Halloween Myth-Busting

Every year the Halloween season brings sweet treats to the front of consumers’ minds–and for the most part, we are all on the same page: people understand the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle. But this fact doesn’t stop a handful of commentators who consistently mischaracterize the way that people enjoy chocolate, candy, gum and mints during Halloween and throughout the rest of the year.

Throughout the month, I’ve read several articles and columns that try to paint chocolate and candy in a negative light. For example, a recent Wall Street Journal article titled “Add Sugar To The List Of Halloween Horrors” centers on an absurd premise that is not reflective of the way people actually enjoy chocolate and candy. It’s time to set the record straight on how people approach the Halloween season and treating in general.

Consumption Patterns

  • Most people in the U.S. enjoy chocolate and candy two to three times per week, averaging about 40 calories and about one teaspoon of added sugar per day from confectionery items. What’s more, this is a year-round estimate, which means it includes Halloween.
  • Nearly 90 percent of parents will use Halloween as an opportunity to talk to their children about the unique role that chocolate and candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle.
  • Parents also prioritize moderation by limiting the number of pieces of candy their children can have each day, or by limiting the overall amount of candy their children can collect. In fact, 41 percent of parents say they limit their child’s consumption to “a couple of pieces a day” until the candy runs out.
  • Our industry also does its part to help parents and all Americans celebrate in moderation by packaging its products into bite- and snack-size options. And, Americans appreciate these options, with 85 percent saying they pass out small portions to trick-or-treaters.

Industry Leadership

America’s leading chocolate and candy companies recently announced a voluntary initiative to provide consumers with information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats. Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Nestlé USA, Ferrero, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Russell Stover, and Ferrara Candy Company have come together with the Partnership for a Healthier America to lead the Always A Treat Initiative, which includes the following elements:

  • By 2022, half of the individually wrapped products made by the participating companies will be available in sizes that contain 200 calories or less per pack. Right now, more than 60 percent of the companies’ individually wrapped products contain less than 250 calories per pack. In the next few years, consumers will see more options in smaller sizes — and innovative new products.
  • Within the next five years, 90 percent of the best-selling treats made by these companies will have calorie information printed on the front of the pack, which puts calories for the entire package at consumers’ fingertips, helping them feel empowered when they choose their favorite treat.
  • Over the next five years, the newly established AlwaysATreat.com will serve as a digital resource full of easy-to-use information for consumers to better understand the unique role that confections can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle.

As people across the country embrace the yearly tradition of handing out and enjoying chocolate and candy this Halloween, we hope that they feel empowered by our efforts to provide them with more information, options and support.