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US confectionery companies achieve transparency targets for consumers on packaging

By Anthony Myers contact

- Last updated on GMT

Emotional wellbeing is also an important factor for consumers. Pic: GettyImages
Emotional wellbeing is also an important factor for consumers. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags: Nca, Candy, Chocolate

A new report into America’s chocolate and candy companies reveal many brands are meeting, or in some cases exceeding, key metrics in offering consumers more transparency, choice, and portion guidance options.

The report, published by Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and the National Confectioners Association (NCA), found that leading chocolate and candy companies – Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Ferrara Candy Company, Lindt, Ghirardelli Chocolate, and Russell Stover Chocolates – met and exceeded obligations associated with their five-year commitment through PHA to voluntarily increase the percentage of portion guidance options in their collective product portfolio and increase the percentage of their products that carry front-of-pack calorie labels.

In a press conference to launch the study, John Downs, NCA president & CEO said: “We have seen the power of portion guidance and the way it relates to our consumers – and we’re going to continue innovating in packaging and products – this is crucial to our categories’ growth and success and we know that consumers want to purchase brands and products that represent an extension of their personal values …  all of us are trying to manage our sugar intake to the best of our abilities.

“Science tells us what we can do, but the public tells us what we should be doing. We want to stay consumer-centric and use this journey on portion guidance and providing the right options and innovations for consumers to enjoy their great-tasting treat.”

Partnership for a Healthier America is the country’s premier national nonprofit organisation working to create lasting, systemic changes that transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity.

The scale of these major global competitors and their ability to collaborate and drive meaningful change related to offering more transparency, portion guidance options, and educational tools for consumers seeking to manage their sugar intake is unmatched -- John Downs, NCA president & CEO

It has empowered consumers to make informed choices and has driven directional alignment within the broader confectionery industry. PHA claims 85% of chocolate and candy sold today in America comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or less per pack – whether that’s individually wrapped products or multipacks that contain smaller packages inside.

 Key findings in its joint report with the NCA includes:

● Now, half of the individually wrapped products made by the participating companies are available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. This is up from 38.3% in the 2016 benchmark year.

● 94.8% of confectionery products have front-of-pack calorie labels – which is up from 53.7% in the 2016 benchmark year. This number is even higher at retail checkout: 98% of chocolate and candy packaging found at the front of the store has calorie labels printed on the front of the pack.

 “The results of this commitment show that companies have the opportunity to impact change while still maintaining their business models and keeping consumers front and centre​,” said Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of PHA. “We applaud these companies for stepping up and helping consumers manage their sugar intake through innovation, transparency, and education.”

Balanced lifestyle

In 2017, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Ferrara Candy Company, Lindt, Ghirardelli Chocolate, and Russell Stover Chocolates joined forces in a landmark commitment to PHA to set an ambitious goal to provide more transparency, create more portion guidance options in innovative packaging, and educate consumers about how unique products like chocolate and candy can be an occasional treat in a balanced lifestyle.

The 2017 commitment outlined that by 2022:

● Half of the individually wrapped products made by the participating companies would be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack

● 90% of the best-selling treats made by these companies would have calorie information printed on the front of the pack

● AlwaysATreat.com would evolve into a digital resource full of easy-to-use information for consumers to better understand the unique role that confections play in a happy, balanced lifestyle

Downs said the industry shouldn't lose sight of the fact that people care about their emotional wellbeing as well as their physical wellbeing.

 “The scale of these major global competitors and their ability to collaborate and drive meaningful change related to offering more transparency, portion guidance options, and educational tools for consumers seeking to manage their sugar intake is unmatched​,” he said.

“We are proud of the results of our commitment to PHA – and our industry is continuing to focus on innovation in packaging and products to meet our consumers and retail partners' needs and desires for great-tasting treats.”

The report’s authors said that with all of PHA’s partners, each of the commitment elements have been verified by a third party and are publicly reported in PHA’s annual progress report. This commitment was monitored and reported by verifiers with Georgetown University.

The data tells the story of an industry that has stepped up and done the right thing for the consumer without losing sight of where they want their business to go in the future​,” said Hank Cardello, executive director of Leadership Solutions for Health + Prosperity at Georgetown University’s Business for Impact Center.

This proactive action by the companies to support consumers is a win-win, showing that the confectionery industry can do well by doing good​.”

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