Downs Sets Record Straight Regarding Candy, SNAP

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Washington, DC — NCA President and CEO John Downs penned a rebuttal to Maine Gov. Paul R. LePage’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) op-ed “Get Food Stamps Out of the Candy Store,” noting the governor had left out important information to consider as the national debate around the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) heats up.

Downs noted in a Letter To the Editor that Americans on SNAP and those who are not both consume chocolate and candy in a manner that aligns with the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including the limits on added sugars.

He also pointed to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, which found U.S. consumers have a balanced approach when it comes to engaging with the category. Most people enjoy chocolate and candy two to three times a week, averaging 40 calories and one teaspoon of added sugar a day from confectionery items, according to NCA’s chief exec.

“Consumers understand the unique role that chocolate, candy, gum and mints can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle — and consumers recognize that they contain sugar,” Downs wrote. “People continue to view these treats as honest, transparent and fun; and that’s what makes chocolate and candy so exceptional.”

In the WSJ letter, he also highlighted the industry’s Always A Treat Initiative­­­­­­­, a collaboration with Partnership for a Healthier America that aims provide consumers with more information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats.

“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. The companies are dedicated to helping consumers manage their sugar intake and empowering them to make informed choices,” Downs wrote.