An arrangement of confections.

Confectionery is the set of food items that are rich in sugar, any one or type of which is called a confection. Modern usage may include substances rich in artificial sweeteners as well. The word candy (North America), sweets (UK and Ireland) and lolly (Australia and New Zealand) are also used for the extensive variety of confectionery.

Generally speaking, confections are somewhat low in micronutrients but rich in calories. Specially formulated chocolate has been manufactured in the past for military use as a high density food energy source.


Sweetening agents

Confectioneries are defined by the presence of sweeteners, usually sugars. Most common is the disaccharide sucrose. Hydrolysis of sucrose gives a mixture called invert sugar, which is sweeter and is also a common ingredient. Finally confectioneries, especially commercial ones, are sweetened by a variety of syrups obtained by hydrolysis of starch, these include corn syrup.[1]

Sucrose is the most common sweetening agent in confectioneries.

Regional names

Different dialects of English use regional terms for confections:

  • In Britain, Ireland and some Commonwealth countries, sweets or more colloquially sweeties (particularly used by children, the Scottish Gaelic word suiteis is a derivative). In some parts of England, spice, joy joy and goodies are terms used, alongside sweets, to denote confectionery. In North-West England, especially Lancashire, toffees is often used as a generic term for all confectionery. Northeast England and the Scottish Borders commonly use the word ket (plural kets) and more recently chud, derivative of chuddy, a localised term for chewing gum.
  • In Australia and New Zealand, "lollies" (used especially to apply to boiled sweets).
  • In North America, "candy" - although this term can also refer to a specific range of confectionery and does not include some items called confectionery (e.g. pastry). "Sweets" is occasionally used, as well as "treat".


Columns of sweets.

Confectionery items include sweets, lollipops, candy bars, chocolate, candy floss, and other sweet items of snack food. The term does not generally apply to cakes, biscuits, or puddings which require cutlery to consume, although exceptions such as petit fours or meringues exist. Speakers of American English do not refer to these items as "candy".

Some of the categories and types of confectionery include the following:[1]

  • Hard sweets. Based on sugars cooked to the hard-crack stage: a 2:3 mixture of glucose syrup and sucrose in water is concentrated to a plastic state, amenable to colouring and flavouring. Upon further cooling and standing the material hardens. Examples include suckers (known as boiled sweets in British English), lollipops, jawbreakers (or gobstoppers), lemon drops, peppermint drops and disks, candy canes, rock candy, etc. These also include types often mixed with nuts such as brittle. Others contain flavorings including coffee such as Kopiko.
  • Fondant. This material is prepared from a warm mixture of glucose syrup and sucrose, which is partially crystallized. The fineness of the crystallites results in a creamy texture.
  • Taffy. These are related to hard candy that is folded many times above 50 °C. This process incorporates air bubbles, reducing the density of the material and making it opaque. Often sorbitol, a sugar alcohol, is added to maintain moisture. Toffee, in British English, can also refer to a harder substance also made from cooked sugars which resembles toffee.
  • Fudge: A confection of milk and sugar boiled to the soft-ball stage. In the US, it tends to be chocolate-flavored.
  • Caramels. These are derived from mixtures of sucrose, glucose syrup, and milk products. The mixture does not crystallize, thus remains tacky.
  • Tablet. A crumbly milk-based soft and hard candy, based on sugars cooked to the soft-ball stage. Comes in several forms, such as wafers and heart shapes. Not to be confused with tableting, a method of candy production.
  • Liquorice: Containing extract of the liquorice root. Chewier and more resilient than gum/gelatin candies, but still designed for swallowing. For example, Liquorice allsorts. Has a similar taste to Star Anise.
A chocolate tart.
  • Chocolates are bite-sized confectioneries generally made with chocolate. People who create chocolates are called chocolatiers, and they create their confections with couverture chocolate. A chocolate maker, on the other hand, is the person who physically creates the couverture from cacao beans and other ingredients.
  • Jelly candies: Including those based on sugar and starch, pectin, gum, or gelatin such as Lokum / Turkish Delight, jelly beans, gumdrops, jujubes, cola bottles gummies, etc.
  • Marshmallow: "Peeps" (a trade name), circus peanuts, fluffy puff, etc.
  • Marzipan: An almond-based confection, doughy in consistency, served in several different ways. It is often formed into shapes mimicking (for example) fruits or animals. Alternatively, marzipan may be flavoured, normally with spirits such as Kirsch or rum, and divided into small bite-sized pieces; these flavoured marzipans are enrobed in chocolate to prevent the alcohol from evaporating, and are common in northern Europe. Marzipan is also used in cake decoration. Its lower-priced version is called Persipan.
  • Divinity: A nougat-like confectionery based on egg whites with chopped nuts.
  • Dodol: A toffee-like food delicacy popular in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines
  • Mithai: A generic term for confectionery in India, typically made from dairy products and/or some form of flour. Sugar or molases are used as sweeteners.
  • Pastry: A baked confection whose dough is rich in butter, which was dispersed through the pastry prior to baking, resulting in a light, flaky texture; this dough might be used in pies and tarts.
  • Chewing gum: Uniquely made to be chewed, not swallowed. However, some people believe that at least some types of chewing gum, such as certain bubble gums, are indeed candy.
  • Ice cream: Frozen flavoured cream, often containing small chocolates and fruits
  • Halvah: Confectionery based on tahini, a paste made from ground sesame seeds.
  • Alfajor: a traditional South American cookie typically consisting of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam).
  • Dragée - Coated almonds and other types of coated candy.


