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Consumers around the world seek out indulgent treats as a special occasion luxury or an everyday snack. From favorites to new taste sensations, overall demand for sweets, and candy-particularly chocolate-translates to overall confectionery industry gains and increased new product activity in the last five years.1

The global confectionery market of chocolates, gums and candies has grown 5.4% annually since 2010, with sales of US$183 billion dollars in 2015.2 Chocolate confections fuel overall category gains.2 Global chocolate confections saw 32.8% growth from 2010 to 2015, and projected category growth is 14.1% from 2015 to 2020.1   

Confections made with U.S. dairy ingredients can help satisfy consumers' sweet cravings with rich, full flavor that contains nutritional value. Long the global milk production leader, the U.S. dairy industry is well positioned to provide confectionery formulators with the ingredients to develop more indulgent sweets. Dairy ingredients and products from the United States help confection product developers keep on-trend with category innovation. Learn more about U.S. dairy products in the Product Section

Trends in Confectionery

ConfectionsBurgeoning consumer tastes in markets such as India and China more than offset more mature European and North American markets, where per capita consumption is on the decline.2  

As consumers in all types of markets seek out the affordable indulgence of premium-level products, the chocolate confectionery segment is expected to continue to fuel overall category growth.2  

Chocolate is well-known to provide indulgence, but it can also support consumer desires for pure products with the ability to showcase ingredients that provide clean labels.   


Consumers around the globe look to indulge themselves in the sweet, savory world of confections and in particular, chocolate. Long-beloved in Europe and North America, consumers in emerging markets now enjoy chocolate at rates that create overall global consumption gains.2 Indulgence-seekers in China and India have discovered chocolate as an everyday snack, guilty pleasure, and luxury special occasion dessert or gift item.2  

Dairy ingredients are a traditional component of confections such as milk chocolate, fudge, caramel, toffee and pralines. The most common ingredients used are nonfat dry milk, dry whole milk, dry buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, butter, dry cream, lactose and whey products.  

Clean Label

The overall food and beverage market continues to address consumer interest in clean labels. A short list of recognizable ingredients acts as a cue to consumers who wish to discern real, fresh and natural food choices from further processed items.3  

New product development activity in the confection category supports consumer desire for a clean label.3 Dairy and dairy-based ingredients foster labels that consumers perceive as less processed and additionally provide a source of good nutrition.    


Dairy-based ingredients strike the balance needed to meet indulgent taste demands and likewise provide health and wellness benefits. Dairy ingredients also either add flavor or complement existing flavors to enhance or maintain the sweet, savory taste profiles consumers want.  

Dairy ingredients from the United States provide flavor, function and nutrition. The chart below illustrates the benefits six common dairy ingredients offer. 

 Butter(Details)Milk Ingredients(Details)Lactose(Details)Milkfat(Details)Milk Powders(Details)Whey(Details)
Aeration           yes
Color     yes   yes  
Emulsification yes     yes yes yes
Flavor yes yes yes yes yes yes
Foaming   yes        
Gelation   yes        
Moisture Control yes     yes    
Protein Fortification         yes yes
Solubility         yes  
Structural Support   yes        
Texture yes yes yes yes yes  
Water Binding   yes        
Whipping           yes
  Butter Details Lactose Details Milkfat Details Milk Powder Details Whey Details

Formulas & Recipes

Access U.S. Dairy Export Council prototype formulations for inspiration on a wide range of indulgent confectionery applications, including chocolate, aerated products, caramel and toffee and compound coatings. 

Chocolate Malt Chewy Candies

Chocolate Malt Chewy Candies

With a unique sweet malty flavor, indulge in these chocolate malt chewy candies that are high in protein and calcium content.


Mini Chocolate Malt Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Mini Chocolate Malt Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Inspired by our all-time favorite chocolate malt drink, these moist and creamy cupcakes will be a perfect treat to both children and adults.


Vanilla Frosting

Vanilla Frosting

Creamy vanilla frosting with butter and SMP.


Resources & Insights

Looking for further innovation ideas and technical support? Download the resources below for more information on developing confectionery applications with U.S. Dairy.

Whey Protein and Lactose in Confectionery Applications

Dairy products have been used as valued ingredients by the confectionery industry for many years as they help to achieve the required flavor, color and texture in many products including chocolate, coatings, caramels, aerated confections and toffee.

1Innova Database. Established brands and new ingredients drive confectionery NPD. February 2014.
2Euromonitor Passport Database (Packaged Food). Accessed March 2016. 
3Innova Database. Clean label call for confectionery. October 2012.