Candy Companies Make Good on Consumer Transparency Pledge

Approximately 85 percent of chocolate and candy sold today comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or less per pack.
NCA & PHA logos_500 x 281

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leading chocolate and confectionery companies are making good on their commitment to provide more transparency, choice and portion guidance options for consumers.

According to the latest progress report issued by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) and Partnership for Healthier America (PHA), leading chocolate and candy companies — including Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Ferrara Candy Co., Lindt, Ghirardelli Chocolate and Russell Stover Chocolates — met and exceeded the metrics 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.  

Key findings of the progress report include:

  • 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 percent in the 2016 benchmark year.
  • Approximately 94.8 percent of confectionery products have front-of-pack calorie labels, which is up from 53.7 percent in the 2016 benchmark year. This number is greater at retail checkout: 98 percent of chocolate and candy packaging found at the front of the store have calorie labels printed on the front of the pack.

According to the associations, the partnership has empowered consumers to make informed choices and has driven directional alignment within the broader confectionery industry. Approximately 85 percent of chocolate and candy sold today comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or less per pack, whether that's individually wrapped products or multipacks that contain smaller packages inside.

"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 center," 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."

The 2017 commitment among the participating companies 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;
  • Ninety percent of the best-selling treats made by these companies would have calorie information printed on the front of the pack; and
  • 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.

"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," said John Downs, president and CEO of the NCA. "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."

As 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."

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

Washington, D.C.-based National Confectioners Association is the leading trade organization for the U.S. confectionery industry, which generates more than $37 billion in retail sales each year.