It’s time to remember what a treat is all about
Glenn Caton, spokesperson for Be treatwise and President, Northern Europe, Mondelez International
We need to remember that treats are special.
Our businesses – which between us make some of the UK’s favourite confectionery – were set up to create treats in their truest sense; wonderful delights that bring joy and magic to the lives of UK consumers.
Chocolate, for example, has had a special place in the hearts of Brits for many years.
The first chocolate bar was created right here in the UK. Since then, innovations in modern manufacturing and the creativity of our people have produced many of the chocolates we know and love today.
But we recognise that sometimes it can be difficult to establish chocolate as an occasional treat. And it can be hard for parents and grandparents to get the right balance between head and heart, with so much conflicting information about what is right and wrong when it comes to treating.
I have two boys myself, so I know how hard it can be to strike the right balance when it comes to treating.
The fact remains that public health challenges, especially childhood obesity, are a significant problem in the UK.
All of society needs to work together to effectively address this challenge, from government to businesses to consumers.
We recognise the role the whole food and drink industry, including manufacturers, retailers and the out of home sector, needs to play in tackling this. We’re proud of the action we’ve taken so far, reducing calories and introducing more options that encourage portion control. But we know there is more to do.
Public Health England (PHE) has set ambitious sugar reduction goals for nine categories, including chocolate. In 2015, chocolate confectionery companies established a voluntary 250 kcal cap on single-serve chocolates, making the calorie count of those products already in line with PHE’s recommendations. And we are looking at how we can continue to work with PHE to address its targets.
But it is a complex challenge and requires a multi-sectorial approach, with many factors at play.
We all know that chocolate is meant to be a treat. And it’s important we keep it that way.
That is why Mondelez International, Ferrero UK and Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK have joined forces behind Be treatwise, an initiative that aims to help families keep treats special. Together we will work with parents, grandparents and experts to help the nation have a balanced approach to treats.
We want to understand how we can help families keep treats as treats, with a panel of independent experts collaborating with us throughout the initiative. They will help us identify possible solutions, with the aim to rollout at least one consumer trial.
As part of this initiative, a redesigned Be treatwise label will start to appear on the packaging of certain products and marketing from the three companies, reminding people that these products are treats intended for occasional enjoyment.
The label was originally developed by Cadbury in 2006, with Ferrero UK and Mars Wrigley Confectionery UK now looking to adopt it. Other companies that offer treats that have a portion size of 250 kcal or less are welcome to join.
Consumers can find out more about the initiative at www.betreatwise.net, a newly created educational resource reviewed by a panel of independent nutritionists, offering practical advice on how treats can be enjoyed as part of a balanced lifestyle.
This collective action by our category provides an important example for the wider food and drink industry. We all face these challenges and we have a collective responsibility to find and deliver solutions.
We hope this is the beginning of a conversation.
We don’t have all the answers yet. But we believe at the heart of this is getting a better understanding of our relationship with treats.
And we believe it starts with remembering that treats are special.
It’s time to remember what a treat is all about.
This article was first published in The Grocer.