It's makeover time for the chocolate bars you've loved since you were a kid. On Thursday, some big-brand candy companies made a joint announcement that they’ll be shrinking the package size of their products, which in turn will lower the total calorie count. The label on the front of the bar will also list the exact number of calories inside.
The changes, to be completed by 2022, are all part of an effort to tackle the high rates of obesity in the U.S. The companies made the announcement at a meeting organized by the Partnership for a Healthier America; participating brands include Mars Chocolate, Wrigley, Nestle USA, Ferrero, Lindt, Ghirardelli, Russell Stover, and Ferrara Candy Company.
Here’s a rundown of how the candy counter is going to change. First, half of the individually wrapped products made by the above brands will be available in smaller single-serving packages that have no more than 200 calories. Calories counts will also be easier to read and understand, as they'll be printed right on the front of the package. The calorie count will cover the entire bar or bag. (No more serving-size mumbo-jumbo.)
Information about candy will be easier to access as well. A new website, AlwaysATreat.com, will become a digital resource to help consumers understand what ingredients go into the candy and chocolate and have any questions answered.
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Currently, most of the individually wrapped products these companies sell already have less than 250 calories per package, so the change won’t seem drastic. But with more size options, people can more easily choose how they’d like to indulge.
“Educating the public about food products, even candy, is key to helping consumers make informed choices," says Libby Mills, RD, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But despite the changes, "consumers need to remember that smaller portions with nutritional information on the packaging doesn’t mean that the candy item is healthy.”