Op-Ed: Halloween Brings The Power of Sweet To Life

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By John Downs, President & CEO, NCA

John Downs, President & CEO, NCA

The Halloween season brings fun and enjoyment to neighborhoods across the country and it’s no secret chocolate and candy are a special part of the holiday. For generations, our industry has played a crucial role in the holiday’s festivities as we look forward to the smiles our treats bring to people’s faces each year. As the country celebrates the Halloween season, the confectionery industry is providing more than just little moments of joy to the American people; we’re also fueling the American economy.

With nearly 1,300 facilities in all 50 states, our industry is a classic American manufacturing success story. From the small, multi-generational, family owned operations to multi-national companies with strong global brands, confectioners are vital to the American economy.

A new report shows companies that make chocolate, candy, gum and mints have an economic impact of $44.6 billion, which fuels the creation of nearly 54,000 American manufacturing jobs. For every one job created in confectionery manufacturing, another 10 jobs are supported in other industries. This means that our vibrant industry supports more than 550,000 other Americans in related industries, including retail, agriculture, transportation and more. Confectionery retail sales in the United States total $35 billion, which includes $1.8 billion in American exports to other countries. Our industry also pays $13.3 billion in total taxes per year.

But confectionery manufacturers have an impact that goes beyond strong support for the economy and the creation of good-paying jobs. Most Americans believe their emotional well-being is as important as their physical well-being, and chocolate and candy companies provide fun and nostalgic treats that consumers enjoy with balance in mind. The Halloween season is a perfect example as nearly 90 percent of parents will use the holiday as an opportunity to talk to their children about the unique role that chocolate, candy, gum and mints can play in a happy, balanced lifestyle.

What many people do not realize is how deeply ingrained the companies are within the communities they serve. America’s chocolate and candy companies are good corporate and community citizens – they’re responsible marketers, committed to sustainable ingredient sourcing, and helping consumers manage their sugar intake. The industry as a whole has taken proactive measures to support their communities and communities around the world, with individual companies leading specific charges within their hometowns.

I have had the opportunity to visit many NCA member companies and meet the men and women who are the backbone of American manufacturing. I have visited factories throughout the country to learn from the people who power this great industry and make it so special. Learning about how an individual’s personal history can become intertwined with the long history of a confectionery company, I have seen examples of multi-generational family involvement at both the owner and employee levels. I’ve met only a fraction of the more than 600,000 Americans whose jobs are impacted by confectionery, but each one embodies the familial nature of this exciting and ever-growing industry.

We’re proud to make American products with American workers in towns and cities across America, and we’re proud to represent the companies that have employed these American workers for decades. So, as people around the country enjoy the treats our industry created to make the Halloween season even more enjoyable, we know that through the Power of Sweet we’re doing our part to drive our communities and our national economy. C&ST