Excessive consumption of confectionery has been associated with increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay.[2]

Some sweets contain traces of nuts which poses risks for those who are allergic to them, while others contain dairy products which must be avoided by individuals who are lactose-intolerant.

See also


  1. ^ a b Terry Richardson, Geert Andersen, "Confectionery" in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry 2005 Wiley-VCH, Weinheim. doi:10.1002/14356007.a07 411
  2. ^ Magee, Elaine; "Sugar: What Kinds to Eat and When" (Health & Cooking), 28 January 2009 (Retrieved: 11 July 2009)

Further reading

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Confectionery — Con*fec tion*er*y, n. 1. Sweetmeats, in general; things prepared and sold by a confectioner; confections; candies. [1913 Webster] 2. A place where candies, sweetmeats, and similar things are made or sold. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • confectionery — 1540s, things made or sold by a confectioner, from CONFECTION (Cf. confection) + ERY (Cf. ery). Of architectural ornamentation, from 1861 …   Etymology dictionary

  • confectionery — ► NOUN (pl. confectioneries) ▪ sweets and chocolates collectively …   English terms dictionary

  • confectionery — [kən fek′shəner΄ē] n. pl. confectioneries 1. confections or candy, collectively 2. the business or work of a confectioner ☆ 3. a confectioner s shop; candy store …   English World dictionary

  • confectionery — кондитерские изделия light textured confectionery взбивные кондитерские изделия bakery confectionery products мучные кондитерские изделия sugar confectionery industry кондитерская промышленность fruit confectionery плодово ягодные кондитерские… …   English-Russian travelling dictionary

  • confectionery — [[t]kənfe̱kʃənri, AM neri[/t]] N UNCOUNT Confectionery is sweets and chocolates. [WRITTEN] ...hand made confectionery. Syn: sweets …   English dictionary

  • confectionery — UK [kənˈfekʃ(ə)n(ə)rɪ] / US [kənˈfekʃənərɪ] noun [uncountable] Word forms confectionery : singular confectionery plural confectioneries sweet foods such as sweets and chocolates …   English dictionary

  • confectionery — noun a) Foodstuffs that taste very sweet, taken as a group; candies, sweetmeats and confections collectively. b) The business or occupation of manufacturing confectionery; the skill or work of a confectioner. Syn: candy, sweets, manufacture,… …   Wiktionary

  • Confectionery store — Freak Lunchbox candy store in Halifax, Nova Scotia A confectionery store (more commonly referred to as a sweet shop in the United Kingdom, a candy store in the North America, or a lolly shop[1] in Australia) sells confectionery and is usually… …   Wikipedia

  • confectionery dough — konditerinė tešla statusas Aprobuotas sritis konditerijos gaminiai apibrėžtis Tešla miltinės konditerijos gaminiams gaminti. atitikmenys: angl. confectionery dough vok. Bäckerteig, m rus. тесто ryšiai: platesnis terminas – miltinės konditerijos… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

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