The retail trade is being offered a new vegetarian confectionery range, launched to target the increasing number of consumers looking for sweets that do not contain gelatine.
Freedom Mallows, from Freedom Confectionery, are light vanilla flavour marshmallows created using all natural flavours. Fat, dairy and gelatine free, the mallows are perfect for vegetarians, vegans, consumers with intolerances and those seeking halal or kosher products for religious reasons.
Freedom Confectionery is a company headed up by respected food scientist Neville Finlay, who has in the past worked with leading confectionery companies on producing halal and vegetarian sweets.
Freedom Mallows have been over 10 years in research and are manufactured in Belgium, with plans to export all over Europe and internationally. The ambient sweets are packaged in partially clear 75g bags to show the product, provided to the customer in display packs of 14 and delivered in pallets of 160. The individual bags have an RSP of £1.99 – £2.49.
“Consumers are becoming more aware of what goes into their foods, particularly in light of the recent horsemeat scandal, and this awareness extends to the confectionery products we buy for our children,” says Finlay. “Freedom Mallows taste fantastic and have an extremely light texture, but the real selling point for many is the fact that, unlike the majority of confectionery products on the market, they contain absolutely no gelatine, instead using a binding agent made from natural extracts, so are completely vegetarian and halal.”
Research last month by The Food People led to predictions of a 50% rise in UK vegetarianism over the next two years and with the UK market for meat-free products put at £786.5m a year in 2012, this paints a very healthy picture for ‘free from’ and vegetarian products. Almost half the UK population claims to suffer from a food allergy*, with the most common allergies being gluten, wheat and dairy products. The ‘free from’ food market is worth around £240 million** so Finlay is confident of the success of Freedom Mallows.
Freedom Mallows are being launched in vanilla initially, with plans to add strawberry and other flavours to the range over the coming months. The product will be supported with a UK-wide consumer marketing campaign which will include proactive consumer PR, event sampling and cross marketing with vegetarian influencers and organisations.
“We can confirm that vegetarians are very excited by this launch, we mentioned it on Twitter and everyone wanted to know more,” said Vanessa Brown, Head of Corporate Relations at the Vegetarian Society. “Vegetarian marshmallows are a much sought after product and it’s great that Freedom Mallows have become Vegetarian Society Approved. Displaying the Vegetarian Society Approved symbol means consumers can be sure that a product meets the gold standard of vegetarian suitability through the Vegetarian Society’s strict criteria.”
Charllene Charven, sales director for Freedom Mallows, is talking to retailers and foodservice operators UK wide: “We have received excellent feedback from our consumer tests so far and sampling will be a key part of our sales process,” she says. “Our product will be available to sample at V Delicious in June as well as a number of other events and we’re delighted to join the Vegetarian Society at the show.”