Downs Talks Halloween, NCA Initiatives In The Hill Profile

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Washington — NCA President and CEO John Downs detailed his position as the neighborhood candy man in a profile by The Hill, which also gave the Association’s leader the chance to discuss the organization’s initiatives and policy positions. Downs

“I have a big selection because I’m in a unique position as the candy man to get all this candy from our member companies and so everybody likes to come to our house for Halloween,” he told the DC publication. “We have great candy.”

In addition to touching on Halloween celebrations, he also discussed the industry’s most pressing issues including the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the U.S. sugar program, which maintains a minimum price to help domestic sugar producers.

“We always take an opportunity to talk to folks on Capitol Hill about trying to do something in terms of coming up with a win-win for both small family farmers as well as small family-owned chocolate and candy manufacturers who are put at a real disadvantage with this U.S. sugar problem, which is outdated and outrageous and reform is long overdue,” he told The Hill.

He also highlighted The Power of Sweets, detailing how the candy business supports more than 600,000 American jobs.

Downs also showcased the industry’s responsibility commitment, the Always A Treat Initiative, which “demonstrates our companies have made a real commitment to help our consumers and their families manage their sugar intake while still enjoying their favorite treats,” Downs noted.

The commitment, which helps promote portion guidance and transparency on ingredients and calories. As part of the initiative, half of NCA member companies’ instant consumables and individually wrapped products will have 200 calories or fewer by December 31, 2022.

The category’s unique position on Capitol Hill was also discussed, as Downs explained confectionery is the only industry with desk on the Senate floor as well as pointing out the Congressional Candy Caucus.

“It really demonstrates how important chocolate and candy are as a fabric of our society here in the U.S.,” he told The Hill. “Candy has such a strong currency as it relates to this concept around emotional well-being and social connections people have with our products.”