The global sugar confectionery industry continues to rise with a steady speed, while the world’s top 10 sugar confectionery companies continues to lead the global market with some of the highest sugar confectionery sales. The market demand is mainly driven by the growing number of new products launched with innovative flavors and healthy ingredients, increase in gifting trend, and growth in retail market. In addition, rise in disposable income and increase in population in emerging countries such as China and India are also anticipated to augment the market over the next few years, despite the fact that growing health awareness and rising instances of diabetes around the world are expected to bring major challenges on the sugar confectionery market.
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Sugar has long been one of the most essential commodities in the modern economy, it is also the basic raw material supporting the global sugar confectionery industry. According to the recent report from USDA, the global sugar production was estimated to be around 175.1 million tonnes in 2019. The global sugar deficit forecast for 2019/20 is set to rise to a massive 10.9 million tonnes, compared to just 7.8 million tonnes two years ago. Global sugar consumption is estimated to rise by only 0.9% to 185.6 million tonnes, in part due to ongoing reformulation of beverages, particularly in major sugar producing countries like Brazil, India, and China.
Despite the decrease in sugar production worldwide, the global sugar confectionery industry still grows steadily and the world’s top 10 sugar confectionery companies in the world have witnessed gradual increase in their revenues in the past few years. According to the recent market report from Market Watch, the global sugar confectionery market size was about US$4.59 billion and it is expected to reach US$5.85 billion in 2025, representing a steady CAGR of 3.1% during the forecast period. The growth of the global sugar confectionery industry is mainly driven by the increasing sales in the retail sector, rising disposable income of consumers in emerging economies, new product launches with innovative flavours or healthier sugar alternatives, and the growing number of sugar confectionery companies focusing on promotional activities and social media marketing.
Currently, sugar confectionery products mainly include candy bars, caramels and toffees, hard candies, gummy candies, and other types of candy and sweets. Though sometimes conflated, sugar confectionery products are generally considered separate from bakers’ confectionery products such as cookies and cakes. Chocolate—outside of candy bars—is also typically considered to be separate from this market. Hard candies are so far the most popular product type in the global sugar confectionery market, representing almost 24% of the market share, then followed by caramels and toffees with a share of 21%.
Haribo is one of the major sugar confectionery companies in Germany, thanks to its nearly $3.2 billion in sales. The company specializes in the production of gummies, jellies, licorice, chews, fruit snacks, jelly beans, and other sweets. These products are distributed all over the world, with the company currently expanding into Asia and America. Haribo has its strongest presence in Europe, with the UK being its top foreign market.
Ezaki is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. With over 24 major plants and nearly 5000 employees, its annual sales reached over $3.4 billion. Ezaki is one of the largest sugar confectionery and snack manufacturers in Asia. Its signature products include chocolate Bars, biscuits and wafers, truffles, pralines and filled chocolates, moulded chocolate figures and shapes, panned confections, toffee and caramel, nuts/seed candies, bars, bark, brittles and marzipan, and hard candies.
Headquartered in Kilchberg, Switzerland, Lindt is one of the world’s most famous chocolates and truffles manufacturers. Its annual sales are nearly $4 billion. While demand for the company’s products in the US has diminished greatly over the last few years, the brand has maintained popularity across Europe, and in Australia, where Lindt ice cream is available.
Based in London, UK, Pladis has annual revenues of $5.2 billion and operates in 120 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Americas. The company has 34 factories in 13 countries and mainly operates in all major categories of chocolate, biscuits, cake, candy, and gum.
Hershey is one of the largest confectionery and snacks companies in the US. Its $7.5 billion annual sales are generated from its major products including chocolate bars, biscuits and wafers, chocolates, hard candy, and other sweets.
The Swiss food and beverage giant Nestlé is not only one of the world’s largest sugar confectionery manufacturers, but it is also the world’s largest food & beverage company with over $9.1 billion annual sales. The company currently has over 335,000 employees and more than 2000 brands ranging from global icons to local favourites presenting in 191 countries around the world.
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Meiji gains its $9.9 billion annual sales from its pharmaceutical products as well as its sugar confectioneries. Meiji’s major confectionery products include chocolate bars, biscuits, panned confections, gummies, jellies, licorice, chews, fruit snacks and jelly beans, and gum.
Founded in Italy, Ferrero is the third largest confectionery manufacturer in the world with over $10.6 billion annual sales. Ferrero invented the hazelnut cream found in its iconic Ferrero Rocher. Its other famous confectionery brands include Kinder and Nutella.
The American food giant Mondelez, formed in 2012, now owns some of the most famous confectionery and snack brands in the world such as Oreo, Milka, Toblerone, TUC, and Cadbury. The company currently operates in over 80 countries and generates annual revenue of around $12.9 billion.
The American confectioner Mars Inc owns some of the most famous sweets brands in the world, including M&Ms, Galaxy, Snickers, Skittles, and, of course, Mars bars. With over $18 billion in annual sales, it is the sixth largest privately held company in America, and the largest player in the sugar confectionery sector globally.
One of the major trends that has been witnessed in the global sugar confectionery industry over the recent years is the rapid expansion to the online sales channels. Most of the world’s top 10 sugar confectionery companies have enhanced their profitability by offering their products through the online distribution channels as well. The growth of the retail channel has been fuelled by the increasing number of internet users, online transactions, and willingness to buy immediately. The convenience of online shopping and the incorporation of enhanced security features for efficient customer service and payments along with highly user-friendly web-designs offer enhanced product visibility. It is expected that a growing number of sugar confectionery companies around the world will be innovating and developing their online channels to target the internet savvy customer segment.
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