In a press release issued this week, several chocolate and candy companies announced that, over the next five years, they will make moves to help consumers manage their sugar intake and make healthier choices by cutting portion sizes, putting calorie information front and center, and providing more consumer education.
The companies are Mars Chocolate, Wrigley, Nestlé USA, Ferrero, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Russell Stover, and Ferrara Candy Company. The initiative is in collaboration with The Partnership for a Healthier America.
Here are the details, to be implemented by 2022:
- Half of individually wrapped products will be available in packs containing 200 calories or less.
- 90% of the companies’ best-selling treats will have calorie information on the front of the pack.
- The website AlwaysATreat.com will be established as a resource to help consumers make better choices when it comes to confections.
John Downs, President & CEO of the National Confectioners Association, commented: “Chocolate and candy have always been a treat, and this is a big commitment by the participating companies to keep it that way,”
This is just the latest announcement of this type, as candy makers struggle with how to adapt to more health-conscious consumers. According to Euromonitor, the U.S. chocolate confectionary market is expected to decline 1% between 2016 and 2021. This is due in large part to consumers cutting their sugar intake.
Last month, Hershey made a similar commitment, saying that it will make 50% of its individually wrapped products with 200 calories or less and start printing front-of-pack calorie labels on all of its standard and king-size products by the end of next year.
Nestle has perhaps been the most innovative company so far. They’re not just making smaller portions, they’re working to actively reduce the amount of sugar in their chocolate products. The company said that it has developed a new type of “hollow sugar” that provides the same sweet taste in smaller amounts. The new low-sugar products are expected to hit the shelves in 2018.
Whether or not these initiatives will be enough to bring consumers back to the candy aisles or whether the current “war on sugar” will have lasting consequences for the confectionary industry remains to be seen. In either case, the companies most likely to succeed are the ones that innovate and adapt.