It’s not often when confectioners openly admit the success of their industry. After all, doing so cuts against the tales they spin on Capitol Hill of sugar policy causing economic hardship.
But as the American Sugar Alliance’s compilation of good candy news demonstrates, Big Candy’s business has been firing on all cylinders since the most recent U.S. sugar policy took hold in 2008.
More than 100 entries show that confectioners are adding jobs, expanding operations and banking record profits. Now, that collection of news stories includes an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times by the National Confectioners Association, which reads:
- Illinois is home to more than 85 manufacturing facilities, employing about 7,500 workers, and that’s just in the manufacturing sector. Each year Illinois confectionery manufacturers ship $1.5 billion worth of chocolate, non-chocolate candy, gum and mints from these factories. Chicago is home to the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, Tootsie Roll Industries, Primrose Candy Company, World’s Finest Chocolate and many more. And who hasn’t smelled the unbelievably delicious chocolate aromas wafting from The Blommer Chocolate Company’s factory in the West Loop?
The Chicago suburbs are also home to many candy plants, such as Ferrara Candy Company in Oak Brook and Haribo of America in Rosemont. Many of the industry suppliers and brokers are located here as well, as are candy wholesalers and retailers, such as The Hershey Store, Candyality and Dylan’s Candy Bar, newly opened on Michigan Avenue.
Nationwide, the confectionery industry generates $35 billion at retail and provides 70,000 jobs in more than 1,000 manufacturing facilities across the country.
In addition to being a big part of the local, state and national economy, candy is a special part of Americans’ lives. Candy and chocolate have a household penetration rate of about 98 percent – that’s higher than soap!
It is a tremendous story of success of which U.S. sugar producers are proud to be a part. Now, if candy lobbyists would just stop telling lawmakers that their businesses are struggling, when it is obvious that the exact opposite is true.