Chocolate, Candy Companies Exceed Consumer Transparency Commitments, PHA Report Says


Washington — America’s chocolate and candy companies are providing more transparency, choice and portion guidance options for consumers, according to a new report issued by Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and NCA.

The report found that leading chocolate and candy companies — Mars Wrigley, Ferrero U.S.A., Inc., Ferrara Candy Co., Inc., Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc., Ghirardelli Chocolate Co. and Russell Stover Chocolates, LLC — met and exceeded the metrics associated with their five-year voluntary commitment through PHA to 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.

Half of the individually wrapped products made by the participating companies are available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack, the report states. This is up from 38.3 percent in the 2016 benchmark year.

Compared to 53.7 percent in the 2016 benchmark year, 94.8 percent of confectionery products offered by the participating companies have front-of-pack calorie labels. This number is even higher at retail checkout, where 98 percent of chocolate and candy items have calorie labels printed on the front of the pack.

“The success of this commitment rests on the dedication of companies and their dedication to providing more transparency, portion guidance options and education tools for consumers looking to manage their sugar intake,” says John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association. “Together, the industry has been able to deliver the great-tasting products they are known for while supporting consumer’s needs as they look to make the right decision for themselves when treating.”

In 2017, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Ferrara, Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Russell Stover made a joint commitment to PHA, setting a goal to provide more transparency, create more portion guidance through packaging options and educate consumers about how chocolate and candy can be an occasional treat in a balanced lifestyle.

According to the report, this partnership has empowered consumers to make informed choices and has driven directional alignment within the broader confectionery industry. In fact, 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,” says 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 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, have caloric information printed on the front of the pack and would evolve into a digital resource for consumers to better understand the role confections play in a 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,” says John Downs, president & CEO of 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.”

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 at 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,” adds 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.”