they buy. 

👍 The good

  • Functional gummies have an advantage over medicinal foods - they can be sold in dietary supplement and pharmaceutical channels, alongside regular food categories. 
  • Confectionery is a low-cost category to manufacture, making it perfect for newbie brands to try out new things and road-test innovation. Sugary treats are also widely loved by consumers, which can make ‘better-for-you’ candies an easy sell. 
  • The functional gummies trend also shows that brands are responding to consumer demand for functional, healthy products, which can only mean a wider choice and variety for health-conscious shoppers.
  • Gummy startups can also capitalise on so-called pill fatigue, especially among older consumers who may need to consume several tablets a day, positioning their fun-to-eat candy-like products as an alternatives for those who find swallowing tablets a drag.   

👎 The bad

  • Making unsubstantiated health claims can land brands in legal trouble, so it pays to tread carefully and check your legal standing when touting the health benefits of a gummy product. Regulations vary widely by country so international sales can prove tricky.
  • It’s a lot harder to make a gummy appeal than it is to make a passable tablet or capsule - fortified candies not only need to provide the stated health benefits… They also need to taste like sweets - without being too unhealthy - and have a pleasing mouthfeel and texture. 
  • There’s also concern among health professionals and health-conscious consumers about ultra-processed foods and delivering health benefits via sugary treats. Doctors agree that whole foods are best, so brands may find functional gummy candies a tougher sell as time goes on. 

 💡 The bottom line

  • The ‘food as medicine’ trend, powered by covid-19, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - and functional gummy sweets play right into this trend. 
  • But brands need to be aware of their legal standing when it comes to labelling and target the right demographics to truly sweeten this type of pill.

🍬 What is it?

  • Gummy sweets, also known as gummy candies, gummy worms or bears, or jelly sweets depending on the region, include a broad range of chewy, sweet confectionery products - usually made with gelatin. 
  • Traditionally a somewhat guilty indulgence, but with increased consumer demand for better-for-you snacks means that these sweet confections are increasingly being enhanced with functional ingredients and sold as part of the health and wellness market. 
  • Whether it’s CBD-infused gummy bears or sleep-aiding sour jellies, the term functional gummy sweets encompasses any fortified candy that comes with added health or other benefits. 
  • And it’s becoming big business: the global gummy vitamins market is projected to reach $10.6 billion by 2025.

🤔 Tell me more…

  • Gummy bears, of the more traditional variety, are already a lucrative segment - worth around $14bn globally. 
  • The trend of fortifying these popular candies with functional ingredients emerged in small pockets in the 1990s, when advances in technology allowed vitamins and nutrients to be more easily added to products.
  • Functional gummies can deliver nutrients and pharmaceuticals to customers in a tasty, delicious package. And with more and more people interested in taking preventive measures to protect their health in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, interest - and investment - in fortified candies is growing. 

📈 The figures

  • Worldwide, the functional gummies and candies market was valued at $2232.79m in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.59% to 2027.

🤷‍♂️ Why?

  • Younger adults, in particular, are likely to see functional foods and supplements as an essential part of a rounded lifestyle and are more likely to take a preventative approach. They are also more likely to have been inspired by wellness and health influencers on social media. Research by Mintel has found under-40s tend to desire ‘quick-fix health products that promise added vitamins, gut health, protein, relaxation’ in an affordable, convenient package - like health-enhancing gummies. 
  • And Gen Z, born between 1996 and 2010, are also getting in on the functional food action - the demographic has been described as the ultimate wellness consumer, making this age group a ripe market for functional gummy brands. 
  • The low-sugar movement - promoted by both governments and consumers - means confectionery brands have also needed to find new ways of enticing customers, and rebranding traditional candy as a better-for-you supplement when fortified with vitamins and nutrients has been a way to achieve this.

🔍 How is it shaping up?

