Chocolate and candy have a unique place in the lives of people throughout the world — there is no end to the emotional and social connections people have with confectionery items. In fact, most Americans enjoy chocolate and candy 2-3 times per week, which averages about 40 calories per day and just one teaspoon of added sugar per day.

An American industry

But have you thought about who is behind those treats? We are the quintessential American manufacturing success story made up of mostly small multi-generational family owned companies alongside large national brands. There are hundreds of thousands of hardworking Americans who contribute to creating the chocolate and candy you know and love. With more than 1,300 manufacturing facilities operating in all 50 states, our industry directly employs more than 54,000 people. For every one job in confectionery manufacturing, another ten are supported in related industries, including shipping, transportation and retail. In sum, more than 600,000 Americans relying in part on the production of confectionery products for their livelihood. That’s the power of sweet.

In confectionery manufacturing, innovation comes in many forms. Perhaps the most widely acknowledged innovations are in the treats themselves, through inventive flavor combinations and unique ingredients. Other companies have made innovative strides in the production of their treats, from upgrading the technology in their manufacturing facilities to finding new ways to put a spin on a traditional treat.

Changing the game

Another example of where innovation happens is in packaging. Industry wide, confectioners are focused on the best ways to provide their loyal customers with more information, options and support as they enjoy their favorite treats. Over the next few years, consumers can expect to see more products in package sizes of 200 calories or less, with front-of-pack calorie labeling to ensure that they can make informed choices as they seek to manage their sugar intake.

As chocolate and candy companies continue to make and innovate fun and unique treats, we can be sure that they will continue to have a meaningful impact on millions of Americans around family traditions and seasonal celebrations.