Global Hard Candy Trends and Forecast Illustration

2023 Hard Candy Industry Recap and 2024 Hard Candy Trends

Susan Hallak

Unwrapping the 2023 Candy Industry and Global Hard Candy Market Size

The global hard candy market has experienced significant shifts over the years, influenced by changing consumer preferences, product innovation, fresh flavors and health claims. As we finish the first quarter of 2024, understanding the dynamics of this sector, from its market size to the latest trends forecasted for the candy industry, becomes pivotal. This article provides a detailed exploration of the thriving hard candy market, the most popular hard candy brands of 2023, insights into popular flavors, industry growth, and market research and hard candy demand forecast for 2024 and beyond.

What Drove the Growth of the Global Hard Candy Market in 2023?

Hard Candy Sales 2023 ChartSome sweet success for brands with more than $50 million of sales in 2023 include:
  • Spangler Hard Candy, reaching $93.9 million, marking a growth of 20.5%
  • Tootsie Roll Hard Candy, achieving $85.2 million, witnessing an 11.6% rise.
  • Charms, selling $78.3 million, for a 14.4% increase.
  • The Bazooka Company’s Push Pop, hit $60.0 million, recording a 16.7% growth.
  • Mars Wrigley’s Lifesavers, amounting to $52.0 million, with a notable surge of 21.8%.

Examining the Surge in Candy Consumption

In 2023, a remarkable surge in candy consumption was observed, contributing significantly to the expansion of the global hard candy market. This increase can be attributed to various factors including the rising popularity of indulgence eating, a relish for nostalgic flavors, and the convenience of consuming hard candies. Notably, the demand for hard candies saw an upswing as consumers sought comfort in these sweet treats amidst a challenging global scenario. Moreover, special occasions and holidays continued to bolster candy sales, underscoring the ingrained cultural tradition of candy gifting and consumption.

Further amplifying this trend, candy companies have adeptly navigated consumer preferences, introducing a wide array of innovative hard candy products. These range from sugar-free options catering to health-conscious consumers to exotic flavor combinations appealing to adventurous palates. Consequently, the candy market witnessed a broadened consumer base, from children to adults, contributing to an overall uplift in the global hard candy industry. This growth trajectory reflects not only the enduring appeal of hard candies but also the agility of the industry in responding to evolving consumer trends.

Hard Candy Market Share by Brand ChartIdentifying New Candy Trends & Consumer Preferences

The global hard candy market size witnessed an expansion as new candy trends and consumer preferences emerged in 2023. Iconic candy brands and emerging players closely monitored market shifts to align their product portfolios with the latest demands. One notable trend was the increased preference for artisanal and gourmet hard candies, which offered consumers a premium indulgence experience. These products often featured unique flavors, natural ingredients, and innovative packaging, setting them apart in the competitive market.


Additionally, sustainability became a key consideration for consumers when purchasing hard candies. Environmentally friendly packaging and ethically sourced ingredients resonated strongly with eco-conscious consumers, prompting candy companies to rethink their production and packaging strategies. This growing emphasis on sustainability reflects broader industry trends towards environmental responsibility and aligns with consumer values, further influencing the development of new hard candy products. Together, these new trends and consumer preferences have molded the hard candy market, steering it towards a future of innovation and sustainability.

Forecasting 2024 Confectionery Industry Trends Related to Hard Candy

Exploring Key Industry Trends in the Candy Industry

How Confectionery Trends Influence Hard Candy Products

The confectionery industry, with its diverse range of products and ever-evolving consumer tastes, significantly influences the development of hard candy products. Recent trends in the candy industry, such as the demand for natural and organic ingredients, have seen a parallel reflection in the hard candy sector. Manufacturers are increasingly incorporating natural flavors and colors, reducing artificial additives to cater to health-conscious consumers. This shift is not only a response to consumer demand but also a strategic move to differentiate products in a crowded market.

Another notable trend is the fusion of flavors and the introduction of unexpected ingredients in hard candies, mirroring broader culinary innovations. Exotic and spicy flavors, once niche, have entered the mainstream, offering consumers novel taste experiences. This trend towards flavor innovation has not only refreshed the product lines of established candy brands but also provided a platform for new entrants to capture market share. By embracing these industry trends, hard candy manufacturers continue to excite and engage consumers, driving the sector's growth.

The Impact of Global Hard Candy Market Size on Industry Dynamics

Global Hard Candy DemandThe global hard candy market size has a profound impact on the dynamics within the confectionery industry. As the market for hard candies expands, it attracts increased investment and innovation, leading to heightened competition among candy companies. This competitive environment spurs continuous improvement in product quality, packaging, and marketing strategies, benefiting consumers through greater choice and innovation. Additionally, the growing market size offers candy companies the potential to scale operations and explore new distribution channels, including e-commerce, enhancing global accessibility to hard candy products.

Furthermore, the global reach of the hard candy market fosters cross-cultural influences in candy product development. Flavors and ingredients popular in one region can find their way into the market in another, creating a diverse and rich product offering that appeals to a global consumer base. This dynamic nature of the hard candy market, driven by its expanding size, not only shapes consumer preferences but also sets the pace for future trends in the confectionery industry. The ability to adapt and innovate within this context is crucial for companies aiming to achieve and maintain market leadership.

