Five of the US’ leading confectionery companies have joined Hershey in promising to reduce the numbers of calories in their products.
Mars, Nestlé, Ferrero, Lindt and Ferrara Candy have all signed a commitment to make half of their individually wrapped products with fewer than 200kcal by 2022.
Smaller portion sizes and innovative new product launches will bring the average calorie count down; currently, more than 60% of the companies’ individually wrapped chocolate bars fall below 250kcal.
The companies will also print calorie information on 90% of their best-selling products within five years, making it easier for consumers to find and understand nutritional information about the products they’re consuming. A digital resource will make information easier for customers to find, with progress to be monitored by the Hudson Institute and The Partnership for a Healthier America.
John Downs, president and CEO of the National Confectioners Association, welcomed the move.
“Chocolate and candy have always been a treat, and this is a big commitment by the participating companies to keep it that way,” he said. “We are proud to make this five-year commitment with The Partnership for a Healthier America, a highly regarded non-profit organisation 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.”
The pledge adds volume to Hershey’s earlier commitment to make 50% of its individually wrapped standard and king-sized confectionery products with 200kcal or fewer by 2020.
In addition, all of Hershey’s standard and king-sized confectionery products will have easy-to-read front-of-pack calorie labels by the end of next year.
Between them, the two calls-to-arms – announced within a month of each other – demonstrate that the confectionery industry is committed to making it easier for consumers to make informed decisions about which products to buy, and how often to buy them.
It’s a full year since Mars told consumers to eat less of some of its products, as part of a campaign to promote healthier food choices.
Speaking last month, Hershey president and chief executive officer Michele Buck said: “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. 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.”
And John Downs continued: “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. 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.”
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