Confectionery are food items that primarily contain sugar and is broadly divided into basically two categories that sometimes overlap each other - sugar confectionery and baker's confectionery. Baker's confections are usually baked goods that are rich in sugar such as cakes, pastries, doughnuts, cookies, scones and similar such food products. On the other hand, sugar confections include sugar boiled confectionery, candied nuts and fruits, sweets, chocolates, sweetmeats, chewing gum, pastilles and similar such sweets that are made mainly out of sugar.
The term confectionery arises from an old French word - confection that has been derived from a Latin term - conficere which means to bring together. The confectionery industry worldwide is a multi-million dollar industry that also includes comprehensive historical records and specialized training schools imparting education in the art of making confectionery. Conventional confectionery goes way back to historical times and was so popular then that it resulted in it being continued throughout the Middle Ages and into modern times.
Modern confections also include artificial sweeteners for specialised populations, for people with diabetes and for health conscious individuals. The term candy or treats that stands for confectionery is popularly used in United States and Canada, while in Ireland and United Kingdom confections are known as sweets or sweeties, in North-West England, the generic term for all kinds of confections is toffees, whereas in Australia and New Zealand they are referred to as lollies.
In the majority of cases, confectionery is rich in calories and offers low micronutrient value. Most confections contain a high amount of sweeteners which are usually sugars, but there is an increasing market for sugar free sweets that is becoming popular with people with health issues and with those who want to avoid excess sugar in their diet. Some militaries include specially designed chocolates to be used as a high-density food energy source for soldiers in their ration or travel packs.