It is incredible to think how much has changed in our industry over the past few months thanks to the coronavirus. As millions of Americans across the country isolated to slow the spread of the disease, they adapted their shopping habits to match their new lifestyle, prioritizing center store products and flocking to e-commerce and click and collect solutions. The confectionery industry has felt the impact of this shift, and I’m proud of our industry’s ability to work together to adapt to what may be our “new normal.”
But this shift in consumer behavior has not stopped our industry from going above and beyond in service to our consumers and our fellow Americans. Thousands of members of our industry have reported to work in person every day, and whether they work in retail, as food distributors or in a confectionery manufacturing facility, these essential workers have been responsible for bringing millions of little moments of joy to confectionery consumers across the country. Our member companies have also played a special part in response to the coronavirus, donating millions of dollars and man-hours to create protective equipment, recognize front-line health care workers and bring relief to those who have contracted this very serious disease. Across the board, the confectionery industry’s contributions have been extraordinary, and I would be remiss not to recognize all of our industry’s hard work during these trying circumstances.
- Perfetti Van Melle USA donated candy to first responders and worked with a local medical provider to source R95 masks for frontline health workers.
- Goetze’s Candy Company donated its iconic caramel sweets to staffers at seven local Maryland hospitals through its Ounce of Joy program.
- Mars, Inc. pledged $20 million in support of global coronavirus relief efforts and is offering free SNICKERS bars to essential workers nominated by friends and family.
- The Hershey Company has committed $1 million to create disposable face masks in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
- Jelly Belly Candy Company donated 1 million bags of jelly beans to first responders in conjunction with National Jelly Bean Day.
- See’s Candies donated more than 100 tons of Easter candy to hospitals and local charities.
- Godiva Chocolatier gifted over 600,000 pieces of chocolate to healthcare workers across the country, as well as donations of coffee and other treats.
- R.M. Palmer Company contributed product to its local food bank and Meals on Wheels chapter, and its team volunteered to meet the growing demand of these organizations.
- Galerie donated over 7,000 Easter treats to local health workers in Cincinnati, OH.
- Mondelēz pledged $15 million in support for its local community partners to help offset the need caused by the coronavirus.
- Splendid Chocolates donated product to its local food bank and hospitals.
- World’s Finest Chocolate committed to donating up to 10 million chocolate bars to frontline health workers.
- Madelaine Chocolate Company distributed chocolate to frontline health workers and other essential workers during the pandemic.
- Frankford Candy handed out more than 1,000 bags filled with candy to thank healthcare workers in the Philadelphia area.
- The Promotion In Motion Companies, Inc. donated more than 1.2 million pouches of its Welch’s Fruit Snacks to Feeding America.
- Kimmie Candy Company contributed product alongside a group of local businesses to support hospital workers and first responders in Northern Nevada.
- Ferrara Candy Company contributed 20 tons of cookies to front line workers.
These types of contributions make me proud to be a part of the confectionery industry, and the millions of dollars, man-hours and pieces of candy contributed to these worthy causes demonstrate how committed the confectionery industry is to rebuilding our communities and being a part of the nationwide efforts to combat this dangerous disease.
Candy & Snack TODAY is continuing to report on these great works in its ongoing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the confectionery industry, and I hope to see these activities by our industry continue in the weeks and months ahead.
John Downs is the president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, a trade group in Washington, D.C., representing the nation’s candy makers.