Forecasting the Future: Billion-Dollar Growth by 2030

The future of the hard candy market is projected to witness significant growth, with forecasts indicating that it may reach billion-dollar valuations by 2030. This optimistic outlook is grounded in the continuous evolution of consumer preferences and the industry's capability to innovate. The anticipated growth will likely be fueled by several factors, including the global expansion of the middle-class population, increasing disposable incomes, and the rising popularity of premium and artisanal candy products. These factors collectively contribute to an increased willingness among consumers to spend on indulgent and high-quality hard candies.

Google Trends For Hard Candy (US Data) 

To sanity check industry projections Candy Pros took 20 years of Google Trends data, showing monthly volume for Hard Candy (Food) related searches and did a kind of analysis is known as time series decomposition, which is a statistical method that takes a complex set of data points and breaks it down into simpler, clearer components to understand underlying patterns. This let's us separate the long-term trend showing whether interest is growing or shrinking over the years independent of seasonal swings, like increased searches around Halloween or Christmas when hard candies are popular. By examining these strands separately, we can better can better understand how the long term trend for hard candy is changing.

Hard Candy in Google Trends with Prophet Forecast

We can see that somewhere around 2018 the long term growth trend of hard candy significantly accelerated. 

Diving Into the Most Popular Hard Candy Flavors of 2023

Mint Hard Candy: An Evergreen Favorite

Mint Hard Candy

Mint hard candy has remained an evergreen favorite among consumers for its refreshing taste and breath-freshening properties. In 2023, the demand for mint hard candies continues to soar, underlining its unwavering popularity in the global hard candy market. Market research indicates that mint's cool and refreshing flavor appeals to a broad consumer base, making it a steady performer in candy sales. The persistence of mint hard candy's appeal can be attributed to its traditional yet versatile flavor profile, which candy companies have innovated over the years to introduce various sub-flavors and combinations, thereby keeping the category vibrant and engaging.

The mint flavor is not just limited to being a standalone offering; it's frequently combined with chocolate, creating a classic duo that appeals to those who crave a balance between refreshment and indulgence. This enduring popularity highlights how certain flavors maintain their charm over the years, irrespective of emerging market trends. Beyond the taste, the health-conscious segment of consumers perceives mint as a healthier candy option, further cementing its position in the hard candy market. As 2023 progresses, mint hard candy is projected to continue being a strong contributor to candy sales, reinforcing its status as an indispensable part of the confectionery landscape.

The Rising Demand for Fruit and Chocolate Hard Candies

chocolate hard candy

The global hard candy market has witnessed a surge in demand for fruit and chocolate hard candies, reflecting a shift toward more diverse and indulgent flavor profiles. In 2023, fruit hard candies, with their wide range of flavors from citrus to berry, have captivated consumers' palates, offering a sweet escape with every piece. This trend is supported by the growing consumer inclination towards natural and fruit-based confections, propelling fruit hard candies to new heights of popularity. Similarly, chocolate hard candies have carved out a niche, combining the rich, decadent flavor of chocolate with the satisfying crunch of hard candy. The expansion in varieties, including exotic fruit flavors and innovative chocolate blends, indicates a vibrant market segment brimming with potential.

Market research emphasizes that the appeal of fruit and chocolate hard candies extends beyond taste to encompass the sensory experience they offer. The vibrant colors of fruit hard candies and the luxurious appeal of chocolate varieties make them not only a treat for the palate but also a feast for the eyes. On the production side, candy companies are increasingly leveraging natural ingredients and sustainable practices to appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. The blend of innovation, sustainability, and sensory appeal is set to drive the growth of fruit and chocolate hard candies in the global hard candy market through 2023 and beyond.

Caramel Hard Candy: A Sweet Spot in the Market

Caramel Hard Candies

Caramel hard candy has captured a sweet spot in the confectionery market, with its rich, buttery flavor and smooth texture appealing to candy lovers globally. In 2023, the popularity of caramel hard candies shows no signs of waning, as consumers continue to cherish this classic confection. The universal appeal of caramel, stemming from its comforting and indulgent qualities, ensures it remains a staple in the hard candy segment. Market analysts observe that caramel's versatility has enabled candy companies to experiment with a variety of flavor pairings, such as salted caramel and caramel apple, further broadening its appeal.

Moreover, the demand for caramel hard candies is bolstered by the nostalgia factor, evoking memories of childhood and simpler times for many consumers. This emotional connection has proven to be a powerful driver in candy consumption trends, with caramel hard candies serving as a conduit for these cherished memories. Additionally, advancements in candy production technologies have allowed for the creation of newer, more sophisticated caramel flavors and formulations, appealing to a wider audience. Looking ahead, the caramel hard candy market is poised for continued growth, with innovations in flavor and texture set to capture the hearts (and taste buds) of consumers around the world.

