The U.S. confectionery industry is comprised of hundreds of small, family-owned businesses as well as the companies behind some of the world’s most iconic brands. They all have in common that they manufacture the vast majority of chocolate, candy, gum and mints sold in the United States, employing some 55,000 people in more than 1,000 facilities across the nation. In 2014, consumers purchased confectionery worth $34.5 billion at retail.
Candy is a special treat that plays an important role in traditions, seasonal celebrations and family occasions in the U.S. and around the world. Being so deeply embedded into the U.S. economy, Candy-making helps fuel the American economy. Our recent study “The Power of Sweet” looks into the extent of the industry’s contribution.
The research, based on insights from members of the National Confectionery Association (NCA), quantified the spill-over effects of manufacturing and selling chocolate and other sweets in the U.S. to other sectors. We found that in addition to the 55,000 people directly working in the industry, more than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale of confections for their livelihood. In other words, for every job that is created in confectionery another seven are supported in related industries. This means that candy drives a multiplier effect of 1:7 or an impact of 700 percent.
Furthermore, America’s leading candy companies are committed to marketing their products responsibly. This implies that most of the candy on store shelves today is made by companies that do not advertise on children’s programming. Also, due to informative labelling, consumers have improved understanding of the role of confections in their lives and get to make informed choose to enjoy candy in moderation. In fact, most people in the United States enjoy candy about twice a week, averaging less than 50 calories per day from confectionery items.
In September 2015 the NCA launched the study on Capitol Hill. This was the first official moment where executives from top confectionery companies used the insights gained for advocating for a policy and regulatory environment that will foster business growth and unlock more potential for job creation.