The sustainable sugar rush: how candy companies are saving energy

(ACEEE blog, 29 Oct 2018) When you reach for that candy bar this Halloween, don’t just count calories—count kilowatt-hours. Big candy manufacturers use a lot of energy to feed our sugar addiction, especially this time of year.

The average American consumes about 22 pounds of candy per year, which is the weight of roughly 2,200 Hershey’s kisses.

That’s a lot of candy. “[We’re] good at making chocolate…but we’re not an expert in producing power,” says Winston Chen, the renewable energy manager for Mars Incorporated.

Thanks to energy efficiency, Mars soon won’t need to use as much power. As concerns about energy consumption, water depletion, and climate change rise, your favorite candy companies are taking energy-saving steps to improve their business models and meet their sustainability goals.

These efforts are part of a broader corporate sustainability push. ACEEE encourages companies to use energy efficiency to meet their sustainability and profitability goals. (Read our recent issue brief and case studies on the topic.)

Although many corporations are making progress in sustainability, they still face challenges. The candy industry is confronting deforestation, trying to reduce water use, and working to improve labor practices, including eliminating child labor. While it is important, energy efficiency is only part of what makes a corporation both environmentally and socially responsible.

On the efficiency front, which is the scope of this blog post, the big candy companies are taking steps forward.


Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Mars makes Snickers, Milky Way, M&M’s, and Twix. The world’s largest candy company, it employs more than 110,000 people at factories across the globe, including 50-plus factories in the United States. It cites energy efficiency as a key way to meet its sustainability goals while managing company growth.

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ACEEE blog, 29 Oct 2018: The sustainable sugar rush: how candy companies are saving energy