Two of the industry’s most fierce rivals have put aside their differences and joined forces to help tackle the nation’s health.
In an industry first, Cadbury Schweppes and Masterfoods have come together to implement a scheme designed to help consumers understand how treats, such as chocolate and sweets, fit into a balanced diet and lifestyle.
The confectionery giants are investing millions of pounds in adopting the Be Treatwise initiative, details of which were unveiled exclusively to The Grocer this week. The scheme equates to an equivalent advertising spend of £10m between the two companies and involves millions of packs.
Leading brand names, such as Dairy Milk, Mars, Galaxy and Twirl, will carry the message ‘Be Treatwise: Get to know your GDAs’ from mid year. A logo on the front of packs will direct consumers to a panel on the back showing how much the line contributes to Guideline Daily Amounts for calories, sugar, fat, saturates and salt.
Both Cadbury Schweppes and Masterfoods intend to incorporate the message in their advertising and there will also be a web site and other educational programmes.
Trish Fields, consumer impact director at Cadbury Schweppes, said the project was just the beginning. “It is a platform for the confectionery industry. We are taking the health issue seriously and are prepared to step up to the challenge.”
The voluntary step precedes the FSA rubber stamping its traffic light labelling scheme (see below). Confectionery is not included in the first wave but the Be Treatwise programme could help stave off its inclusion by demonstrating that government need not wave a big stick to get results.
“This is exactly the sort of approach we believe the DH is encouraging. We are providing information above and beyond what is required because it is the right thing to do,” added Jean Harper, external affairs director at Masterfoods UK.
Alison Ward, communications director of the Biscuit Cake Chocolate and Confectionery Association, which is co-ordinating the scheme, said other confectioners were in talks about the programme.
However, Nestlé has yet to get involved. Last month it said it was putting calorie information front of pack and advice on GDAs on the back (The Grocer January 7, p6).
The Treatwise initiative has taken 18 months to develop and involved the sharing of consumer insights. “This shows two significant competitors can work together collaboratively and quickly come to a unified view when it is a real issue of social concern,” said Fields.
Total confectionery was stagnant in the past year as obesity concerns had an impact. Total sales were £3.96bn while chocolate confectionery rose 1% to £2.8bn [ACNielsen 52 w/e October 1, 2005].
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Siân Harrington