Top Issues

Policy decisions at the local, state and federal levels of government can have an impact on the confectionery industry. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the top issues that we discuss when advocating on behalf of the broader confectionery industry. Click the links below to learn more:

Added Sugars

The World Health Organization and Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total energy. In order to assist Americans with this goal, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed added sugars to be listed separately from total sugars on the Nutrition Facts Panel with a 10 percent Daily Value. These guidelines acknowledge that consumers can continue to enjoy sweetened foods and beverages – like chocolate and candy – when consumed as part of a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle.

Sugars plays a critical role in the quality and essence of candy products. Although essential to candy, added sugars in candy are not a leading source of added sugars in the average American’s diet. Candy accounts for an average of about one teaspoon of added sugar per day for Americans. Consumers understand the unique role that candy can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle – and they are choosing to enjoy it infrequently and in moderation. In fact, most people enjoy chocolate, candy, gum or mints about twice per week, averaging less than 50 calories per day from confectionery items.

Candy Taxes

Taxes on candy, chocolate, gum and mints are discriminatory and regressive. They will impact the most the hard-working families that can least afford it – and put tens of thousands of good-paying jobs at risk. If we want to get serious about obesity, it starts with education – not laws and regulation. Taxes do not make people healthier. Making smart, educated decisions about diet and exercise do. Candy is one of life’s little pleasures – it plays a small role in the diet and is a fun part of many people’s lives. Consumers understand that it’s a treat, and can choose their moment to enjoy it.

Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is nutritional guidance released jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services every five years. The guidelines often set the stage for food policy.

We support dietary recommendations that are based in sound science and offer realistic and constructive advice for consumers. Health experts overwhelmingly agree that there is a unique role for treats like chocolate, candy, gum and mints in a happy, balanced lifestyle.

Food Safety

Providing consumers with safe food products is the number one priority of U.S. confectionery companies. Our member companies comply with all government regulations, including those set forth by the Food Safety Modernization Act.


Understanding and complying with changing labeling requirements is one of the top challenges faced by food companies. We support science-based labeling approaches that provide transparency for consumers and are practical for manufacturers to implement, including menu, vending machine, and front-of-pack labeling. In fact, our front-of-pack labeling program puts calorie information right at consumers’ fingertips. We are providing consumers with the information, options and support they need to make the choices that are right for them. We project that by 2018, approximately 80% of candy sold in grocery and convenience stores will carry front of pack calorie information.

Partially Hydrogenated Oils

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration determined that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) must be removed from all food products by June 18, 2018. For now, this is a final determination by the FDA, but it is possible that the Department could change its positon within the next three years as it reviews petitions for certain uses of food additives.

Genetically engineered food labeling

GMO is short for “genetically modified organisms.” It can also be referred to as genetic engineering (GE), a process that incorporates desirable traits from nature into crops resulting in plants that can be healthier, more nutritious and better for the environment. There are many benefits of this agricultural technology, including helping farmers reduce their environmental footprint by decreasing the amounts of water and pesticides they use, and making food more affordable which helps alleviate hunger and malnutrition around the world.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) along with leading health agencies and scientific organizations around the world have found that GMO food ingredients are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with consuming them.

We will continue to advocate with our food industry colleagues for a federal standard for GMO labeling that preempts a patchwork of state labeling laws that cause confusion and will unnecessarily raise the price of food to consumers. We will continue to engage in an informative dialogue with lawmakers and consumers so that they understand the safety, prevalence and benefits of GMO technology.

Minerals in Chocolate

All foods that are grown in nature contain small amounts of minerals, such as cadmium and lead, which occur naturally in all soils because they are part of the Earth’s crust. As such, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other health authorities have determined that small amounts of naturally occurring minerals in foods are unavoidable and do not present a public health risk or need for warnings.

People have been eating cocoa and chocolate safely for centuries. Consumers can rest assured that our products are safe, and that our industry adheres to all government regulations.

Responsible Advertising

We are committed to advertising our products responsibly. Leading candy companies support the Children’s Confectionery Advertising Initiative (CCAI), a confectionery-specific commitment to not advertise on programming intended for children under the age of 12.

Six companies that make popular brands of candies are the charter participants of CCAI: Ferrara Candy Company; Ghirardelli Chocolate Company; Jelly Belly Candy Company; Just Born Quality Confections; The Promotion in Motion Companies, Inc.; and R.M. Palmer Company. They join six other confectionery companies – American Licorice Company; Ferrero USA; The Hershey Company; Mars, Incorporated; Mondelez International; and Nestlé – that are Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) participants that do not advertise directly to children.

The candy companies that are members of CCAI and CFBAI make the vast majority of the candy on store shelves in the U.S


We support protecting consumer choice in SNAP and believe that any efforts to adjust the program should focus on nutrition education, access and outreach. Most people – including SNAP recipients – enjoy chocolate, candy, gum or mints about twice per week, averaging less than 50 calories per day from confectionery items. When it comes to enjoying the occasional treat, consumers understand and embrace the importance of moderation.

Sugar Policy

The United States is home to some of the highest sugar prices of any major market in the world, because of Depression-era policies preserved by large political donations by sugar producers. This puts our industry at a competitive disadvantage compared to the rest of the world.

Reforming the federal sugar program is a top priority for NCA and our member companies. The program costs taxpayers and consumers millions of dollars and has a negative impact on candy companies that provide 55,000 good-paying jobs, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of additional workers who rely in part on the sale of chocolate, candy, gum and mints for their livelihood.

Maintaining the status quo on America’s sugar policy is unsustainable and unacceptable. U.S. sugar policy is the only agricultural program that remains untouched and protected by Congress. It benefits a so few and has a negative impact on so many others. Congress should take any opportunity to reform the costly sugar subsidy program, because it is propping up the sugar-producing industry at the expense of taxpayers, consumers and businesses.