There May Be a Shortage of Candy This Halloween, But Here Is Why You Should Not Be Bitter
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
It’s only August, but one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world is already warning us that they might not be able to keep up with the demand for Halloween candy this year.
Several news outlets reported that Hershey Co., which produces its famous chocolate along with other candy products such as Twizzlers, Good & Plenty, Bubble Yum and Jolly Rancher, recently announced that due to issues with suppliers they might not have enough candy to provide for both Halloween and the Christmas season.
“Pandemic-induced global supply chain disruptions and the Russia-Ukraine war have crunched supplies of cocoa, edible oil and other food ingredients, pinching production lines of packaged food companies around the world,” reported U.S. News & World Report.
“The period around the Halloween holiday in October is Hershey's busiest time of the year, making up about 10% of the company’s annual sales, as kids and their parents stock up on Twizzlers, Jolly Ranchers and Kit Kat bars.”
I guess I appreciate Hershey’s transparency, however, if I’m being completely honest I don’t really see this potential shortage as a bad thing. Here are a few reasons why:
- Consuming excess sugar (especially added sugars such as fructose and sucrose from nutrient-void, processed foods like candy) is associated with weight gain and obesity. Our bodies actually need only one type of sugar to survive (glucose), and we can get our gluose from breaking down healthy carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables. Think of unecessary added sugars as empty calories that provide no nutritional value and stick to the waistline if we eat too much of them. "Moreover, overconsuming added sugars may result in a kind of ‘internal starvation’ (via leptin and insulin resistance) leading to further hunger signals in the body. Added sugars promote nutrient and energy deficit and through this novel pathway promote obesity," according to one report. Sugar is often thought of as satisfying, but it can actually leave you feeling hungry. And if you are hungry despite consuming a lot of calories, you will likely eat even more calories and go beyond what you would need for a reasonable daily caloric intake.
- According to the American Heart Association, American children consume 81 grams of sugar per day (which is more than 65 pounds of added sugar per year).
- About one in six children and adolescents (ages 2-19) are overweight, and almost one in five are obese (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).
- If a child is overweight or obese, the more likely they will also be as an adult. This could lead to the development of serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, depression and even cancer.
- According to the American Diabetes Association, around 283,000 Americans under the age of 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes. So this does not include the many children that probably have diabetes but have just not been diagnosed yet.
I am not trying to be the party spoiler of Halloween and holiday seasons, but we can no longer afford to ignore that our children’s health is at risk. So, I stand by what I said when I mentioned that I do not really see this candy shortage as a bad thing.
Furthermore, you can still celebrate Halloween in a fun and healthy way. I know Halloween is not for another couple of months, but take a look at this article about fun, healthy Halloween recipes that kids will love. I especially like the apple monsters, Halloween fruit salad and roasted veggie tray. These recipes incorporate nutrient-dense fruits and veggies that contain critical vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C and E and so much more. If children learn to love fruits and veggies early in life, the more likely they will continue to eat these extremely beneficial foods as adults and have an easier time maintaining a healthy weight and leading an active lifestyle.
I realize that these recipes are not necessarily for the trick-or-treaters when you need to hand out something fast, but I’ve got you covered. Candy alternatives can include:
- Yogurt-covered raisins or cranberries
- Pistachios, almonds and other seeds and nuts
- Mini bags of popcorn
- Mini pretzels
- Mini fruit cups
- Mini-granola bars (even with chocolate!)
- Dried dates, apricots, cranberries and other fruits
- Small bags of baked chips
- Apple or other fruit chips (but not fruit juice which is jam packed with added sugar)
- Small boxes of cereal (but not the sugar-coated ones, please)
- Natural honey sticks (if from a local beekeeper, even better)
- Mini, portion-controlled plain cookie packs (most are around 100 calories or so)
Of course, children are going to eat some candy during Halloween and other festive celebrations. Their key is teaching them moderation and empowering them to make the right choices. Healthy food is not a punishment. It is a gift, and I think if children can learn this early on the impact will be massive.
For additional tips on how to have a healthier Halloween, including how to stay on top of dental care, check out these pH Labs blogs.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.