8 Candy Manufacturers Committing to Health

Confection certainly isn't the first product category that comes to mind when thinking about health and wellness. But eight leading global chocolate and candy brands that supply a range of core products across convenience-store candy sets are making that commitment.

These confection manufacturers are "redoubling their efforts to create more options in innovative packaging, and educate consumers about how unique products like chocolate and candy can play a role in a happy, balanced lifestyle," according to the National Confectioners Assocation. Announced in conjunction with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) at the Building a Healthier Future Summit on May 11-12, these manufacturers have entered a joint commitment to reduce calories in many sweets sold in the United States. More than half of the individually wrapped products sold by these brands will contain no more than 200 calories within the next five years. PHA will report independent, third-party verification of the commitment on ProgressReports.aHealthierAmerica.org.

“Chocolate and candy have always been a treat, and this is a big commitment by the participating companies to keep it that way,” said John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association (NCA). “We are proud to make this five-year commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America, a highly regarded nonprofit organization that will help us track and verify this meaningful initiative. This is the first step on our journey to recruit other companies to join us as we work to help consumers manage their sugar intake and ensure that they feel empowered to make informed choices.”

Click through to see more information regarding the fewer-calorie commitment, and to see the brands participating.

Ferrara Candy Co.

Ferrera Pan

This manufacturer of famous brands such as Trolli, Red Hots and Brach's is one of the first major manufacturers to expand into organic with its Black Forest Organic line of gummies.

In addition to innovative new product lines, Ferrara joins other manufacturers under the PHA guidelines in printing calorie information on brand packaging. Within the next five years, 90% of the best-selling treats made by all these companies will have calorie information printed on the front of the pack.

Mars Chocolate North America

Mars Chocolate North America

"We began our relationship with Mars Food through Uncle Ben's and Seeds of Change to increase healthier choices for families," said Larry Soler, president and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America. "[This] announcement extends to Mars Chocolate and Wrigley to help reduce calories and increase transparency, which will help all Americans have more choices."

Mars has invested a lot of money and time in researching and implementing healthy options within its portfolio. The company has been making progress over the past decade, including being the first to introduce front-of-pack calorie labeling and remove "king size" varieties, offering 100-calorie-pack options of consumers' favorite brands, and launching new innovations with fewer than 200 calories in recent weeks, including both M&M's Caramel and Maltesers, the company said. 

 

Wrigley

Wrigley

Leading with health isn't a new commitment for Wrigley. According to the company, the Wrigley brand was the first chewing gum to be awarded the American Dental Seal of Acceptance in 2007.

“Over the next five years, the participating chocolate and candy companies will help consumers better understand the unique role that confections can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle,” said Downs of NCA. “As we focus and leverage the companies’ expertise in marketing, innovation and distribution, our goal is to reinforce for consumers that chocolate and candy are treats.”

Nestle

Nestle

Earlier in 2017, Nestle's president of corporate affairs, Paul Bakus, told Fortune that the company has to "walk a narrow line between being nutritionally superior to the rest of the market and not sacrificing taste."

"We want to reduce sugar where possible as long as we don’t put ourselves at a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “How do you compete if your competitors aren’t following the process or rules or guidelines?"

Nestle told Reuters in December it had developed a new technology that could eventually reduce sugar in some of its confectionery products by up to 40% without affecting how they taste.

By 2022, half of the individually wrapped products made by Nestle and the other participating brands will be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. Chocolate and candy are currently available in a variety of packages, ranging from fun size to share size. Right now, more than 60% of these brands’ individually wrapped products contain less than 250 calories per pack. In the next few years, consumers will see more options in smaller sizes to meet the healthier criteria, as well as innovative new products.

Ferrero North America

Ferrero North America

Ferrero North America CEO Paul Chibe told Confectionery News that he expects premium chocolate and healthy snacks to drive sales growth in the United States.

The volume of U.S. retail sales of packaged confectionery declined 1.9% to 2.47 million metric tons in 2016 from 2011, while sales of savory snacks rose 9.5% to 4.26 million metric tons, Euromonitor International data shows. Euromonitor forecasts that confectionery sales will rise to 2.5 million metric tons by 2021.

 

Ghirardelli

Ghirardelli

This premium-chocolate brand is owned by Lindt & Sprüngli, and will be adhering to the PHA commitment.

Hershey Co., which wasn't part of the announcement, made a similar announcement of its own in April. Hershey said that by 2022, it would make 50 percent of its individually wrapped standard and king-size confectionary products with 200 calories or less. It also committed to state the number of calories on the front of its packaging for these products, according to Reuters.

Lindt & Sprungli

Lindt & Sprungli

Lindt & Sprungli products such as Ghirardelli, Russell Stover and Lindor truffles will adhere to the new guidelines.

Over the next five years, AlwaysATreat.com will evolve into a digital resource with easy-to-use information for consumers to help them better understand the "unique role that confections can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle," the NCA said.

 

Russell Stover

Russell Stover

Russell Stover is part of the Lindt & Sprungli portfolio and will follow the new PHA guidelines.

Progress of the commitment by Lindt and other manufacturers will be monitored and reported by PHA in conjunction with a policy research organization called Hudson Institute.