American Licorice Company practices safe marketing to work toward healthier lives

American Licorice Company practices safe marketing to work toward healthier lives

Candy – a delicacy that most kids view as a special treat while also serving as a connecting block to an adult’s childhood memories. For adults, indulging in a piece of candy could connect them to special moments such as trick-or-treating, the exciting anticipation of a pinata splitting open at a birthday party, memories of a Little League team at the concession stand after a game, a Valentine treat from that first crush, or maybe it’s the candy dish at your grandparents’ house.

Recently, there has been a push towards living a healthier lifestyle and watching what you eat. However, there is no need to ‘shun’ candy out of your life, regardless of age. Keeping this in mind, American Licorice Company (ALC) joined the Children’s Food and Beverage Initiative (CFBAI) in 2015 and pledged not to advertise to children under the age of 12. ALC also works alongside the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) to ensure they are taking careful steps to safeguard children. 

“Because we offer a treat, we want to be responsible with who, how, and when we connect with people. Knowing our products are shared and get into the hands of young people makes us more aware of our responsibility to do something meaningful, which is why we want to share positive messages,” said Kristi Shafer, Vice President of Marketing at ALC.

American Licorice Company also took another step in supporting the National Confectioners Association’s (NCA) ongoing journey of encouraging responsible consumption, with an understanding that candy is a treat that should be enjoyed in moderation. Keeping this in mind, ALC makes careful decisions about how they decide to market their candy.

“There is the desire to share the self-love message of the Sour Punch brand, “EMBRACE YOUR PUNCH,” with young people by encouraging them to be who they are, love what’s unique about themselves, but also appreciate the differences in others,” said Shafer. “Spreading a message of “PEACE, LOVE & VINES,” is what makes our legacy Red Vines brand so special. It’s all about spreading love and kindness.”

Planting these positive messages in consumers’ minds is a great example of how candy can be seen and used in a positive light.

“We view candy as a way of connecting people. When someone opens a package of candy, they typically extend an offer to share. Candy connects us to our childhood memories, and when we think of those wonderful childhood memories, it is difficult to think of candy not being a part of the joy. To ‘shun’ candy from kids would be to rob future generations of that same joy,” Shafer said.

While it is crucial to have these safe marketing standards in place, it is quite a challenge for ALC and other candy manufacturers to reach their biggest audience – children. However, currently, a marketer’s goal is to target an older fan or even the parent of young kids.

“As marketers, we try to find ways where our products fit into one of life’s “moments.” We want to be the treat they choose whether it’s a family get-together, road trip, going to the movies, birthday party, holiday, etc.  We look for ways where we can help share in a special moment and create a happy memory,” Shafer said.

ALC encourages families to stop by its Sweet Good’s Garden to create more of these special moments. The garden is open to everyone in the community. The company offers all types of free produce to visitors who would like to stop by and try it. 

The company has also volunteered to help with Girls on the Run events to promote healthy lifestyles and diets.

“Our company is made up of wonderful, caring people, and we want to do our part to help support a healthy lifestyle at every age,” Shafer said.

All American Licorice Company’s advertising reports are reviewed by the CFBAI. The company’s partnership with CARU also is in place to review its websites to ensure the protection of children. For more information about American Licorice Company, visit