Confectionery companies commit to providing transparency, choice

by Monica Watrous
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A new web site,, over the next five years will become a digital resource for consumers to better understand how confections may fit into a balanced lifestyle.

WASHINGTON — A handful of confectionery companies announced a commitment to providing greater transparency, portion guidance and consumer education on chocolate and candy consumption during a Partnership for a Healthier America summit on May 11. The businesses include Mars Inc., Nestle USA, Ferrero, Lindt & Sprungli and Ferrara Candy Co.

John Downs, National Confectioners Association
John Downs, president and c.e.o. of the National Confectioners Association

"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 chief executive officer of the National Confectioners Association. "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."

Over the next five years, half of individually wrapped products made by the participating companies will be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or fewer per pack. Currently, more than 60% of such products produced by the companies contain less than 250 calories per pack. Consumers may see more options in smaller sizes, as well as innovative new products, in the next few years.

Additionally, by 2022, 90% of the best-selling chocolate and candy products made by the companies will feature front-of-pack calorie information. A new web site,, over the next five years will become a digital resource for consumers to better understand how confections may fit into a balanced lifestyle.

Progress of the commitment details will be monitored and reported by Partnership for a Healthier America in conjunction with the Hudson Institute, a policy research organization.

"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," Mr. Downs said. "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."

Mars Chocolate North America and Wrigley U.S., a business unit of Mars, Inc., said it has committed to invest more than $200 million in the project.

Tracey Massey, Mars, Inc.
Tracey Massey, president of Mars Chocolate North America

"Over the past decade we have been laser-focused on continuously pushing ourselves and our peers to offer consumers more choice and transparency while keeping the same great tastes and experiences our fans love," said Tracey Massey, president of Mars Chocolate North America. "By joining forces with P.H.A. and other leading confectionery manufacturers to create even deeper commitments, we are taking an important step forward to transform the entire industry so we can evolve to meet and exceed the demands of today's consumers."

Separately, the Hershey Co. in April set a goal that by the end of 2018 100% of the company’s standard- and king-size confectionery products will have easy-to-read nutrition information on front-of-pack. In addition, the company said 50% of its total portfolio of standard and king-size confectionery products will have 200 calories or fewer by 2022. Hershey said it expects to achieve its 200-calorie commitment through a combination of reformulation, new product introductions and adjusting the size of certain products.

Michele Buck, Hershey
Michele Buck, president and c.e.o. of The Hershey Co.
“Consumers are at the heart of all that we do, and we have been at the forefront of providing the choice and transparency they want,” said Michele Buck, president and chief executive officer of The Hershey Co. “We aim to delight our consumers and these steps will provide an even wider range of portion options and clear information to help them select treats that fit their lifestyle.”  
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