Hi-Chew is expanding its candy portfolio to include a reduced sugar version of the classic Japanese soft chews. Hi-Chew Reduced Sugar will be available in mango and strawberry flavors and contains 30 percent less sugar than the company’s traditional fruit chews.
Hi-Chew Reduced Sugar offers a double layer of fruit flavor and is made with fruit juice and fruit puree, as well as natural and artificial flavors and contains no colors from synthetic sources. The fruit flavor is made with dietary fiber and other formulations to reduce sugar content. It is available at select retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.29 per 2-oz pack.
The fruity candy is part of a growing better-for-you product lineup, explained Teruhiro Kawabe, president and CEO of Morinaga America, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Morinaga & Co. Ltd and the official distributor of Hi-Chew in the US. Last year, the company introduced Chargel, a line of pre-workout gel drinks featuring fruit juice, vitamins and other functional ingredients.
“We’re so thrilled to offer consumers this better-for-you candy choice in two of our most popular flavors,” Kawabe said in a press release. “While Hi-Chew Reduced Sugar has a lower sugar content than our original mango and strawberry chews, we’re confident that consumers will quickly learn that it has the same great flavor experience they’ve grown to love.”
The rollout of Hi-Chew Reduced Sugar follows several new summer flavor launches and partnerships. In May, the company teamed up with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays to host on-site activations and product sampling for each of the teams during select home games throughout the 2022 season.
Later that month, Hi-Chew launched its Infrusions Orchard Mix, featuring three new flavors: Juicy Blood Orange, Juicy Peach and Juicy Strawberry. In June, the company partnered with self-serve frozen yogurt franchise Menchies to unveil a limited-edition Rainbow Sherbet flavor. Much like Kit Kat and other international brands, Hi-Chew flavors and selection differ depending on the country.
Hi-Chew Reduced Sugar is just one of several new products in the better-for-you candy space, which is populated by startups and established brands alike. Smart Sweets, a low-sugar, low-calorie gummy candy brand, recently introduced a line of lollipops, which are currently sold out on the company’s website. The Yumy Candy Company, Sugarfina and even The Hershey Company are fellow competitors.
Not to be confused with the zero-sugar candy market, the diet candy market, which Hi-Chew is now entering, is expected to reach $1.56 billion by 2028 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4 percent. The segment is defined by brands that carry low-calorie and low-sugar confectionery products, sometimes with added nutrition.
The major growth factor for this market is the rise in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes among children and adults. However, the high cost when compared to regular candies and the increase in health consciousness consumers are projected to act as a restraint towards the growth of the diet candy market.
Luckily, as an established international brand with reputable distribution channels and low production costs, Hi-Chew likely won’t encounter the challenges that many startups in the diet candy market may face.