  • Innovative advances in technology are aiding the new wave of functional gummies. Belgium firm Rousselot has pioneered a new method of producing gummies without starch, while low-sugar and gelatine-free innovations are also gaining traction. 
  • Cannabis-infused gummies and sweets are riding the wave of enthusiasm for all things CBD-related that has swept the food industry in recent years. Touted as an anxiety reliever and stress antidote, among other things, cannabinoids are used by CBD gummy makers Pollen and Remedy Health in the UK, and Wyld in the US - to name just a few.
  • Traditionally, gummy vitamins are gelatine-based - a food ingredient derived from animal parts. But with the soaring growth of the plant-based market, gummy makers have also been looking at new ways to make vegan gummy candies. Mykind organics sells vegan vitamin gummies, while FIGHT in the UK is a new brand - in partnership with food charity Fareshare - supporting energy, immunity and bone-strength via plant-based candies. 
  • Low-sugar candies are also popular among functional gummy brands - for obvious reasons. Appealing to health-conscious consumers with your enriched products isn’t much use if your offering is laden with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The UK’s SmartSweets sells high-fibre and high-protein sour gummies - with a dramatically reduced sugar content compared to conventional candies. 
  • Specific and targeted functional benefits, honing in on key issues among consumers, are also becoming more widespread. China brand BuffX, for example, is known for its bestselling sleep-aiding gummy, which contains GABA, while US brand Candy Can is concentrating - funnily enough - on concentration.

👀 Who? (20 companies in this space)

Source: Rousselot

💊 Case study: Rousselot

  • Belgian firm Rousselot, who deal in functional ingredients, is part of the Darling Ingredients family, and a leading producer of gelatine - a key ingredient in gummy candies. 
  • Rousselot’s team of scientists have developed a specialised form of gelatin, branded as SiMoGel, that means gummy sweets can be made without starch. This results in end products that have improved mouthfeel, taste and texture. None of that chewy tyre feeling! 
  • This breakthrough will also allow for different dosage forms in vitamin gummies and a new wealth of possibilities in terms of shapes and textures, including 3D options. 
  • Starch-free gummy manufacturing, according to Rousselot, also has other benefits - including lower energy consumption, cheaper production costs and increased opportunities for sugar-free options. 
Source: Candy Can

🍭 Case study: Candy Can 

  • US brand Candy Can sell low-sugar, fortified vitamin gummy sweets featuring active ingredients to aid concentration and slumber. 
  • The two functional gummies the startup sells are branded as Focus and Sleep, with the former enriched with coffeeberry and l-theanine, and the latter with melatonin and relaxing lemon balm. Both come in three fruity flavours. 
  • Although the gummies are essentially functional nutraceuticals, the branding is more akin to a bag of gummy candies, like gummy bears or sour worms. Candy Can wants consumers to get their vitamins and enjoy it too, with the ‘bag of sweets’ format appealing to childhood nostalgia and fostering positive associations. 
  • The gummies are designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers who don’t want to dabble in energy drinks or more hardcore sleep aids, with all-natural, non-GMO ingredients.  
  • The bags are only available to buy in bulk, encouraging a subscription-style service, with discounts available for customers the more they buy. 

👍 The good

  • Functional gummies have an advantage over medicinal foods - they can be sold in dietary supplement and pharmaceutical channels, alongside regular food categories. 
  • Confectionery is a low-cost category to manufacture, making it perfect for newbie brands to try out new things and road-test innovation. Sugary treats are also widely loved by consumers, which can make ‘better-for-you’ candies an easy sell. 
  • The functional gummies trend also shows that brands are responding to consumer demand for functional, healthy products, which can only mean a wider choice and variety for health-conscious shoppers.
  • Gummy startups can also capitalise on so-called pill fatigue, especially among older consumers who may need to consume several tablets a day, positioning their fun-to-eat candy-like products as an alternatives for those who find swallowing tablets a drag.   

👎 The bad

  • Making unsubstantiated health claims can land brands in legal trouble, so it pays to tread carefully and check your legal standing when touting the health benefits of a gummy product. Regulations vary widely by country so international sales can prove tricky.
  • It’s a lot harder to make a gummy appeal than it is to make a passable tablet or capsule - fortified candies not only need to provide the stated health benefits… They also need to taste like sweets - without being too unhealthy - and have a pleasing mouthfeel and texture. 
  • There’s also concern among health professionals and health-conscious consumers about ultra-processed foods and delivering health benefits via sugary treats. Doctors agree that whole foods are best, so brands may find functional gummy candies a tougher sell as time goes on. 

 💡 The bottom line

  • The ‘food as medicine’ trend, powered by covid-19, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon - and functional gummy sweets play right into this trend. 
  • But brands need to be aware of their legal standing when it comes to labelling and target the right demographics to truly sweeten this type of pill.
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