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Hannah Polk

By: Hannah Polk on February 15th, 2021

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Dessert on a Diet - Valentine's Day Treats that Didn't Break your Diet

Trends & Research  |  health & wellness  |  Data  |  Data Strategy Solutions

This Valentine’s Day, health-centric shoppers were seeking out candies that would allow them to indulge in the celebration without the burden of compromising their diets and hard earned progress. CPG brands and retailers should be asking themselves two questions: did consumers know where to find these diet compliant candies in-store and online, and what can be done to make this search more convenient for shoppers going forward?

CPG brands and retailers have an opportunity to capitalize on the unique dietary needs of each consumer by offering them product transparency and highlighting the products that meet consumer expectations through the lifestyle and diet lens.

The Keto Craze

Over the past couple of years, the Keto Diet industry has seen rapid growth and an increase in product innovation, particularly in snack bars, ice cream, and candy. According to IRI data, Keto is seeing a 55.3% sales growth in the non-chocolate candy sector. But what exactly is Keto and how are brands sparking innovation? Keto is a very low carbohydrate, high fat diet aimed towards eliminating any spikes and fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels. Keto friendly products often cut out extra carbohydrates by leveraging zero or low calorie sweeteners like erythritol, monk fruit, and stevia, as well as the addition of various fiber-rich ingredients. For example, Keto Wise is a Keto chocolate brand that formulates with Erythritol and Stevia for sweetness, and adds dietary fiber through various fiber isolates. According to the Label Insight product database, there are 32 products that qualify for the Keto attribute within the candy and chocolate shelves, and of these 32 Keto products, roughly 63% contain the ingredient Stevia and 69% contain the ingredient Erythritol. Additionally, 75% of products contain a fiber group. Chocolate that is sweetened with Stevia is seeing 24.2% sales growth compared to last year, and non-chocolate candy sweetened with Stevia, although a small segment of the market, is seeing 590.8% sales growth.

The Paleo Posse

The Paleo diet is an eating plan that mimics the way individuals ate in the Paleolithic Era with a strong emphasis on meats and fish, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats. Processed foods, grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugars, and various oils and additives are not permitted on this diet. According to the Paleo Foundation, Honey, Stevia, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Sap or Nectar, Date Sugar, Fruit Juice, and Birch Xylitol are all sweeteners permitted on the Paleo diet, likely because these ingredients are less refined than table sugar. Analysis of Label Insight data shows that most products within the candy and chocolate shelves, approximately 84%, contain sugar, which is not permitted on Paleo. However, consumers may be steering clear of cane sugar in the chocolate shelf. According to IRI data, chocolate products sweetened with cane sugar experienced a 14.3% year over year sales decline, while chocolate products that qualify for the Paleo claim are seeing 85.5% sales growth compared to last year. So, how do Paleo shoppers find Paleo compliant confectionary products if the majority contain sugar? Are brands that are formulating with these more less refined sugar alternatives capitalizing on the opportunity to appeal to the Paleo audience? Apparently, not all. Label Insight data shows that 239 products qualify for the Paleo label claim, but only about 35% (or 84 products) are actually making the on-package Paleo claim for which they qualify.

The Low FODMAP Frenzy

The low FODMAP diet is unique compared to the two diets mentioned above because it is not typically adopted by individuals for weight loss purposes. The low FODMAP diet is an elimination diet geared towards identifying what groupings of carbohydrates an individual may be sensitive or intolerant to. The groupings of carbohydrates restricted in the initial phase of the diet include Lactose, Fructose, Fructans, Galactans, and Polyols. There are several sweeteners that are not permitted on the low FODMAP diet because they fall within one of these carbohydrate groups, such as sugar alcohols, agave, honey, syrup, and molasses; sweeteners permitted on the low FODMAP diet include sugar, Stevia and palm sugar. As we mentioned above, a large percentage of candy and chocolate products are sweetened with sugar, however, chocolate sweetened with cane sugar is seeing a decline where chocolate sweetened with Stevia is seeing growth. Out of all the diets mentioned above, this diet presents the most opportunity for brands because the presence of an on-label claim is currently so scarce. According to Label Insight data, only 1 candy and chocolate product is making a low FODMAP claim while thousands of products qualify for the claim. There is a huge opportunity for brands to ensure their qualifying products are in the consideration set of this large audience segment.

Power Growth by Connecting Consumers to Products

The Valentine’s Day examples above highlight only a few of the growth opportunities available to CPG brands and retailers out of the thousands of top consumer need-state attributes available through the Label Insight partnership with IRI. With product transparency always at the forefront, Label Insight and IRI provide a solution for CPG brands and retailers to easily and conveniently connect customers to products.

Contact us to learn more about how the Attributes That Matter can unlock new growth opportunities across your categories. 

About Hannah Polk

Hannah Polk, RD, LDN is a licensed and registered dietitian based in Chicago. In her current role as a solutions consultant at Label Insight, Hannah supports retailers by crafting and applying high order attribution and product transparency to products in-store and online in order to drive growth. With access to Label Insight data and insights, retailers can make data-driven decisions across their organization and continue to increase revenue and shopper loyalty. Hannah is passionate about healthy, transparent, and better-for-you products and aims to help optimize the consumer shopping experience. Hannah takes pride in being a subject matter and trend expert in the food and beverage, pet, and personal care industries.