Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 2017 Sweets & Snacks Expo. One of the highlights of the trip was a breakfast hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA) where I had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the candy industry here in the United States. It was such a great learning experience for me I decided to take a break from recipe sharing and instead, fill you in on what I learned and the new NCA initiative I’m so excited about.
First of all, let’s talk Expo. The Sweets & Snacks Expo is the premiere annual event for the candy and snack industry and is hosted by the NCA annually in Chicago. This year, over 800 companies from all over the world showcased their wares, and almost 17,000 industry professionals attended. The event spans over 4 acres after all!
One neat tidbit of information I learned at the NCA breakfast had to do with jobs supported by the candy industry. The candy industry itself supports about 55,000 jobs directly, but for each job in the candy industry, 7 additional jobs are supported in related industries. I’ll wait while you get a calculator to tally the number. 😉 Susan Whitehead of the NCA, who led the briefing, really emphasized how many of the companies in attendance tend to remain in the communities where they began, providing jobs and other benefits to their communities. As a former brick-and-mortar business owner, I appreciate companies that embrace corporate social responsibility.
And this brings me to the new initiative spearheaded by the NCA that I’m so excited about. It’s called “Always A Treat“, and was just launched a few weeks ago by the NCA and many of America’s leading chocolate and candy companies. One of the major goals is to provide consumers with better options and more information to help them make wiser choices.
By 2022, the candy companies involved promise that 90% of the treats manufactured will have calorie information clearly printed on the front of the package. Additionally, at least half the individually wrapped products – like the kind found in the check out line displays – will be available in packages that contain only 200 calories or less. The website, AlwaysATreat.com, will have the latest information on the initiative, and will eventually be a hub for consumer information regarding the confections we enjoy.
When Susan began sharing details about #AlwaysATreat, I asked a lot of questions, because I’m an advocate for balance. You see it in this blog with the variety of recipes and I talk about it from time to time. I believe that resources to help us balance our food choices in a sustainable manner help lead to a healthier and happier society. The Partnership for a Healthier America agrees, as they partnered with the NCA for this initiative. It will be great to follow its development.
I hope you enjoyed learning about the NCA as much as I did. Keep an eye on the blog over the next few months for more about some of the companies I met while at the Expo!