Last updated on August 16th, 2012 at 10:16 am
Confectionary manufacturers employ 70,000 individuals directly in the U.S. That number easily triples when individuals whose jobs are dependent on those candies produced—suppliers, brokers, trade customers—are included, said Allison Bodor, SVP, public policy advocacy for the National Confectioners Association (NCA). The same is true for the snack industry.
Bodor spoke at the NCA’s Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 8-10 in Chicago.
The candy industry needs people on the ground working on its behalf, she said. Specifically that means people who can fight for a pro-business economy.
“One in which all of our businesses, your businesses, can thrive,” Bodor said.
The NCA fights for sugar reform and focuses on nutrition policy.
“There is no denying the fact that obesity is a major health concern in the U.S. And it is a problem that is complex and there are many, many contributing factors,” Bodor said. “The truth is research shows that candy consumption is not linked to increased weight or other negative health risks. And that’s probably because most Americans eat candy in moderation already.”
She defined moderation as one or two full-size candy bars a week or approximately 50 calories a day.
“The industry supports moderation or moderate consumption,” Bodor said.
In fact, she said, scientific evidence shows that moderate candy consumption may help people live a longer life, especially compared to people who don’t eat candy. One of the predictors of long life is happiness.
“The happiest people on earth are Scandinavians,” she said, citing the World Happiness database. “Not only are people in Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway some of the happiest people on Earth, but guess what they also eat the most? Candy. There must be a correlation there.”
She said that leading health and nutrition authorities have seen how candy provides pleasure in diets, lives and culture.
“The First Lady knows it and with NCA’s help, she makes sure that candy is available at White House celebrations,” Bodor said. “Registered dietitians at the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics know it and they preach that all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle including candy. And the Dietary Guidelines, they advise Americans to enjoy food, but just eat less. Most nutrition experts understand that adults and children are more likely to maintain a healthy diet if they are not deprived of treats.”
She said the industry can play a role in helping consumers make good choices by providing options and information, providing calorie control, portion control sizes, sugar-free options, low-calorie options and nutrition facts on all packaged candies, as well as providing guidance on how to enjoy candy in moderation.
“Remember, candy adds happiness around the world,” Bodor said.[gn_box title=”Photos of the Event” color=”#ff9900″]
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