Spooked by sugar, Americans search for healthier Halloween treats

Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:44am EDT
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By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The so-called war on sugar has a new battleground: Halloween.

Some Americans are so spooked about the harmful effects of sugar they are finding healthier ways to indulge during the holiday, without disappointing children by handing out apples.

Sugary chocolates still dominate Halloween candy handed out and provide an annual sales treat for companies like Hershey Co, privately held Mars and Nestle SA.

But as more consumers demand healthier candies, manufacturers could see the so-called "War on Sugar" scare away some of the $2.1 billion that the National Retail Federation says Americans will spend on Halloween candy this year.

The World Health Organization has linked sugar intake with chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease, a finding disputed by the Sugar Association, a U.S. trade group.

Some companies, like upstart candy maker Unreal, privately owned health products maker Xlear Inc and Kosher Foods producer Kayco, have developed low-sugar candies from unusual concoctions, like puffed quinoa and cabbage, to win over health-conscious, sugar-wary shoppers.

The data may give some a fright. Nearly one-fourth of Americans say they are buying healthier candy like dark chocolate or chocolates with added fruits or nuts for seasonal occasions like Halloween than five years ago, National Confectioners Association (NCA) data shows.

In addition, one in five say they are more likely to buy chocolates or candies in a smaller portion size.   Continued...

A boy collects candy as he goes trick-or-treating for Halloween in Santa Monica, California, October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson