Guest Post

Chocolate and candy makers hope to sweet talk Congress with two days of discussion on the Hill

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages
Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Nca Candy Congress

Ahead of the National Confectioners Association’s ‘annual fly-in and Washington Forum’, CEO John Downs outlines some of the major issues affecting its members and explains why the confectionery industry is crucial to the American economy.

Confectionery manufacturers are coming to Washington, DC, to unwrap the issues that matter to the companies that make Americans’ favorite great tasting treats.

We represent the full confectionery industry: from large, global brands to small and mid-sized companies, which are mostly multi-generational family-owned businesses. This diverse range of companies means that the confectionery industry can offer a unique view into the issues that impact the American economy today.

What’s going on?

From Tuesday (September 10) until Thursday September 12 more than 150 presidents, CEOs, and other thought leaders from the chocolate and candy industry gather for meetings with Members of Congress, as well as a variety of other events related to the industry, to promote the benefits of confectionery to the nation’s lawmakers.

Across the country, cities and towns are enticing big companies to come into their communities and create jobs — and, of course, we support efforts to keep and create American jobs. But what about the tried and true job creators?

National debate

Where are the efforts to keep small businesses and manufacturers open for business? Unfortunately, the issues like this that we face are not always acknowledged by our policymakers. Smaller manufacturers are often the ones who are forgotten in the national debate, but these are the companies that power our economy and impact the lives of every American every day. We can do better by these small companies who are the backbone of the American economy, since they are so deeply engaged in our communities.

The confectionery industry is made up of hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans, and representatives from confectionery companies will be here this week to make connections on Capitol Hill. We advocate for uniform fair regulations and policies that benefit everyone from farmers to consumers to our retail customers. These confectioners represent the companies that have been making chocolate, candy, gum and mints for more than 100 years. And with nearly 1,300 manufacturing facilities in all 50 states, they are perfectly positioned to share their stories with policymakers in Washington.

US Economy

Chocolate and candy companies are an important part of the US economy: a prime example of a classic American manufacturing success story. Our member companies directly employ nearly 54,000 people in manufacturing jobs, with more than 550,000 people in jobs that are supported by confectionery manufacturing.

John Downs NCA
John Downs, CEO, NCA

This means that for every one job created in confectionery manufacturing, another 10 jobs are created in other industries, like agriculture, warehousing, transportation and retail.

From Pennsylvania to California and everywhere in between, our purpose-driven companies and brands are making a deep impact on the communities where they operate. Beyond providing good-paying jobs, our member companies are committed to doing good locally, nationally and globally. Our member companies are responsible marketers and engage in sustainability efforts throughout the supply chain. Corporate social responsibility is also important to America’s chocolate and candy makers, with a long-standing history of community programs to benefit cities and towns throughout the country.

These important initiatives are key examples of ways our companies understand their impact.

Favorite treats

Our efforts to be thought leaders and positively influence the industry doesn’t end with sustainability and responsible marketing. Across the industry, America’s chocolate and candy companies are making sure that consumers have access to more information, options and support as they manage their sugar intake. In the coming years, Americans can expect to see more products in package sizes of 200 calories or less, plus front-of-pack calorie labeling to help them make informed choices about how they enjoy their favorite treats.

And, of course, we’re making sure that consumers can learn more about their favorite treats through a digital hub packed with resources —​. We also know that there are times throughout the year when you’ll naturally think about candy, so we’ll be there to support you with resources specific to treating responsibly at each of these candy moments, including Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, National Candy Month and more.

The next time you unwrap your favorite treat, think about the tradition, transparency, responsibility, leadership and hard work that went into creating that one simple moment of enjoyment. And consider that although the litany of issues that our country must face together might not fade any time soon, American manufacturing of chocolate and candy brings growth to our economy, strength to our communities and a little sweetness to those special moments.

  • John Downs is the president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, a trade group in Washington, DC, representing the nation’s candy makers.

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