New market data from Innova Market Insights finds that the rising level of interest in “naturalness” has made a stronger impression in the confectionery sector and is driving industry to adopt “clean labeling.”

Nearly 9.5% of all confectionery launches recorded by Innova in the 12 months ending September 2012 used either natural or additive-/preservative-free claims or both. This made it the most popular health claim overall, ahead of sugar-free/low-sugar/no-added-sugar, featured on just under 9% of introductions, organic on 3.3% and low fat on just under 2%.

The levels of interest in natural and additive-/preservative-free claims have been much higher in the more developed markets, particularly the U.S. and Western Europe, where they accounted for 16% and 15% of total confectionery introductions, respectively.

Sugar confectionery and chocolate both featured a similar number of launches using natural and additive- or preservative-free claims, but their influence was more significant for sugar confectionery, as they accounted for more than 15% of total launches, compared with 9% for chocolate.

Lu Ann Williams, a research manager at Innova Market Insights, says interest in naturalness, all-natural ingredients and the elimination of artificial additives is an area of considerable interest in the food and drinks market. “Looking at levels of new product activity, this trend seems set to continue, not only in the introduction of new clean-label lines, but perhaps more significantly in the reformulation of existing market-leading brands to meet clean-label criteria," she adds.