Candy Box Insert Promotes Weight Loss, 1954

September 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm 1 comment

As sugar goes, so goes candy. When artificial sweeteners moved from the nutritional fringes to the dietary mainstream in the 1950s, the sugar producers and the candy industry realized quickly that their fates were intertwined.

Sugar Information Inc. had one idea for helping candy keep its market. In 1954 the industry group produced a little pamphlet called “Memo to Dieters.”

At about 3 inches square, it was the perfect size to slip into a box of chocolates or a sack of sweets. The publication was designed to give prominent display to the name of the candy brand, and it featured the new sugar message that sugar and candy were weight loss aids:

New medical research finding now confirm that you can have your sweets and your waistline too. … Sugar before meals raises your blood sugar level and reduces your appetite. … And don’t forget that candy is also a wonderful source of quick energy. … So don’t be misled into thinking candy is necessarily fattening. Candy can actually be effective in helping you to reduce.

My favorite part of this  little pamphlet is the new twist on an old candy marketing strategy. Back in the ‘teens, the National Confectioners Association came up with a punchy candy slogan that captured the aspirations of candy makers to move their product from the category of luxury and treat to the category of everyday purchase: Candy is Good Food. Eat Some Everyday.

In the Sugar Industries insert, we get a new twist on the theme: Candy is a delicious food, eat some every day to help your diet work.

The shift from the old slogan to the new diet variation suggests a new role for candy. The old slogan posed candy as another kind of food, just as good as meat and fruit. All foods are for energy, and candy gives you energy too. The new slogan says candy will “help your diet work”: that is, candy will help you eat less of all the other kinds of food that are making you fat. Food is fattening, and candy is the solution. Candy is food, and better than food.

Jump forward 60 years, and you are in CVS, choosing between the SlimFast bar, the Full Bar, and the ThinkThin bar. Eat more candy, lose more weight.

For the backstory on artificial sweeteners in 1954 and the impact on sugar marketing, see the first two posts below. You can read more about the “candy is good food” idea in the other posts listed below.

Source: Confectioners Journal, July 1954, p. 32

Entry filed under: Health, Marketing, WWII to 1960s. Tags: , .

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Candy: A Century of Panic and Pleasure

Welcome to Candy Professor

Candy in American Culture What is it about candy? Here you'll find the forgotten, the strange, the curious, the surprising. Our candy story, one post at a time.

Samira Kawash, PhD
Professor Emerita,
Rutgers University

(C) Samira Kawash

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