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Trick your treat, Halloween treats are getting smaller

Oct. 24, 2022 Updated Mon., Oct. 24, 2022 at 5:59 p.m.

An array of Halloween candy is displayed in this photo illustration from October 2019. Candy companies are now making candy in smaller sizes.  (Spokesman-Review Photo Archives )
An array of Halloween candy is displayed in this photo illustration from October 2019. Candy companies are now making candy in smaller sizes. (Spokesman-Review Photo Archives )
By Laura Reiley Washington Post

Standing in the center aisle of the drugstore, with its seasonal display of spooky bat decorations, vampire teeth and fun-sized bags of chocolate, don’t be surprised if something seems off.

It isn’t a nightmare. Your Halloween candy just got smaller.

A bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses is now a couple ounces smaller than before.

A two-pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups is a tenth of an ounce lighter. And Cadbury milk bars are about 10% skimpier.

Consumers can partly blame “shrinkflation” – the phenomenon of manufacturers reducing the size of their products rather than increasing the price.

Over the past two years, companies have downsized paper products, salty snacks and many other consumer package goods as their ingredient, labor and transportation costs have skyrocketed.

But it’s also part of a yearslong plan to make Americans’ treats less caloric.

In 2017, Mars Wrigley, Ferrero (owner of Nestlé’s American candy business), Ferrara Candy Company and Lindt (which owns Ghirardelli Chocolate and Russell Stover Chocolates) joined forces to decrease calorie counts, offer a broader range of portion sizes and provide labeling that lists calories on the front of their packaging.

The National Confectioners Association last month announced that 85 percent of chocolate and candy sold today comes in packaging that contains 200 calories or less per pack.

And nearly 100% of candies sold now have front-of-pack calorie labels, up from just over half in 2016.

“Five years ago, we were behind the ball on front-of-pack labeling,” said Christopher Gindlesperger, spokesman for the association. “Those four companies, that make up about half of the market, drove a remarkable change and rallied the rest of the industry.”

Other moves are intended to provide lighter options for candy consumers.

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