Debra Sandler, the president of Mars Chocolate in North America, wants to rally the National Confectioners Association in building a strategy to fight obesity (i.e. the catastrophe to come when people start figuring out that candy is bad for you). Speaking at the NCA’s State of the Industry Conference in Miami, she was encouraging other companies to think about how their products play into obesity, and figure out how to “be part of the solution” before regulators force them to. Yes, you heard that right: She wants to help solve obesity with candy.
But mostly, it sounds like she just doesn’t want the candy biz to go the way of the soda biz, mired in lawsuits over ad campaigns and regulations that force consumers to come to terms with the damage their products do on our waistlines and health.
According to Confectionery News, Sandler said that candy accounts for 2% of calories in the diet, but she wants the industry to be more than 2% of the solution. She’s worried about states that have implemented candy taxes, and the public backlash against celebrities who shill for candy. And she layed on the peer pressure thick:
If we don’t [act], I worry that someone else will do it for us…Don’t wait for regulators to tell us what to do.
We need the whole industry to step up…We are not judged by the leaders of the category but by those who do not take responsibility for change.
Mars is putting calorie counts on the front of their packages, which is actually kind of cool. And she also suggested things like offering more choice (presumably involving some healthier options), and lowering saturated fat content wherever possible, without affecting flavor.
Her ideas aren’t bad–and the idea that being honest with customers can build trust is one we wish soda companies would take to heart–but ultimately, Snickers and Mars bars are just not our ultimate weapons against obesity. Sorry, guys.
Photo: flickr user oskay