The health and wellness trend was already exerting a strong influence on the development of snacks prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, and was bolstered by the experience of the pandemic – both because of the immediate threat from the disease and the health impact of the sedentary lifestyles and over-consumption of food associated with home confinement. Sugar confectionery has been a particularly notable victim of the rise in health-consciousness, as there has been growing publicity about the role of sugar consumption in the development of conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes in recent years.
Malaysian consumers tend to prefer medicated confectionery to other sugar confectionery products, such as boiled sweets, because the category is seen as offering functional benefits such as relieving sore throats. This has helped medicated confectionery to remain relatively resilient during the COVID-19 crisis, with the category avoiding decline even during 2020, which saw the strictest measures imposed to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and set to see continued growth in 2021.
Domestic sugar confectionery players have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Cocon Food Industries Sdn Bhd and Ten Ten Food Manufacturing Sdn Bhd are amongst the Malaysian companies to face severe declines.
While sugar confectionery is expected to see year-on-year growth throughout the forecast period in both current and constant value terms as it recovers from the marked fall in sales resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, the category is not expected to return to pre-pandemic sales at constant 2021 prices. The pandemic has served to reinforce the already strong health and wellness trend, including raising awareness of Malaysia’s considerable obesity problem, and consumers are likely to increasingly commit to healthier lifestyles during the forecast period.
Within sugar confectionery, the health and wellness trend is expected to encourage consumers to shift from boiled sweets and lollipops to medicated confectionery and standard mints, which have both seen established brands, such as Fisherman’s Friend and Wrigley’s Escape, introduce sugar-free ranges. Moreover, existing players are likely to focus on the development of multi-channel strategies, with a particular emphasis on newly emerged e-commerce platforms such as Pandamart from Foodpanda, as they look to expand distribution and reach out to consumers beyond the major urban centres.
Sugar confectionery players are expected to diversify the range of products on offer in the category and invest in new product development as they look to respond to rapidly changing market conditions and particularly challenges such as the rise in consumer health-awareness. Perfetti Van Melle Group and Cocoaland Holdings Bhd are expected to introduce low sugar or sugar-free ranges of standard mints and pastilles as consumers look to reduce their sugar intake.
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This report originates from Passport, our Sugar Confectionery research and analysis database.
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