Always A Treat Initiative
Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Consumers understand that candy and chocolate are treats and they tend to consume them 2 to 3 times a week according to recent research by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). People are also passionate about their favorite treats and have an emotional connection to them. That being said, the negative publicity surrounding sugar is making consumers think twice about their sweet consumption. The International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC) 2018 Food & Health Survey indicates that over half of respondents state they are eliminating candy to decrease sugar consumption. In addition, food activists are pressuring confectionary sales at check out. Considering these evolving factors and the growth of health and wellness at retail, the NCA launched their Always a Treat Initiative to assist supermarkets and consumers with balanced solutions. The core components of the program include:
- Providing consumers with information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats.
- Developing a website - AlwaysATreat.com – which will evolve into a digital resource full of easy-to-use information for consumers.
- Committing to changes - Consumers will see more options in smaller pack sizes with clear calorie labels right on front of the pack. Specifically, by 2022, 90% of the best-selling treats will have calorie information on front and 50% of individually wrapped treats will be available in sizes of 200 calories or less.
To make this happen over the term of a five-year commitment, the NCA with have their progress monitored and reported by the Partnership for a Healthier America in conjunction with a well-respected, nonpartisan policy research organization called the Hudson Institute.
For dietitians, there are some key ways to support your retailer while helping shoppers make informed choices about their favorite treats.
- Support merchandising with a continuum of choice at checkouts by suggesting a balance of assortment that meets consumer needs while maintaining profitability. Options may include refrigerated protein and beverage choices, fresh/dried fruit, nuts and seeds, along with small sections of candy.
- Provide portion guidance strategies, and show customers how to include confections in healthy, seasonal celebrations – Valentines, Easter, Halloween and Holidays.
- Engage shoppers via social media, tip sheets, and other NCA tools for celebrating candy moments and occasions.
For more information on the continuum of choice checkout options and consumer education information visit: alwaysatreat.com.