Gleaning Insights from Candy Market Share & Size Data

Market intelligence plays a pivotal role in shaping the confectionery industry by providing crucial insights into the candy market share and size. Understanding these metrics allows candy companies to make informed decisions regarding product development, marketing strategies, and expansion efforts. In 2022, the global hard candy market size was worth USD 14.13 billion, showcasing the substantial impact of hard candies on the overall confectionery market. This data not only reflects the current state of the candy industry but also aids stakeholders in identifying growth opportunities and potential challenges.

Hard Candy Brand Percentage Change 2023 Chart

The analysis of market share and size data empowers companies to benchmark their performance against competitors and identify trends that could influence the industry's direction. For instance, an increase in demand for sugar-free or low-calorie hard candies may prompt companies to adjust their product offerings accordingly. Additionally, understanding geographic market sizes can inform localization strategies, ensuring that product offerings resonate with the preferences of consumers in specific regions. As the hard candy market continues to evolve, leveraging market intelligence will remain critical for companies seeking to maintain or enhance their market positioning.

The Role of Iconic Candy Brands in Shaping Market Trends

Iconic candy brands, with their rich history and widespread recognition, play a significant role in shaping market trends within the confectionery industry. Brands like Jolly Rancher and Ferrara Candy have become synonymous with innovative and flavorful hard candies, influencing consumer preferences and setting industry standards. These brands' ability to consistently introduce new flavors and product innovations has kept them at the forefront of the candy market, driving trends and inspiring smaller companies to innovate. Their enduring popularity underscores the importance of brand identity and loyalty in the competitive candy industry.

Ferrara Candy

Moreover, iconic candy brands often lead the way in leveraging market intelligence to anticipate and respond to changing consumer tastes. By closely monitoring market trends, these companies are able to adapt their product lines, marketing strategies, and distribution channels to better align with current demands. For example, the introduction of freeze-dried candies or the expansion of sugar-free options can be seen as a response to growing health consciousness among consumers. As the global hard candy market continues to expand, the influence of iconic brands in guiding and defining consumer trends will undoubtedly persist.

Emerging Players and Innovations: From Jolly Rancher to Ferrara Candy

Jolly Rancher Logo

The candy industry is a dynamic and competitive landscape, with emerging players and innovations continually reshaping the market. Companies such as Jolly Rancher and Ferrara Candy have been at the forefront of introducing groundbreaking candy products that cater to evolving consumer preferences. These innovations range from unique flavor combinations to novel candy formats, such as freeze-dried candies, which have quickly gained popularity for their distinctive texture and intense flavors. The agility of these companies in responding to market trends has not only bolstered their own growth but has also set new benchmarks for creativity in the confectionery industry.

Emerging players in the hard candy market bring fresh perspectives and disruptive innovations, challenging established norms and introducing new consumption experiences. Their ability to leverage market intelligence, understand consumer desires, and swiftly bring innovative products to market is crucial for their success. For instance, the rise of artisanal and craft candy companies highlights a shift towards high-quality, niche products that offer consumers something different from mass-market offerings. As we move forward, the confluence of tradition and innovation will continue to drive the evolution of the hard candy market, with both established brands and newcomers playing pivotal roles in shaping its future.

The Evolution of Hard Candy Products:

Forecast: What the Candy Market Holds in 2024 and beyond

According to Zion Research the hard candy market will grow substantially:
  • The hard candy market is likely to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 14.30% between 2023 and 2030.
  • The hard candy market size was worth around US$ 14.13 billion in 2022 and is estimated to hit approximately US$ 23.02 billion by 2030. 

Unveiling Growth Opportunities for Hard Candies Across the Globe

The forecast for the global hard candy market points to continued growth, with significant opportunities for expansion across various regions. Analysts predict that emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and Africa, with their large and growing populations, will play a crucial role in driving the demand for hard candies. These regions present a vibrant landscape for candy companies due to the increasing disposable incomes, urbanization, and a younger demographic. As a result, the global hard candy market size is expected to expand further, potentially reaching new heights by 2030.

To capitalize on these growth opportunities, candy companies will need to tailor their products and marketing strategies to fit the cultural and taste preferences of these diverse markets. This might include the introduction of local flavors, adherence to dietary guidelines, and the use of locally sourced ingredients. Additionally, sustainability and corporate responsibility are increasingly becoming important factors in consumer purchase decisions. Hence, companies that prioritize eco-friendly practices and community engagement are likely to gain a competitive edge in these emerging markets. The future of the hard candy market looks promising, with abundant opportunities for companies willing to innovate and adapt to the global landscape.

Predicting Future Candy Industry Trends and Market Shifts

Looking ahead, predicting future trends and market shifts in the candy industry involves analyzing current consumer behaviors, technological advancements, and broader societal changes. One significant trend that is expected to continue is the demand for healthier candy options. This includes organic, natural ingredient-based and sugar-free hard candies, reflecting a growing consciousness around health and wellness. Additionally, the integration of technology in confectionery manufacturing and marketing is set to reshape the industry. Innovations in production techniques could lead to the creation of new candy textures and flavors, while digital marketing and direct-to-consumer sales channels will become increasingly important.

Another area of growth is likely to be the functional candy market, just as we have seen with gummy candy in the past,