Hershey, Mars, Nestlé and Mondelez collectively spent over $10m to influence proposed legislation in 2012, according to figures published by OpenSecrets.org.
Sugar reform and improved trade relations with Russia were the main areas where money was spent.
Hershey & sugar reform
Hershey doubled its lobbying outlay in 2012 compared to the previous year. Its most frequently lobbied bill was the Free Sugar Act of 2011.
Hershey has previously aligned itself with the US National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) position on the US sugar progam, which calls for reform of the current sugar regime that has taken domestic prices far above global norms.
The Free Market Sugar Act sought to repeal the sugar price support program and marketing allotments for sugar. However, it was not enacted.
The sugar program enshrined in the soon-to-be revised 2008 Farm Bill was extended last year to September 30, 2013.
Mondelez: To Russia with Love
Mondelez International, which broke away from parent company Kraft Foods in October 2012, spent $150,000 on lobbying during the latter half of last year.
Its focus has been a bill that encourages normal trade relations between Russia and the US. Russia is among Mondelez’s priority markets along with China, India and Brazil.
The company has also lobbied on labeling of genetically modified ingredients and Trans-Pacific Partnership matters related to nutritional labeling in Chile and Indonesia.
We’ve included Kraft Foods’ 2012 spend in our overall figures to give a full picture of Mondelez’s campaign activities.
Mars lobbies on Farm Bill
Mars dedicated 15% more towards campaigning in 2012 compared to the previous year.
It spent a large chunk of its $2.7m lobbying fund to influence the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, commonly reffered to as the Farm Bill, which includes provisions on the US sugar program.
Mars also campaigned heavily on taxation as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Nestlé seeks tax incentives for bio fuels
Nestlé’, which operates in many areas outside confectionery, spent more than all others, but its spending was flat in 2012. Its most lobbied bill was the Freedom Fuels Act 2011 where it sought further tax incentives for the creation of bio-based fuels.
The company also campaigned on free trade agreements for cocoa bean imports and the Food Safety Modernization Act.