Washington — NCA President and CEO John Downs highlighted the Always A Treat Initiative and the industry’s high-character leadership in an Q&A piece by Forbes.
“It’s a pleasure and a privilege to represent an industry that has these great treats with the emotional bond that’s created with our consumers,” Downs said. “It’s such a quintessential American manufacturing success story because people came here from all around the world, mostly from Europe, with their different recipes. We have a diverse membership with the small and midsize multi-generational family-owned companies combined with the great iconic brands. I always say a bad day in the chocolate and candy industry is a good day for anybody else.”
He went on to spotlight the first two parts of the Always A Treat Initiative, explaining. “Our commitment is that 90 percent of the products will have full transparency on the labels as it relates to ingredients, calories and sugar. The second piece is about portion guidance. Half of our instant consumables — individually wrapped products — will be 200 calories or less by December 31, 2022.”
Downs explained Always A Treat as consumer driven and was developed because it is “the right thing to do.”
Downs touched on NCA’s collaboration with Partnership For A Healthy America (PHA) in establishing the Always A Treat Initiative, noting the Association is one of the few trade groups with a partnership with PHA.
The purpose of PHA is to bring together the private sector, government and other stakeholders to tackle tough issues, according to Christopher Gindlesperger, NCA senior vice-president of public affairs and communications.
“The idea is that sometimes the policy process is slow, and you can do some things faster and more effectively through private industry,” Gindlesperger added.
Noting that businesses must focus on maintaining trust with shoppers, Downs said: “With all the conversations around sugar, one of the things our companies pay a lot of attention to is consumer expectations of us.
“The successful companies today are the ones that keep that front and center,” he continued. “I was in the global Coca-Cola system for 28 years. High-profile brands know that it’s very important to maintain trust with their consumers and meet or exceed their expectations.”