Confectionary Companies Offer More Transparency for Consumers

A new report shows leading chocolate and candy makers are empowering shoppers to make more informed choices.

September 08, 2022

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

The report found that leading chocolate and candy companies, including Ferrero, Ferrara Candy Company, Ghirardelli Chocolate, Lindt, Mars Wrigley 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 include:

  • 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 have calorie labels printed on the front of the pack.

“This partnership has empowered consumers to make informed choices and has driven directional alignment within the broader confectionery industry. In fact, 85% 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,” said NCA in a statement.

“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.”

In 2017, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero, Ferrara Candy Company, Lindt, Ghirardelli Chocolate and Russell Stover Chocolates joined in a commitment to Partnership for a Healthier America. These companies set a 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.
  • 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 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.”

NACS has been a PHA partner since 2017, becoming the first retail association to make a commitment with PHA, and in 2019, NACS was named the PHA Partner of the Year.

NACS and PHA also developed the Healthier Category Guide and the Healthier Product Calculator to help retailers create better-for-you product sets. The goal of this calculator is to allow users to have more confidence as they consider which healthier products to stock, sell, market or merchandise.

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