A Sweet Business, but Bitter Overregulation

By April 26, 2011Economy, Regulations

Easter candy is big business.  Americans eat a lot of it—more than $2 billion worth.  We hope manufacturers are enjoying this taste of success, but, as is often the case, we must take the bitter with the sweet.

First, the sweet: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Whether it’s hopping to high-end purchases, or sticking to regional favorites, spending on Easter candy is growing sweeter, making Easter the second top-selling confectionery holiday in the United States after Halloween.

According to the National Confectioners Association, Easter confectionary sales have been trending upward, growing from $2 billion in 2009 to $2.02 billion in 2010. The group’s projections for 2011 top $2.062 billion in sales.

Someone, of course, has to make all of this delicious candy to satisfy our springtime craving.  Manufacturers to the rescue.  Manufacturers make 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies annually, 16 billion jelly beans for the holiday, and five million marshmallow chicks and bunnies each day (stats courtesy of the NCA).

And, with Easter falling so late this year, some candy makers are expecting to see higher sales, potentially making up for a down 2008.  The Riverside, CA Press Enterprise reports that California chocolatier See’s predicts higher sales this year “because it has been so long since the other two big chocolate holidays, Christmas and Valentine’s Day, and many people are craving a box of chocolate.”

Now the bitter: Our friends abroad make what are known as Kinder Eggs, chocolate eggs that contain a toy within.  These popular treats seem harmless enough (at least for European children), but to our regulators and security officials they are threats.

Chicago’s NBC affiliate reports:

Customs and Border Enforcement earlier this week issued a new warning about the Kinder Egg ban.  Two European packages containing the eggs were intercepted at O’Hare on Friday.

“Our primary role is to protect the country. Whether it be from terrorists, whether it be from narcotics or small child from choking. If we can stop something from hurting a child, that’s what we’re going to do,” stressed Bell.

The CBP is aggressively enforcing the policy, as columnist Mark Steyn recently learned crossing the Canadian border into the U.S.  (Steyn’s children were attempting to “smuggle” two boxes of the deadly treats).

But, even if you survive the choking threat, you aren’t out of the woods.  The Easter Bunny may still kill you.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some public health experts have the Easter Bunny in the crosshairs.  The Journal quotes one expert who offers the following: “Chocolate egg hunts could become Brussels sprout hunts.”

But he doesn’t stop there. He notes that excessive chocolate intake contributes to dental cavities and obesity, and further warns that obesity has been linked to “a significantly higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, gall bladder disease, liver disease, and heart disease and stroke, and to a small increased risk of cancer.”

The message here is clear: Stop what you are doing and stock up on (now discounted) Easter candy before it is too late.

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